By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Diana Bibler’s “Heart Breaking” got some love from visitors to the annual NowOH art exhibit at Bowling Green State University.
Bibler’s acrylic painting won the show’s People’s Choice Award. The honor was announced Sunday after the last day of the show’s two-week run.
Artists arrived at the galleries in the Fine Arts Center to collect their work.
More than 100 ballots were cast for People’s Choice.
“Heart Breaking” was an outgrowth of a family calamity. Bibler’s family had a house fire. In the aftermath, a 90-gallon fish tank was neglected and just kept freezing and thawing. They finally just “shoved it outside” where the bright plastic plants froze inside ice crystals.
That was the image that inspired Bibler’s vivid abstraction. The title “Heart Breaking” refers, in part to the fire, but was as much inspired by viewer’s reactions to the art. “It reflects the mood you get from the painting,” Bibler said.
Bibler, a graduate of Bowhser High School in Toledo, will be in her third year as a 3-D art major at BGSU.
Having been encouraged to be creative by her mother, Bibler has known since age 5 that she wanted to be an artist. She’s already won awards for her felted sculpture “Hero.”
She entered the painting into NowOH as a way of getting more visibility for her work, and winning People’s Choice, she said, gives her confidence as she moves forward in her career.
BGSU Gallery Director Jacqueline Nathan said that was more than in the previous eight shows, and in line with what she saw as an uptick in attendance.
“Every day we were open we had a pretty good number of visitors, and they were enthusiastic,” Nathan said.
The Ninth Northwest Ohio Community Art Exhibition exhibit features the work of 56 area artists, from both the university and the community. Entry into NowOH is open to all artists who live in 12 Northwest Ohio counties. All work submitted is included.
“This all came as a result of a class in arts administration,” Nathan said. “They wanted to do something to support local artists, and this is the result.”
The exhibit draws both artists from the community and the university, especially students. For students, she said, the show “is a great line on their resume.”
Having the community and campus come together adds to the event. “It makes the show more exciting to have that kind of discussion between all the elements of our artistic community.”
Local painter Randy Bennett agrees. “It’s another of the important connections between the university and the artistic community of Northwest Ohio. Ultimately it’ll bring everyone up to a higher level. “
Bennett has exhibited in all nine of the NowOH shows. “It’s a great venue for all levels of art and artists on their journey. … It gives artist a chance to show in a wonderful setting and it’s run so well.” The show also uses a resource, the university galleries, that otherwise be empty.
Over the years, Bennett said, “the quality of the show has ballooned.”