For Kim Monnier, of Bowling Green, a change in diet ended up feeding her creative spirit.
When she became a vegetarian, it sparked a greater interest in the food she ate. How did all those fruits
and vegetables arrive on the supermarket shelves?
Monnier, then an art education major at Bowling Green State University’s School of Art, discovered the
hero at the heart of food production – the honey bee, and almost as soon discovered the threat to the
bee – Colony Collapse.
"I was blown away by how important bees are in feeding us and allowing us to live," she said.
Monnier turned her art to celebrating the bee and its importance to humans.
Her ceramic work "Bee Harmony" was itself celebrated Friday as it received Best of Show honors
at the 91st Annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition. The exhibit, which features 119 works by 96 artists
from southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio, opened Friday at the Toledo Museum of Art and continues
through Aug. 23.
Monnier’s ceramic sculpture juxtaposes a large depiction of the inside of a beehive with 15 settings of
two plates and a bowl, all hexagons, the shape echoing the shape of the cells of the hive.
Monnier, who graduated in May from BGSU and now works as a teacher in summer and after-school programs
for the Wood County Educational Service Center, has been interested in art since her childhood growing
up in Sidney. "That’s all I wanted to do," she said Friday night.
She started with crayons and graduated to more sophisticated materials. In high school she was inspired
by her art teacher, and following the footsteps of her teacher, her father, aunt and uncle, she enrolled
in BGSU where she studied with John Balistreri.
He forced her to think more deeply about her work, asking Monnier questions that defied easy answers.
Katerina Ray, director of the School of Art, said that it is particularly impressive for an art education
major to win, given the heavy work load they must carry. Art education students have a full load of
education courses and student teaching but are also expected to be as accomplished in their artwork as
studio art majors.
A winner of multiple awards at BGSU, Monnier was encouraged to enter the Toledo Area show by her fiancÃ©
Eric Zeigler, who grew up in Waterville and was familiar with the exhibit. Zeigler, who has been
studying in San Francisco, also had a piece accepted into the show.
Claude Fixler, the long-time curator of the exhibit, said this year’s show is distinguished by the number
of new faces both having work accepted and receiving honors. The top three honors went to first time
"It’s probably a little more provocativeÉ in a good way," he said of the 91st annual exhibit.
It wasn’t only young first-time exhibitors taking honors.
Brian Heller, of Perrysburg, the Roulet Medal for his silk screen print "Kiawah River #17." The
Toledo Area Artists Exhibition is the first show he has ever entered, he said.
Now in his 70s, he’s had a long career in the health care industry, and continues to work as an
independent consultant on health care quality issues.
Only now, he said, does he feel he has the time to devote "meaningful attention" to his art.
He also received an award in the Salon des Refuses show, which features works submitted for the Toledo
Area show, but not selected for inclusion.
He works in the Toledo studio of another honoree from Perrysburg Mania Dajnak, who received the Athena
Art Society Award for her conte crayon and intaglio image "Unraveling Her Square #1."
Other local winners are:
¥ Joel O’Dorisio, Bowling Green, second award.
¥ Nadine Saylor, Bowling Green, Toledo Area Glass Guild’s Dominick Labino Award.
¥ Chris Rom and Geoff Buddie, of Swanton, both BGSU graduates, Rose M. Redder Memorial Award.
¥ Madison Finn, current BGSU student from Huron, Collingwood Arts Center’s Jim Reynoldson Award.