Owa-Chito Art Show

The 42nd Annual Owa-Chito Art Show opens with a reception at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 12th, at the Forest Heritage Center Museum. Those attending the reception will have the opportunity to meet the artists and get a premier look at this year’s outstanding art show. To delight our guest’s palates, we will have several noted McCurtain County restaurants providing hors d'oeuvre.

The art show contains over 300 works of art entered by over 100 artists within the four state areas of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana. The artwork will compete for Best of Show and places in categories for professional, non-professional and student artists. Selected to receive the prestigious honor of being Owa-Chito’s featured artist is Peggy Epner of Allen, Texas.

Peggy Epner, a native of Copley, Ohio, received a BA in Fashion Design from Kent State University and worked as a theatrical costumer for a number of years before continuing her education in Fine Arts at the University of North Texas. She has resided in Allen, Texas for the past 20 years with her husband, Mike.

Growing up in a small town in the Great Lakes region of Ohio, her house was surrounded by sugar maple forest on one side, farmland on another, a lake, a railroad track and a creek. Each season offered fresh opportunity for exploration right outside her back door. Peggy stated, “I carry a lifelong appreciation for the astonishing beauty of nature and it’s all tangled up with spirituality for me, so it is a natural fodder for my artwork.” “All my life, I have played, explored and rested in the forest. It always feels like coming home.”

The featured art this year will have a theme selected by Epner as Signs and Seasons. She stated, “Throughout human history, there have been cultures that have regarded trees as having spirits. It is not difficult to imagine why. Trees are living beings that stand among us, growing, adapting, and dying, subject to the same forces of nature that rule humans: the soft sway of night to day to night, the order of the seasons, and the relentless persistence of the life cycle.”

“I find that I, too, have a natural tendency to assign human attributes and feelings to trees. In my visual vocabulary, wood is an important symbol of the body and spirit of the individual: Age rings that spiral out like a personal history, wooden boats and propellers that suggest the self in motion, and wooden pulleys that bear the weight of change,” said Epner.

Epner’s work has been included in group exhibits throughout the US including the Seventh Annual Encaustic Invitational, Conrad Wilde Gallery, Tucson, Arizona. Epner has had several solo exhibitions which include at the University of North Texas and at Laura Moore Fine Art Studio. Her work is featured in the R&F Paints publication Encaustic Works 2012: An Exhibition in Print Selected by Joanne Mattera and the permanent collections of Jesuit Dallas Museum and the Forest Heritage Center Museum. Interestingly, Epner sold her first piece here at the Owa-Chito Art Show.

“This is shaping up to be an exceptional year and we are honored to have such an outstanding artist featured at the Owa-Chito Art Show this year,” said show organizer Doug Zook. “I encourage everyone to come out Thursday, June 12th to meet the artists and take this opportunity to purchase some of the finest original artwork available!”

The Art Show will continually run from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. June 13th-21st and 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. June 22th. For more information, please contact the Forest Heritage Center at 580-494-6497 or fhc@beaversbend.com.

Click here for details on entering the Owa-Chito Art Show.

This program is made possible in part by Oklahoma Forestry Services, the Regional Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Forest Heritage Center Advisory Board and staff.