Sunday, October 13, 2013

Impressions from some SAA Board Members of the 53rd Annual Exhibition and Board Meetings:

Doug Allen, Diane Mason and Bob Mason at the Awards Banquet
 Diane D. Mason (SAA President): "We all owe Elizabeth Small, Bruce Laumeister, and Shirley Hutchins of The Bennington a huge "Thank You" for their warm welcome and hosting our 53rd Annual Exhibition in a first-class style. The wedding of Clarence Cameron to his long-time partner, Bob, following our annual Members' Meeting on Saturday was a special moment that set this opening celebration apart from all others and added to the fun. I always love it when we have a good turnout of our members for an opening as we did this year, as it always feels like the reunion of an extended family. And it was extra fun to have seven of the award winners present when the awards were announced.  Our Awards Jurors, Robert J. Koenke, James Gurney, and Patricia Kernan really took their job seriously and made excellent choices - and their explanations as to WHY they selected each of the award winners were a highlight of the Awards Banquet.  Since this was my 'Swan song' as the Board President, it was also most exciting (for me) when the Board presented me with the 'service award' of a beautiful graphite drawing of a chicken perched on a fence by Terry Miller.  It was NOT something that I saw coming!! Nothing makes a better gift for someone like me than great artwork, of a species I adore, by an artist that I totally admire. A GREAT weekend, and one to remember fondly."

James Coe:   "As the new Jury Chairman of the SAA, I was particularly proud of the uniform high quality of the work that was accepted into this year's annual show.  And the originals looked even better than I expected,  on display in the beautiful galleries of the Bennington Center of the Arts.  It was a memorable weekend, and I was glad to see such a good turnout by our members."

Jan Martin McGuire and her painting, "Beastly Battles"
Jan Martin McGuire: "I am extremely proud to be a member of SAA and a member of the board.  I have been for about 18 years or so.  Being on the board, with lots of exciting new members who have lots of energy and vision of where SAA can go is VERY exciting!  The exhibition, as usual, is spectacular.  Many say it is one of our best and it was fabulously presented in the beautiful gallery at the Bennington."

Terry Miller:     "Having rejoined the board after a dozen years' absence, I felt privileged to be a part of the decision making for an ongoing progressive future for the Society and its members. I've always felt that the board should consider the wishes of the membership, their needs and desires as to how, through the Society's sponsorship, their careers and artistic endeavors can prosper and grow. I felt the decisions that were made  for both immediate and long term goals, will indeed foster more opportunities for our members and continue to move the Society toward ever increasing recognition and appreciation for our genre of art. The Bennington Center did a great job of hanging the show and the works selected did credit to our stated goal of exhibiting the very best of animal art."

John Agnew with his scratchboard drawing, "Is it Safe Yet?" which received an Award of Excellence.

John Agnew: "I went with some trepidation… new people, a new involvement in an organization that I had only participated in from the edges, and a long drive to a new part of the country for me.  The artist's reception and awards banquet for the annual show of the Society was almost just a distraction! 
I came back feeling exhilarated.  Not only was the show fantastic, but I made new friends, and felt that I had participated in a progressive,  productive meeting of some very good minds.  I believe that the SAA is in good hands, and as some of the "new blood" in the room, I hope I contributed something worthwhile.  It is always great to meet artists that have previously only been a name in a catalog or a Facebook friend.  The SAA is not only a way to exhibit our work on a national stage, but to enjoy fellowship with our artist friends and artist heroes. "

Wes Siegrist with his miniature painting, "Going, Going, Gone!"
Wes Siegrist: "My initial impression of the 53rd Annual Exhibition was WOW and this feeling was only reinforced as I walked the galleries and studied the works more carefully.  I never cease to be amazed at how our members manage to bring fresh approaches to rendering animal art and find it fun to see which new species have found their 15 minutes of fame on the wall.  While I was greatly disappointed in not being able to spend more personal time with the members and my own family while in Vermont I nonetheless enjoyed taking part in the GREAT SAA MEETING MARATHON that lasted nearly 19 hours over two days!  The Board debated and discussed so much and I'm excited about all the upcoming additions and changes to our group.  I have already updated many areas of the website and will continue to do so over the next few months.  Hope to see as many of you as I can at the Wildlife Experience next year!"

Rachelle Siegrist with Wes's parents, George and Jeanie Siegrist, and her miniature painting, "Birds and Art."
Rachelle Siegrist: "I was totally impressed with the over all quality, as well as the numerous unique and fresh approaches to many subject matters in the works exhibited at the SAA show this year! As usual I greatly enjoyed talking and laughing with the artists and patrons attending both the opening and the awards dinner.  I must say that the highlight of the weekend for me was the two days I spent with Wes' parents, George and Jeanie, seeing the sights and exploring the beautiful area around Bennington, all donning fall splendor.  I especially enjoyed our visit to the Clark Museum, and to a Norman Rockwell museum located in a unique and interesting store called the "Sugar Shack".  The stunning views from the top of Mt. Equinox were a real visual treat, and a visit to the Lincoln Home, known as the Hildene House, were most enjoyable as well!  Of course there were a few delectable treats such as a fresh homemade apple cider doughnut, pumpkin walnut cookie and maple ice cream to top off the entire experience!"

Some photos from the weekend at the Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington, Vermont:

"Art and the Animal" at the Bennington Center for the Arts
"Art and the Animal" at the Bennington Center for the Arts
"Art and the Animal" at the Bennington Center for the Arts

Kim Diment gave a wonderful program on her field work and reference gathering techniques
At the Member's meeting on Saturday
A wedding in the gallery after the Member's Meeting! Clarence and Bob finally tie the knot after 52 years together.

At the Awards Banquet

The Artist's Reception at the Bennington on October 4th.

The Artist's Reception at the Bennington on October 4th.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART Premieres to Rave Reviews

David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Author/Curator, American Wildlife Art at Exhibition Premiere, Allentown Art Museum
Exhibition Synopsis:
Arts Around Town: ‘Best of the best’ in American Wildlife Art exhibit at Allentown Art Museum ~ Review

Book Review:

Left to right: David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Author/Curator American Wildlife Art; Diane Fischer, Ph.D., Chief Curator, Allentown Art Museum; Susan Pavlik, Curator, John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove Montgomery County Parks and Heritage Services, Lender; Nancy S. Powell, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions, and Jean Bochnowski, Director, John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Lender.




Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.
David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Tour Director


March 16 - April 13, 2014
Ella Carothers Dunnegan Gallery of Art
Bolivar, MO

May 24 - August 10, 2014
The Wildlife Experience
Parker (Denver), CO

September 13, 2014 through October 26, 2014
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tucson, AZ

For further information, contact:

David J. Wagner, L.L.C., AMERICA'S PARKS Tour Office
 (414) 221-6878;
or visit

Member: AAM, American Alliance of Museums
ICOM, International Council of Museums