Kathy Blessum, Rita Graber, Marilyn Niewoehner and Caroline Doucette competed in the annual Pekin Days Art Show, which was held June 23-26 in Pekin, North Dakota. A total of four awards amongst them were won in various categories of the show.
Blessum's "Chairfusion" took first place in the pen and ink category. Graber's "Shoes" won second place in the pencil category, as well as an honorable mention for "House Hunting," also in the pencil category. Niewoehner's "Along the Silk Road" won second place in the mixed medium category.
The Pekin Days Art Show is one of the most popular and successful in the state, claiming itself as "one of the largest judged art shows and sales in North Dakota." Entries into the show come from surrounding U.S. states and Canada. What started in an empty building in the small town of Pekin has turned into an elite and fun event for artists and art lovers alike.
Kathy Blessum's 'Chairfusion' took First place in Pen & Ink
The four-day long show not only displays the work of artists who enter, but also includes demonstrations in clay and glass blowing, a sidewalk chalk art competition and "music in the park" events. Arts and Craft vendors, as well as food vendors, are present throughout the weekend activities, as well.
"My favorite part about the show was going together as a group," Graber said. "We celebrate each other's art, we encourage each other, and we have fun. We get to share what we're passionate about."
The ladies attribute a huge part of their success to Terry Jelsing, whose art classes they took part in and who has encouraged them along the way. "It's nice to be around other artists who appreciate our art; you get that support here," Blessum said of Jelsing, the art show itself, and her fellow artists in the art group here in Rugby.
"I think that's what is so great about Rugby, and North Dakota, and living here the encouragement and support from here," Graber said.
A sense of accomplishment, gratitude and support surrounds the artists as they discuss each other's artwork, as well as their own. "I felt that even though my work received two awards this year, I received my greatest compliment when the judge asked if I taught classesbut of course I don't!" Graber said.
There were 14 categories total in this year's show, proving that there is something for everyone in the art world. "That's what makes it such an interesting show," Blessum said. "There's such a variety. There's a lot of oil paintings and water colors, but there's a lot of other stuff too."
Niewoehner said the best part of the show, for her, was the reception and the turn out of the event. As one of the most successful shows to date, judges said that this is the best ever in terms of art and sales.
Rugby's art group meets every Wednesday morning at 9 am at The Cottage and will be participating in the upcoming "Art in the Park" on August 3rd. The art group invites everyone to join them for the meetings, where they talk about art, give each other ideas and encouragement, and critique one another's work.