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Arts & Culture

The Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors Turns 75


The Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors turns seventy-five this year and to celebrate DSPS will offer seventy-five hours of artist demonstrations from October 21 through November 24. Community Voices Producer Will Davis gives us a preview.

Marylyn Hart is a life-long resident of Dayton, and a painter. I recently visited Marylyn in her studio, which is a room brimming with books and music and colors and shapes.

“I call it my secret garden,” Hart says, “Because when I come in here I forget everything else that’s going on. I had my own travel agency for twenty years, and I was always photographing things that I thought someday I’ll paint so now all the albums over there are just loaded with things I want to paint, landscapes, or flowers, or whatever.”

Hart is on the board of the Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors, and the art marathon was her idea.

“We’re all sitting at a board meeting and everybody’s saying we need to do something really unique, you know, for our anniversary. And then I thought an art marathon, we could go on for days doing an art marathon, and everybody thought, well, you know, that’s a pretty big bite to take off, and all they had to do was say that’s a big bite to take off, and I’m immediately challenged,” she says.

The result is a one of a kind marathon offered by over forty of Dayton’s most distinguished visual artists. They will display their talent and share best practices over seventy-five hours of demonstrations, and as Marylyn points out, Dayton is the perfect place for this event because of our rich history.

“People came here in the thirties and there was work to be done in Dayton,” she says, “We had General Motors, we had the National Cash Register, we were printing magazines here so we had sculptors, we had illustrators, we had painters. We still have seven or eight who are in their nineties here, you have Bing Davis, Fred Betz, Homer Hacker, Dick Black, David Smith.”

I think the Dayton visual art scene is one of the liveliest in the United States. We have a great history of the Fine Arts in Dayton, painting, and drawing, and sculptor, and music, and all the Fine Arts.

David Smith has been a member of DSPS since 1963.

“I think the Dayton visual art scene is one of the liveliest in the United States,” Smith says, “We have a great history of the Fine Arts in Dayton, painting, and drawing, and sculptor, and music, and all the Fine Arts.”

Smith is a prolific and accomplished artist, and he’ll be demonstrating perspective in drawing at the marathon. His living room is adorned with his ink drawings, monotypes, and watercolors. With so many exceptional pieces, I wondered which meant the most to him.

“Well one of them I’m proud of is in back of you on the wall, Will,” he tells me, “And that’s called On The Road, and it shows an old fashioned camper coming along Dorothy Lane. It’s viewed from the bridge, which is right near my house, and it’s a winter scene, some snow on the field, some ice on the roads, and I like it because it has a mood, I think the feeling that you can get into a painting is so important. I try to go beyond what the architect does. The architect shows you the structure, but I like to try to show you how you feel about the scene.”

Bridgette Bogle is the President of the Board of the Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors. She’s also an artist who will be participating in the marathon. She’s giving me a preview of her demonstration, and she begins by removing unwanted paint from her canvas.

“It’s actually really easy to just scrap away areas of the piece if you don’t like it. And I always tell my students that sometimes you have to destroy the part of the piece that you love the most for everything else to work,” Bogle says, “You always have to be brave enough to do that as an artist.”

Bogle’s workshop is called Color Over Structure.

“I’m going to show both a representational and abstract version of a specific subject,” she says, “I’m painting this dead sunflower, and I love the way that the petals are all curled up and dried. But I’m really also looking at the interspaces between those petals. You’re not necessarily always just drawing “the thing”. You’re also thinking about how the shapes in the canvas interlock, almost like putting together a puzzle.”

When we watch an artist create, we see the expression of their imagination, and we learn from it. Watching Bridgette Bogle build color and create form was fun and instructive.

She says, “I feel like anytime you are looking at what someone else does it helps to remind you why you do what you do, and that’s a benefit of being part of an organization like DSPS, too, is it helps you find community.”

For more information about the Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors and their seventy-five hour art marathon, visit daytondsps.org.