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Westerville Art League History

Westerville Art League celebrates 50 years
Thursday, January 24, 2008
This Week Staff Writer

Fifty years after its inception, Westerville Art League co-president Ruth Smitan said the group remains true to its original purpose.

That purpose is "to bring people together who are interested in the visuat arts to further their skills in the arts, promote art in the community and assist people interested in exhibiting and setting their artwork," she said.

Smilan said the quality of people who participate in the art league has kept her a member for atmost 20 years.

'The funny thing is, I'm not an artist by training, I'm a retired software engineer," she laughed. "The art league is a good group, they're really nice, friendly people; and I think the programs have atways been a draw for me."

The programs Smilan referred to include guest artists who speak after the league's regular meetings. Topics vary from how to sell art to specific methods and styles of painting, she said.

The onty active charter member of the art league, Ann Wildman, said she has enjoyed the fellowship the group has provided for the past five decades. "My thing has always been crafts -- making corn-husk dolts and things tike that," Wildman said. "lt's wonderful to have the contact with other artists and going to shows, to experience the camaraderie with fellow artists and to take inspiration from them."

To mark its 50th anniversary in 2008, the art league is currently in the planning stages for a spring art show, possibly partnering with other groups in the city for the April is Arts Month celebration. Smilan said there are no specific detaits for the show as of yet.

According to Smilan, the art league was started by a group of about six peopte, including Peart Archer, Florence Dye, Marilyn Gtover, Gail Hensen, Rachael Miller and Wldman. They started meeting in their homes and later moved those meetings to the Westervilte Public Library, where the art league still meets today.

Smilan said the art league has kept the same tradition of incorporating a mixture of artistic mediums, showcasing speakers in the field of art, and hosting programs and workshops.

The league meets from 7-9 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Westervilte Public Library, 126 S. State St. Smilan said the public is wetcome to any meeting and that new members are always welcome.

Future speakers include Gail Russell (fine art porcetain) on Feb. 26; Pauta Nees (the influence of travel on artwork) on April 22; and Harold Cooper (oils, pastels, watercolors, colored pencit and sketches) on May 27.

Information about the Westerville Art League is availabte at www.