"Art We Use" Exhibit Opens At Dairy Barn

Bryan Gibson

Updated Wed, Jun 18, 2014 8:12 am

Patch Cups by Bonilyn Parker, Juneau, Alaska

Art We Use, an international exhibition of everyday and special objects, opens Friday, June 20 at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens.

The exhibit, which features more than 100 works by 68 artists from 25 states and two foreign countries, is part of the Dairy Barn's centennial celebration.   

The jurors for Art We Use were Paul Richelson, chief curator of Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama; Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, managing editor of ceramicartsdaily.org and an Ohio University alumna; and Craig Nutt, a studio furniture maker and sculptor whose work is in numerous museum collections, including the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, the High Museum of Art, the Mobile Museum of Art and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Upright Bass by Aaron Smith, Nelsonville, Ohio

The trio reviewed 330 pieces from over 130 artists, narrowing down the artwork to include a a broad base of media—works in wood, clay, metal, glass, paper and fiber are used in objects ranging from tools to teapots, bowls to baskets and tables to lamp shades. 

"It was a pleasant surprise to see the wide range of interpretations of the idea of Art We Use," said Harnetty in a press release. "This led to interesting conversations amongst the jurors on what constitutes utilitarian art. I hope that the resulting exhibition reveals that the answer is happily ambiguous."

The opening will include $10,000 in prizes, given out to the artists. Most of the works will be for sale through the Dairy Barn's website as well as in the gallery. 

Urn Your Way by Brian Alloway, Athens, Ohio

Art We Use is just one of the many exhibits the Dairy Barn's has planned for its 100th birthday. In 1914, the barn--then part of the Athens Asylum--was built by the State of Ohio for $10,000.

Though the structure was originally a functioning dairy barn, the building was scheduled to be razed in 1977, after many years of standing vacant.

A Citizens Task Force Committee, headed by local artist Harriet Anderson and her husband, Ora, was formed to preserve the barn and turn it into a non-profit arts center.

With only a few days to spare, the committee and the Hocking Valley Arts Council succeeded in their petitions to the governor, and The Dairy Barn Arts Center was founded and added to the National Register of Historic Places.

As an added bonus, this Friday's Art We Use opening will include several dozen classic MG sports cars from the 1940s, '50s and '60s.

The Ohio Chapter of the MG-T Register, which is holding its summer gathering in Athens over the weekend, will display their cars in front of the Dairy Barn on Friday. 

The exhibit runs through Sept. 1. Visit www.dairybarn.org for more information.