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Published: Wednesday, 10/22/2008

Salon des Refuses falls victim to lack of interest in organizer

BY TAHREE LANE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Salon des Refuses, for 17 years the exhibit for art rejected by the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, will not be held this year.

The group that has organized the Salon for many years, Spectrum Friends of Fine Art, is languishing. The cottage it rents on the grounds of Toledo Botanical Garden has been shuttered for months and no one has picked up the group s mail, said Janet Schroeder, executive director of the garden. Spectrum has long been a forum for local artists, and its cottage at the garden was a place where members could show their art in group and individual shows.

The Salon des Refuses show was often more edgy and boisterous than the TAA Exhibition held in the museum (the 90th annual show opens there Sunday). In 2007, 48 people entered 76 pieces in the Salon show at the Parkside Gallery at the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo s office across Monroe Street from the museum.

Artists who entered the TAA exhibition were notified by the museum that there would be no Salon show, and another few hundred people on the arts commission s mailing list were also informed.

We are as disappointed that we ve lost a local volunteer arts organization and that the Salon des Refuses show will not take place this year as many of you are, wrote Marc Folk, the commission s executive director, to artists.

By Sept 18, when Folk learned that Spectrum would not organize the show, it was too late to find another group willing to produce it, he said.

Jim Ashley is the somewhat reluctant president of Spectrum.

Some of us have been Spectrum members for a long time and the old guard has gotten older. We tried to recruit young people but nobody took off with it, Ashley said, adding that it hasn t formally disbanded and could be revived by interested volunteers.

The botanical garden is moving forward with its master plan and expects its eight resident organizations who rent space to not only be solvent but involved in the garden s public activities. Some are more active than others, Shroeder said.

We want a more open presence, more demonstrations, more exhibitions, more interactivity with the community, she said. You can t have that when the buildings are closed like little clubhouses that are locked up.

The garden has established criteria for residential organizations in terms of number of members and an emphasis on fine art or horticulture. Performing and dramatic arts would also be considered, she said.

In addition to Spectrum, other resident organizations at the garden include the Toledo Artists Club, Stained Glass Guild of Greater Toledo, Toledo Glass Guild, Toledo Potters Guild, Toledo Photo Arts Club, Toledo Gem and Rockhound Club, and the Garden Club Forum of Toledo. The Blair Museum of Lithophanes is also on site but under the jurisdiction of the City of Toledo.

Contact Tahree Lane at: tlane@theblade.com or 419-724-6075.



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