RUSSELL — In 1969, Russell Lions Club, in need of a community service project, started an art show. What started with just two categories of paintings and 94 artists is now one of the longest-running art shows in the state.
The Russell Original Art Review, celebrating its 50th year this weekend, featured 312 entries by 118 artists from 29 cities.
“We had very strong art teachers in the schools,” Aldean Banker, a volunteer manning the welcome table at the show Saturday, said.
Teachers including Trudy Furney and Art Priddy — for whom awards are now given at the show — Sherry Brungardt and Derril Castor were among those who helped the show get started with the Lions Club. Castor remains on the board for ROAR today.
Seeing the talent and variety from across the state is a draw for some of the locals like Kathy Bray viewing the show Saturday morning at the Russell County 4-H Building, where the show has always been housed.
“Trudy Furney was my art teacher, but I was never very talented at that, so I just enjoy looking,” she said.
“Great Bend, Ellinwood, Belleville, it’s just neat,” she said, commenting on the origins of the entries.
Alvin Matheson of Russell said he likes how the Russell community supports the arts and enjoyed the variety in the show.
“My favorite would be, not photography, but paintings that are close to it,” he said.
Susan Marshall, Weatherford Texas, recently purchased a house in her hometown and returns this time of year for both the annual Bricks, Broncs and Barbecue, which was last weekend, and ROAR and often buys art at the show.
“I just think it’s amazing. I always find something for somewhere,” she said.
On Friday, the show’s opening day, she purchased “Stitches of Wheat,” a mixed-media piece by Amber Chernay.
“It seems like I gravitate toward that mixed media. If I knew where I could put all of them, there’s many that I’d like to have,” she said.
“I’m into windmills. If I had a place for that,” she said gesturing to a large, textured oil by Russell artist David Friday. “Someday I’m going to have one of his.”
The ROAR exhibit closes at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Russell County 4-H Building.