Midyear is big summer draw for the Butler

The National Midyear exhibition not only is popular with artists, it remains a draw with visitors to the Butler Institute of American Art.

Director Louis Zona said, “Usually the summer months are not particularly good for museums, but the summer months here at the Butler are among our most active because of the Midyear.”

The 77th annual exhibition opens Sunday at the Youngstown museum.

This year’s show had two jurors, Pennsylvania painter Thomas McNickle and North Carolina gallery owner Jerald Melberg. Despite both jurors’ association with realism, Zona said the work they selected included a mix of styles

“Tom McNickle and Jerald Melberg really tried to give us a diverse exhibit in terms of different approaches,” Zona said. “There’s a lot of traditional realism, but there’s also more than the usual amount of abstraction or more inventive types of approaches. They really tried to represent every philosophy.”

They had more works than normal from which to choose. This year’s Midyear received 835 submissions by 312 artists. Except for the 75th anniversary show, which received close to 1,000 entries, submissions over the last five years have averaged in the mid-700s.

The jurors selected 90 works for inclusion by 77 artists representing 20 states. Nearly all of the works are for sale with listed prices ranging from $185 to $18,000.

While the majority of the work comes from Ohio and Pennsylvania, the show includes submissions from as far away as Arizona, California, Florida and Massachusetts.

Mahoning Valley artists represented in the show include Gary Taneri of Warren, Carole J. Conatser of Boardman, Graylin Anderson of Canfield and Tom Antonishak of Poland.

The jurors selected six award winners, and another eight pieces received honorable mention recognition. The award winners will be announced during a meet-the-artist reception from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the museum.

Even with the distance some of the artists have to travel, the reception traditionally is well-attended.

“It really is amazing,” Zona said. “Over half of the artists who enter the show are here at the opening. With 77 artists this year, I bet that 40-some will be here on Sunday.”