The Seven County Artist Exhibition

The Bergstrom Mahler Museum in Neenah exhibits the Seven Counties Exhibition and a large permanent glass collection.
A Welcome Addition to Wisconsin’s Visual Art Culture

The Bergstrom Mahler Museum in Neenah, WI, has completed a very successful exhibit that drew upon artists from local counties, including Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Outagamie, Portage, Waupaca, and Winnebago. The exhibit was held from January 20th to February 24th, and was supported by funding from Community First Credit Union.

Like Sheboygan’s John Michael Kohler Art Center’s “8 Counties Triennial”, the Bergstrom’s Seven County exhibition provided an opportunity for artists who reside in areas that might be considered underserved. It is hoped that this exhibit will become part of Wisconsin’s rich art culture for artists, patrons, students and the public at large to enjoy and to expect on a regular basis. During the awards ceremony the organizers voice their optimism that this exhibit will become a recurrent experience.

This first year approximately 70 pieces were selected from 150 entries. The juror, Gary John Gresl, wanted to show the variety and quality of art being produced in the area, and selections were drawn from paint, sculpture, glass, ceramics, textile arts and jewelry. He states, “I was very pleased to walk into the museum and see the high quality of all the work. One is always hopeful that the slides and CD images from which the work was chosen had represented the work well. From my standpoint, the work was better than the images suggested.”

Gary was called upon to select three major awardees, each being presented with a check for $1,000. In addition 10 Merit Awards, titled Honorable Mentions, were awarded as well. The three major awards were presented to Ben Salm of Appleton, Lynn Ann Sauby, Menasha, and Jon Wos, Oshkosh. Those getting Honorable Mentions included Steve Ballard, Appleton, Ann Herzon Wright, Amherst, Benjamin Rinehart, Appleton, Lenore Ryan, Appleton, Cheryl Sheehan, Brillion, Rick Foris, Amherst Junction, Karen Ann Hoffman, Stevens Point, Jan Hughes, Sherwood, Pat Bishop, Appleton, and Thomas Dailing, Stevens Point.

Mr. Gresl made it clear that selecting work and awarding prizes is rarely a matter of complete objectivity. One approaches jurying knowing that one has learned certain things, has some expectations, and must work with both an intuitive sense as well as accumulated knowledge. Another Juror would undoubtedly make other selections. He stated that he was honored to be part of this first exhibit, and hoped that he did a job worthy of the responsibility. He thanked Jan Smith, Executive Director, for her support and efforts on behalf of our state artists. Jan was formerly Director of the Rahr-West Museum, Manitowoc.

While the museum is known primarily for its collection of glass, including paperweights, it has always had a mission of holding other art shows. The Seven Counties exhibit is one way the Bergstrom-Mahler has shown its interest in community involvement and education. This theme was reiterated by a representative from the supporting Community First Bank.

The Bergstrom Mahler is located at 165 North Park Ave., Neenah, WI, 54956. Phone 920-751-4658. Visit WWW.BERGSTROM-MAHLERMUSEUM.COM. Hours are Tue - Sat 10AM – 4:30 PM, Sun. 1 – 4:30, and closed Mondays.