ST. MARYS — A local library is hosting its annual art festival, which is an extension of an annual community festival, this week.
The 22nd Annual St. Marys Summer Artfest kicked off with a reception on Sunday.
“We presented our awards on Sunday at 3 p.m.,” St. Marys Community Public Library Director Sue Pittman said. “This was the first year all the recipients were present.”
Artfest, which features 82 pieces and which is organized by the Artfest Committee, runs through this Sunday.
“The arts show helps us continue in our role as a community center and brings people in to see all the displays of the talent in the area,” Pittman said.
There were 114 entrants into this year’s show.
“This is a juried show,” Pittman said. “We make no decision as to what stays in/what we keep — the judges decide.”
She noted the Donald Glaser Best of Show Award winner “Blueberry Delight” by George D. Eblen.
“He is a retired postal worker,” Pittman said of Eblen. “He didn’t start painting until after he retired — I find that fascinating.”
Eblen, who is a Celina native, noted what painting gives him.
“In these difficult times we all need a release from the stress of daily life,” Eblen wrote in his artist’s statement. “Art is my answer and I enjoy nothing more than brightening the lives of others. With my paintings, I hope to touch many lives with color, happiness and a treasured memory of a loved one or special place.”
Pittman noted the entrants have to live in Auglaize County or in a county that touches Auglaize.
“To think this is basically local talent,” she said.
A change in this year’s show, Pittman said, was the increasing of the prize money.
“I want to thank the sponsors of the show,” she said. “The Friends of the Library and the library put on the show — if it weren’t for the prize money, we may not get any participants. Something different this year was we elevated the first, second and third prizes monetarily.”
Those prizes, she said, went up to $175, $150 and $125, respectively. In addition to Eblen’s Best of Show winner, there were also multiple specific awards. The College-Community Arts Council First Place Award went to “Cowboy Carrion” by David Hovey, the Wright State University Lake Campus Second Place Award went to “Fall in the Colorado Rockies” by Ken Maggi and the College-Community Arts Council Third Place Award went to “The Barn Truck” by Barbara Sailor.
“We also had seven honorable mentions given,” Pittman added.
Artfest is located in the community room at the library. The stands that hold some of the pieces were designed by the late Frank C. Murray, and plants from Spring Street Flowers and flower arrangements by Abloom, A Bit of Nature and the Flower and Plant Barn decorate the room.
Artfest is open from 10 a.m. to noon through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Also during Artfest, the library is hosting its annual Friends of the Library book sale in the basement of the St. Marys Hobby Center. The sale kicks off Thursday, with a Friends of the Library only sale from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pittman noted residents can also sign up to be a Friend during Thursday’s sale. The public sale continues from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday will host a bag sale, with books going for $1 a bag, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.