2009 BSAF to feature more artists

The art show at the Black Swamp Arts Festival may be bucking the trend
Greg Lawler, creator of the Art Fair Source Book, said most of the 35 or so shows he’s been to this year
have shown declines. In his 20 years in the business, he said, this is “the toughest time” he’s
The Black Swamp art show, which runs Sept. 12 and 13, though, will have four more artists in its juried
show — 112 artists stretched along North and South Main streets in downtown Bowling Green. That includes
winners from the 2008 show who are automatically accepted.
An increase didn’t appear likely though in spring. Linda Brown, who chairs the art show committee for the
festival, said applications were down to 150 from 200 or more in the past several years.
But when the digital files submitted by artists were reviewed by the three-person jury, the work proved
to be high quality, and the jurors had no problem selecting a field of candidates.
“I was really impressed with the overall quality of the application, especially the jewelry,” Brown said.

Wynn Perry, who co-chairs the art show, said the ceramics entries were also strong, and the show had an
increase in the number of glass artists.
“I’m glad to see that,” Brown said.
Perry also said the jurors seemed more accepting of “whimsical” pieces. “People like to buy pieces that
are more fun.”
“Overall they were very good entries,” said Tom Muir, who teaches metals and jewelry at Bowling Green
State University and served as a juror. As someone who has attended the festival for all of its 16 years
the quality of the work “was really no big surprise.”
He credited the festival’s volunteers who monitor booths to make sure that the art shown in the images
submitted for entry represents what’s actually being sold at the festival.
Muir said his impression is the quality of the work at the show is improving. “More people are finding
out about it.”
He has several former students who have exhibited at the festival.
Using a local artist as a juror is a break for the festival’s past practice. Usually the festival has
sought jurors from outside the immediate area.
But that no longer seems necessary as the festival’s geographic reach has expanded, Perry said.
“Professional is professional whether they recognize the work or not.”
This is the third year that the panel of jurors has been expanded to three from two.
Because so many jewelers apply to the show, a jeweler has been added to the panel. “We need someone to
address that medium,” Brown said.
The Wood County Invitational Show, which is open to artists living within a 30-mile radius of Bowling
Green, is full as well. The work is screened but not juried, Brown said.
It remains an important aspect of the event. “The festival really wants to recognize local artists and
give them a chance to show their work,” Brown said.
Also, the invitational gives artists the chance to collaborate and combine the work of two or three
people within one booth.
For some of the participants in the county invitational, Perry said, “this is the only show they do, and
they work toward it all year.”
The festival also allows students from the BGSU School of Art to show their work. “It’s a good way for
them to learn how to market their work,” Muir said.
Lawler of the Art Fair Source Book said he’s seen “an uptick in younger artists doing shows.”
“It’s not extremely dramatic, but it’s definitely noticeable,” he said.
Meanwhile he’s also seen “a lot of attrition” in the ranks of artists. “People who are closer to
retirement age are more likely to quit the circuit.”