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Paintings, sculptures and pottery of all varieties and by all ages of artists, are now on display at the Degenstein Library for the Annual Judged Art Show, hosted by the Susquehanna Art Society.

According to Marilyn Paul, president of the society, there are 222 entries altogether. The winners were announced at an artists’ reception on Tuesday.

“The work ranges from large scale acrylic and oil paintings by seasoned artists to whimsical acrylic paintings by six-year-olds,” Paul said. Subject matter of the art includes portraits, landscapes, animals, florals, boats, trains, and abstract imagery. The show accepts artwork including oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor photography, and “other,” which includes drawing, mixed media, sculpture, pottery, computer design, printmaking, glass works, and more.

Paul, who was a high school art teacher for 32 years, said “It was a joy to see my students’ creativity grow from year to year. I see the same growth in our members.”

The art show gives opportunity to all ages and abilities of artists, separating categories into students 17 and under, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. If an artist wins an award in one of these categories, they are encouraged to move onto the next level the next time.

“I have seen firsthand the growth that our members make from show to show,” Paul said. “It is a testament to their hard work and talent.”

The largest number of entries are in the “advanced” level, she said, “so the caliber of the show remains high every year. Our advanced artists consistently impress with their beautiful works and varying perspectives.”

Sylvia Denger, of Watsontown, submitted two of her watercolor paintings in the show this year. She joined the society in 2014, the same year she began taking watercolor lessons at the YMCA Arts Center. Her instructor encouraged her to participate in the society art show, and she won an honorable mention.

“Art and the love of art are so satisfying and important to me,” she said.

So much so that she serves as a greeter for the show, a role in which she can “encourage people to look into each piece and appreciate the creativity, the work and the beauty,” she said.

Paul said the mission of the Susquehanna Art Society, a non-juried, non-profit organization, is to support and provide camaraderie and opportunity for artists to show their work, as well as to educate both members and the public about art.

The first art exhibition in the Valley by the Society was held in 1980. John Troxell, of Point Township, was involved with this first show, responsible for hanging the artwork when it arrived at the site, which that year was the lobby of the Selinsgrove Middle School.

“By putting together this first show,” he said, “we wanted to expose the work of the many talented artists who live in this area but had no venue to show their work to the greater community. The idea was also to help create a community of artists to encourage each other and promote art as a cultural activity.”

During his school years, Troxell was inspired and supported by his uncle, a designer, and later attended college for industrial design. He later rose to become the head of the design department at Wood-Mode. The company purchased work by the art society’s members to hang in their offices, and even commissioned local artists to paint historic buildings for their Christmas cards, Troxell said.

“The contact with the society helped me make those contacts and the annual shows helped to highlight potential new artists,” he said.

The society has also allowed Troxell to continue his personal journey as an artist, creating works in acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil, and photography. He has submitted some of his work for the art shows, he said, “when I felt I had something to enter”, and he also has helped to hang the artwork for nearly every annual show since that first one in 1980.

He continues to encourage the community to be involved in some way.

“I would encourage everyone who may have some interest in art to attend,” he said. “There is an amazing range of subject matter and styles on display.

“For those who may be considering the creative process,” he added, “hopefully this will give them that extra boost to give it a try.”

While the Annual Judged Art Show is open to all Pennsylvania artists, the society does hold shows open only to the approximate 100 society members, such as a members only show scheduled at the Packwood House Museum in Lewisburg in November during Stroll Through the Arts, and one at the Public Library of Union County next May.

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