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Arts council kicks off ag exhibition

John Rieping/The Madera Tribune

Guests converse after Madera South High School students finish their guitar performance during an opening reception for Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts show this week.


Diane Breuer’s pastel drawing “Jill’s Baby Goat” captured the Best of Show title at the 23rd annual Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts reception that kicked off the exhibition this week.

“I painted it on my spare time while I run the gallery, and lot of you watched me paint it,” said Breuer, who has a studio and gallery at Fresno Art Hub in the Tower District.

Madera’s show features the work of 51 artists who submitted 79 entries judged worthy of display by art instructor and painter John F. Shaw of Morrow Bay. Among all those, 27 entries received prize ribbons and State Legislature certificates at the mid-week gathering.

In the category of the “human factor” of agriculture, Dixie Salazar of Fresno received 1st place for her oil painting “Rosula at Harvest” and Wendy Miller of Visalia took 2nd for her graphite drawing “Two Conversations.” In the crop category, Jim Etherton of Fresno won 1st place for his pencil drawing of cotton entitled “White Gold” and Connie Cassinetto of Sonora held 2nd for her digital photograph “Near Merced Wildlife Refuge.”

“Cotton is such an interesting plant,” said Etherton, who worked with cotton for 40 years. With “a lot of crops like wheat, corn (and) soybeans ... everything matures at one time. But a cotton plant continues to produce flowers and squares, and fruit forms, even up to the time of harvest. So you got all these different things going on at once. I think that makes it interesting. Beautiful flower. Beautiful bolls. And I guess it just put a lot of potatoes on my plate over the years.”

In the category of farm machinery and structures, Linda Abbot stood in 1st place for her oil painting “Waiting for Work” and Etherton grabbed 2nd for his pencil drawing “Abandoned Again.” In the water category, Griselda Tello of Madera claimed 1st place for her oil artwork “San Joaquin Irrigation” and Melanie Schow of Sanger followed in 2nd with her beadwork “Organized Precipitation (Irrigation).”

In the category of farm and ranch friends, Kathleen Mattox of Sanger accepted 1st place for her pen and watercolor “Needles in a Haystack” and Linda Abbot of Merced had 2nd for her oil painting “Shade For Grazing.”

“There’s a lot of beautiful art in there,” said James Unti of Unti Farms. “If I had another 15 rooms in my house, I’d take some of it home. It gives me pleasure.”

“I am a farmer’s daughter, I am a farmer myself, I was a farmer’s wife at one time, and I have grandchildren and children that are very much involved in our family farms,” said Diane Kirk. “So I love this show. It’s my favorite show that they do all year long.”

The Madera County Arts Council and an array of patrons from local clubs to farm-related businesses sponsored the reception. Madera South High School students played guitar, and drinks were provided by the local San Joaquin Wine Company and Madera-owned Pine and Palm Brewing in Fresno.

The Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts 2016 exhibition can be seen through Nov. 2 for free at the Circle Gallery, 1653 N. Schnoor Ave., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. All artwork is available for purchase.

For information, visit or call 661-7005.

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