Works from more than 35 artists from across the Southern Tier have been gathered to showcase local talent during the 2015 Roberson Regional Art Exhibition.
The beauty of the exhibition, which began on July 10 and goes until October 25, at the Roberson Museum and Science Center, lies in the fact that there are no real restrictions, other than the 150-mile radius requirement for participants. Artists of varying degrees — amateur, student and professional — are welcome to submit as many pieces as they’d like using any and all media.
Standing prominently in the center of the second floor gallery is a sculpture made of wood segments unmistakably intertwined in a tango. A display on the first floor holds an intriguing piece made of copper and brass. Acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, photographs, pastels and marble are just some of the other creative media you’ll encounter when browsing the exhibit.
According to Jason Fiume, marketing and public relations manager at the museum, the first Regional Art Exhibition was held in 2006 in an effort to label Roberson as the central hub of Binghamton local art and culture. The top three submissions were chosen by an impartial third-party juror and the winning artists walked away with cash prizes. Roberson has since hosted five more exhibitions, one every other year beginning in 2007.
The Roberson staff holds no influence whatsoever when it comes to curating the exhibition. Fiume admits that the most interesting aspect of the gallery comes down to the decisions of the particular juror for that year. He said that the artwork on display in a particular year is largely a reflection of the juror’s tastes.
The consistent turnover of artwork represents part of the ever-changing Binghamton story. Furthermore, by not showcasing a static show, Roberson has proclaimed the title as the premier resource for arts and culture for the Greater Binghamton community.
This year’s juror, Mark Schaming, director & assistant commissioner of the New York State Museum, chose three relatable pieces as the winners. The first place piece, “Gibson House,” an oil painting by David Higgins, is not only impressive in size, but for its simplicity which allows for much interpretation.
“It lets you create your own story,” Fiume explained.
“Greyhound,” a pastel drawing by Denise Franchino, features the Greyhound bus station in Downtown Binghamton. This second-place winner is relatable to any Binghamton University student who has tried to get home for a holiday break.
The third-place piece is an oil painting by Carol Frejie entitled “Carol’s Mother, ‘Rose.’” The piece is a tribute to the artist’s mother.
The Regional Art Exhibition is just one of the many ways Roberson is striving to support the community. They have recently begun to host RoberCon, a science fiction convention meant to encourage artists and sci-fi enthusiasts to think outside of the box. In addition, Home for the Holidays welcomes visitors to discover holiday traditions by inviting community members, volunteers and local businesses to decorate the museum and accompanying mansion.
“There’s a great deal of energy and creativity in this area,” Fiume said. With the help of the Roberson Center, that very energy finally has a place to come together and be admired.