Delaware County Community Heroes in Portraiture: New Exhibit at DCHA Highlights Five Local Heroes
Opening Reception Friday, August 7 @ 5pm
A dog and his young trainer. A big-hearted shopkeeper who opens her home to those in need. An auto-mechanic faithful to his church.
After piles of nominations and months of secrecy, artist Janet Wentworth Erickson will debut her portrait series, "Delaware County Community Heroes in Portraiture" at the Delaware County Historical Association with an opening wine and cheese reception from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7. The reception is free and open to the public.
"Portraiture has been a practice since ancient times," said Erickson. "From ancient death masks to selfies, every community wants to capture the likeness of its celebrated citizens."
Inspired by classical portraits of yore, Erickson took nominations from Delaware and Otsego Counties of "unsung heroes," to honor the community work of those who might not be seen otherwise. Five of those nominated were interviewed and painted for classical 30" x 40" oil portraits, and several more heroes were photographed to also be a part of the exhibit.
"Painted portraiture on canvas can teach future generations about our values and priorities," said Erickson. "I wanted people to know that there were heroes all around us."
Erickson, who teaches art at SUNY Oneonta, received the college's "Creative Activity" grant for the series, inviting students from Delaware Academy and SUNY to assist her with interviews and images of those chosen to sit for the portraits. “I want to know about their lives and why they were nominated.” said Erickson. "This painting is a person's life."
Delaware County Community Heroes in Portraiture will be on display in the Elijah Thomas Gallery at DCHA from August 1 through August 30. Free admission. The gallery is open 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
The remainder of the series, featuring portraits and photos of community heroes from both Delaware and Otsego Counties combined, will open this fall at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown.