Oxford Fine Arts 2021 welcomes the 37th year of the prestigious show. The show began in the early 1980’s as one of the first organized events held at the newly opened Oxford Community Center. In 1980, the building was slated for demolition, yet the townspeople united in a flurry of petitions to save the building to utilize it for the community. The Fine Arts Festival began shortly thereafter and continues as a showcase to make the community proud.
Oxford Fine Arts has grown to welcome roughly fifty artists from the Mid-Atlantic region juried in from a pool of applicants. The juror this year is Stewart Burgess White. As described in the biography on his website, “Stewart White is a watercolorist from Baltimore, Maryland. He is one of the rare plein air painters using the medium of watercolor. His background in architectural illustration adds to his skill set and his paintings reflect his knowledge of good design. Stewart’s paintings have the pleasing combination of good structure with a painterly style. He is a transparent watercolorist in the purest tradition of watercolor painters. He studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and after serving 3 years in the US Army he returned to graduate from UC Berkeley with a BFA. He works as an architectural illustrator and designer. His watercolors both in his architecture illustrations and in painting competitions have won him many awards. In June 2009 he was invited to teach a workshop in Paris on his techniques for architectural watercolors to an organization of architects. He continues to teach in Paris every other year.
Stewart is President of the Mid-Atlantic Plein-Air Painters Association (MAPAPA). He exhibits his paintings in juried and gallery exhibitions throughout the US. He is the Grand Prize Winner of the prestigious Easton Plein air Festival (2009) and Plein Air magazine’s Grand Prize Salon. He was a featured artist in McBride Gallery’s June 2009 exhibit: “Rising Stars: 10 Artists to Watch.” He won Grand Prize from Olmsted Plein Air Invitational (2016) and Plein Air Easton’s Best Painting by a Maryland Artist (2019). Stewart is a member of the American Impressionists Society (AIS), a signature member of the National Watercolor Society (NWS), a signature member of The American Watercolor Society (AWS) and past President (2012) of The American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI). Stewart is a Signature Artist for Laguna Plein Air Association, American Watercolor Association.”
The Fine Arts Show adapted to the pandemic in 2020, and survived as a successful virtual exhibit. The 2020 artists were brave to venture forth at the time. Luckily, the experience translated well and over twelve hundred visitors came to the online gallery, new collectors found new favorites, and relationships were launched. OCC thanks Jody Ware, the past chair of three years, for her talent and rare capability to take the show to new heights each year. It grew from an indoor arena, to an indoor-outdoor platform, to the daunting unknown of the virtual space. All three years Jody successfully brought Oxford Fine Arts to the community and the extended region. For 2021, Jody has agreed to Chair a new community art installation project. The project is part of a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with revenue from the Maryland State Art Council.
In planning 2021, a virtual component will accompany the physical show. A hybrid model seems to work well for audiences far and wide. To take us into the hybrid model, Oxford Fine Arts welcomes a new chairwoman, Karen Walbridge. Karen has been part of the Oxford Fine Arts committee for eight years and has outstanding management skills for producing events that require a lot of volunteer support. She has been the volunteer coordinator for the Community Center for five years. “I’m excited to take on the challenge of bringing Fine Arts into this next phase. This has always been one of my most favorite events that OCC puts on. The quality of artists are top-notch and I want to make sure we continue that. Jody did a fantastic job and these are big shoes to fill!” Karen says of her new role as Oxford Fine Arts Chair.
With added educational series and demos, the 2021 show promises to provide a dynamic, interactive experience with artists from far and wide and the hybrid format allows access from anywhere. “It should be the best of both worlds”, says Liza Ledford, ED of OCC.”I am thrilled to welcome both Stewart White and Karen Walbridge to lead the charge for Fine Arts 2021. This event truly lives up to the intent of our original founders back in the early 80’s. I want to keep making them proud.”
For more information and to submit work for the 2021 show, please visit www.oxfordcc.org, or call 410-226-5904. Submissions close Dec. 31st, 2020. To learn more about the juror Stewart White, please visit his website
http://stewartwhitestudios.com The juried exhibit and sale has supported the Oxford Community Center (a non-profit 501(C-3), since the 1980’s to support OCC’s mission to provide the region with a year round schedule of free or reduced educational, cultural and recreational programs and events.