Art center kicks off New Year with juried selections

Published 9:19 am Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A public reception will be held on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Buchanan Art Center featuring three, new exhibits by local artists:

Juried Selections from The St. Joe Valley Watercolor Society in the Roti Roti Gallery, Going Postal by Gary R. Bennett in the Show Place Gallery and BAC Showcases; and Eclectic Encounters: The Artist’s Collection of Favorites, by Sandra A. Pethick in the Hess Gallery.

These exhibits open on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and run through Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Founded in 1959 by artist and teacher; Joseph Wrobel, the St. Joe Valley Watercolor Society serves the South Bend and Northern Indiana areas by showcasing the watercolor paintings of its members and by promoting interest in watercolor painting in general.

Their mission is to serve their members by providing an opportunity to meet in a friendly forum, to learn and experience new techniques, to exhibit in juried and non-juried shows, and to give artists an opportunity to sell their art work.

By providing the community with these varied, the St. Joe Watercolor Society cultivates an appreciation for the many talented artists who reside within its boundaries. The society meets on the 4th Sunday of the month at the South Bend Regional Museum of Art in the upstairs classroom area at 1:30 p.m. most months except June through August.

For more information, please visit their website:

Born on Lake Maxinkuckee, graphic artist Gary R. Bennett was influenced early in life by the artists who spent their summers on the lake and/or were guest art instructors at Culver Military Academy, where he attended as a boy. Graduating from Culver High School he went on to receive his B.A. and M.F.A. from Ball State University. A teaching career soon followed and Bennett encouraged multiple generations of students to pursue careers in art.

While teaching full-time, Bennett built an award-winning freelance graphic design career, and soon merged his creative efforts with a life-long interest in philately, branching into the world of making cachets: miniature works of art on the face of an envelope.

Since 1986, Bennett has designed over 600 special event envelope covers and postal cancels for U.S.P.S. and Canada Poste, and his work has been shown in conjunction with The Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition at the Midwest Museum of Art. His cachets went into space on the Russian Soyuz, to Antarctica on a Japanese trawler, to Berlin when the wall came down, and to the Iceland summit of President Reagan and Communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bennett jokes, “I have been very few places physically in the world, but my cachets have been all over the planet — even in to space.”

In an effort to further her personal and professional development and keep her curriculum current, photographer and long-time art educator Sandra A. Pethick decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Art Education. It was during this process that her interest in digital photography developed when she decided to take a digital photography class to meet the studio requirements for the degree.

While working on assignments Pethick began to recognize that her photography focused on images of her “everyday” life. Many of her early photographs focused on her travels between Niles and Hartford, Michigan, and her own backyard. Since her retirement, Pethick has the time to expand upon her photography experiences and begin exploring different geographical areas. Pethick says Eclectic Encounters: The Artist’s Collection of Favorites – “is a showing of simple images that are seen every day, but are not always recognized for their beauty.”