Bexley Public Library now loans original artwork

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
Bexley library

Bexley Public Library patrons can now check out works by Franklin County artists for the same loan periods as books, DVDs and other materials. 

The Bexley Art Library debuted with an Oct. 4 outdoor event at the library, 2411 E. Main St. 

Earlier this year, Franklin County artists were invited to submit original pieces; a jury selected 15 works – paintings, prints, photographs and mixed-media pieces – that can be loaned.

“There were over 100 entries from the community,” librarian Leann Schneider said. “We asked the jury to consider the quality of the work, consider the breadth of medium and style. 

“We didn’t want all the pieces to be library-themed, for instance. We didn’t want all of the pieces to be paintings. And also (the jury was asked) to consider the diversity of the artists represented. That was really important to us as well, both race and gender.”

Schneider said she proposed the idea of the Bexley Art Library to library Director Ben Heckman, based on a circulating art program at the Akron-Summit County Public Library. 

“The library’s all about accessibility,” Schneider said. “A lot of people, when they see an original work of art, they think it’s so expensive and it’s really unattainable for a lot of people. This way, you can experience living with art.” 

Abby Feinknopf, a Bexley resident whose work is featured in the library’s new collection, said she agrees that the program will enable people to get a feel for owning a piece of original artwork. Her acrylic painting is titled “Baby Graffiti Bouquet.” 

“I think most of the world probably views art as an unattainable thing because they tend to think of art galleries and they think of art as expensive. And it can be,” Feinknopf said. “This allows people to take it out and try it. In some cases, it might give them just a little bit of happiness on a gray day and see if they want photography in their home or if they like abstract art. I think it could be good for the community.”

Another Bexley artist, Chris Rankin, who originally is from Florida, said he previously exhibited at the library and has found the community as a whole to be supportive of the arts. His beeswax-on-wood-panel piece is titled “Lavender Lush.” 

“Bexley has a ton of artists just in the community,” he said. “We have lots of galleries. It’s supported not only through the communities, but through the schools and the college. Just on my street alone, there are five or six professional artists and maybe even more than that.”

The Bexley Art Library also includes the work of Abeer Abo-Shihata, Brooke Albrecht, Dejiah Archie Davis, Christine D’Epiro Abbott, Dana Grubbe, Amy Haggard, Hani Hara, Edwin Alan Kitchen, Rose Klockner, Richard L. Limes, Mark Thomas, Beverly Whiteside and Donna Winters. Each of the artists was paid a $400 purchase fee, covered by grants from the Ohio Arts Council, the Bexley Community Foundation’s Susie & Charlie Rath Creative Arts Fund and the State Library of Ohio, Schneider said. 

Jury members who selected the works included Heckman; Debbie Branigan, BPL adult services librarian; Corey Favor, Columbus Creative Control Fest co-founder; David Gentilini, director of Capital University’s Schumacher Gallery; Lyn Logan-Grimes, King Arts Complex education and cultural arts director; and Cat Sheridan, director of the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery in Columbus. 

For more information and to reserve the artwork, visit Bexleylibrary.org/artlibrary. 

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