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Art Is Ageless

Works from 51 artists await the eye of the beholder.

Sunday afternoon at Campagna Center, 51 artists proved beyond a reasonable doubt that life doesn't begin at 40, or 20, or 60, or at any other designated point in time.

It begins in the spirit and imagination which are timeless.

At the "Young at Art" 20th Annual juried art show for artists age 55 and older entries covered the entire spectrum, in all mediums, from a wooden sculpture of camping shorts to oriental brush painting of flowers to photography. Each provided a portal into the soul of its creator.

Taking first place honor was Darlene Kaplan with her oriental brush painting entitled "King of Flowers." Painting for 40 years, Kaplan previously worked in oils but switched to oriental brush approximately 18 years ago.

"I started taking martial arts. The Chinese believe you must master five disciplines to be truly whole and content," Kaplan said.

"They are music, art, poetry, medicine and martial arts. I have experience in all but poetry," the Rose Hill resident said. Her experience in medicine comes from the fact she is a registered cardiology technician. She is also skilled in the martial arts.

Third place winner, Pallavi Dhokai, another Fairfax County resident with an Alexandria mailing address, dates her artistic talent to "childhood." An abstract artist accomplished in all mediums, her winning entry was entitled "My King."

"It was a real surprise and honor to get third place," Dhokai said. That emotion was echoed by Kaplan. "I'm surprised, thrilled and honored to have been chosen as the first place winner. It makes it all worthwhile," she said.

Although the show is being held at Campagna Center, 418 Washington St., it is jointly sponsored by Alexandria Commission on Aging, Friends of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and the Goodwin House Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Alexandria Commission for the Arts.

Donna Strum, who was unable to attended Sunday's opening reception, took second place for her entry entitled, "Fire Water Lily." Others who received honorable mention and their entrants were: Rosemary Herman, "Jamboree;" Olene Albertson, "Twilght Walk on King Street;" Jacqueline Saunders, "J.J.'s Gaze;" Annie Phillips, "On the Shore;" and Judy Wengrovitz, "On the Steps."

Although it was not chosen a winner, Sy Wengrovitz's "Gone Swimming II," received a great deal of attention from those attending the reception. A wood sculpture of a pair of hiking shorts hung on an abstract hook, it needed no further explanation.

BILL SCHRAN, juror for the show, thanked all the artists who submitted their work and assured them that not being chosen a winner was in no way a put down to their abilities and talents. "I've had pieces rejected at one show that won at the next," he said.

With almost 30 years of teaching and a lifetime of producing art, Schram is a member of the "Young at Art" club. He is assistant dean, Fine Arts, Division of Visual and Performing Arts and Public Services; director, Tyler Teaching Gallery; and assistant professor, Art/Ceramics, Northern Virginia Community College, Annadale.

"I am pleased with the quality and quantity of work entered in this show. When judging a show, I come with no preconceived notions of what I will see or what I might select," he said.

"I took several trips around the rooms here to make sure I didn't miss anything. I want to thank all the artists who took the risk to enter their art in this show. Entering art shows that will be judged can be exciting, but also can be fraught with anxiety," Schran said.

"Sometimes artists think; "What will the judge think of me and my art?" Most of the time, judges don't think much about the artist, they concentrate on the art. I do not look for the artist's name until I've made my decision if a specific work would be included in the show," he stated.

Schran thanked Jeannine Purdy and the RSVP volunteers who assisted him in his role as juror. The reception was hosted by the Goodwin House Foundation.

The exhibit is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from July 17 to 27 at Campagna Center. For additional information contact Purdy at 703-549-1607 ext. 130 or at jpurdy@campagnacenter.org.