by Jody Kuchar for Lakeshore Artists Guild
When the key members of Lakeshore Artist Guild began the structure for Art Slam as an event, it was quickly decided that to attract artists from outside the immediate area, there needed to be incentive, or motivation to participate by artists other than guild members. The committee quickly approved a jury of three who would decide the recipients of two cash prizes as awards. Those prizes will be given by Artists, Educators, and Community Advocates for the arts. The awards are named in honor of accomplished artists who are widely known, but stayed here in the Manitowoc – Two Rivers area where their work enriched our community. In addition to the cash prizes, the Prize Givers will be personally adding their own gift/award.
For the 2018 Inaugural Art Slam, the Prizes will be awarded by Barbara Bundy-Jost, Jeanne Mease, representing the Lester Bentley committee of the Two Rivers Historical Society and, Ron Stokes.
Ron Stokes has been a working artist for much of his adult life. Ron received his BS and MS degrees in Art Education from UW Milwaukee. He taught in Milwaukee schools and Manitowoc School district for 32 years. Until Ron retired in 1990, he was art supervisor in the Manitowoc schools. Mr Stokes helped the art department move into the computer era, disciplined based art education, and developed an award winning March/Youth Art Month Program which continues today. Mr Stokes was a John Hays Fellow (alternate) and a member of the J Paul Getty DBAE Process Group. He was also the president of the Wisconsin Art Education Association. Through 1970 he was the Director of a federally funded ESEA program, Art A Primary Source to enrich social studies. Mr Stokes has been associated with Rahr West Art Museum association and was on their board of directors. Since he retired, Ron has operated Gallery East and has been associated with NASCO International developing products. Ron also supervises interns and student teachers for UWGB and UW-Plattville. Ron also is cultural arts judge for the Wisconsin department of agriculture, where he judges arts and crafts and antiques.
Ron Stokes is a member of the Wisconsin Watercolor Society, Green Bay Watercolor Guild, Wisconsin and National Education Association, Wisconsin Education Association, and the Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art. In 2009, Ron was awarded the Wesley Teply Community Service Award in the Arts.
Ron is married to Maureen “Dolly,” who, along with Ron, founded Courthouse Square Art Show, which was sponsored by the ‘Little Gallery’ group of artists, who met at the Rahr West Museum. Among the members of Little Gallery was beginning art collector, Ruth West. The Courthouse Square Art Show was an annual event for 14 years.
Ron is an avid watercolor painter and occasionally teaches introductory watercolor for UW Outreach in Northeast Wisconsin. His work focuses on the experimental side of the medium – seeing what can be done with the material. He has a love of large Wisconsin land and seascapes featuring dramatic skies and warm lights. Ron says; “There is nothing you can’t do with the watercolor medium.”
You can see Ron’s work at Gallery East, 930 South 7th Street, which is open Thursdays from noon until 8PM, and Fridays and Saturdays from 10am through 4pm. Gallery East is proud of the hundreds of art object that have been placed in homes and business establishments here, nationally and even internationally. Many visits are by appointment and are very welcome. Contact Gallery East 920.684.8226.
Born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, Lester Bentley decided he wanted to be an artist at an early age. His first exhibit was at the Manitowoc county fair. The thirteen-year-old eighth grade student, earned two firsts and two seconds in competition with professional artists.
While working as a sign painter, he was urged to apply for a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago by the Two Rivers High School art teacher, Bonnie (Nahrath) Zuehl. His talent was recognized, he was awarded the scholarship and continued to receive it for four years including the first ever for post graduate work.
His travels took him to Haiti, Florida, Georgia and Mexico where he learned the egg tempera technique. During the summers of 1933-1934 he taught art at Two Rivers and Manitowoc Vocational Schools and completed murals for Sacred Heart Church in Two Rivers. In 1935 he worked for the WPA’s Federal Arts Project and in 1942 competed for the commission to paint murals for the new DePere (WI) Post Office. The subject was to be the burning of the St. Francis Xavier mission in 1687. He painted three pieces as a triptych; the first is of Father Claude Allouez blessing a corn field, one is a settler carrying a dying convert out of the fire, and the third of Nicholas Perrot paddling a canoe in the Fox River. These are now displayed at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay.
During World War II, Chief Petty Officer Bentley produced art as his service in the U.S. Coast Guard. His most famous works of this time were his recruitment posters. His original SPARS, a woman in the U.S. Coast Guard, is currently displayed at the Washington House Museum in Two Rivers, WI. He also painted portraits of military officers until his discharge in 1946. After the war he stayed in White Plains, New York where he met and married Constance Lolien. They eventually moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, buying a home and a studio in 1953 and returning to his summer studio in Two Rivers.
Eventually specializing in portraiture, Bentley worked for Portraits Incorporated in New York and did private commissions. Among his subjects were: President Dwight D. Eisenhower (the Two Rivers collection includes one of the two that were painted), U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William O. Douglas, four Wisconsin Governors and University of Wisconsin president Conrad Elvehjem. His portraits and paintings are said to be represented in over 300 private and public collections though this number continues to grow as more pieces are discovered. Bentley was also an accomplished lithographer and an art teacher.
Bentley has been represented in many important shows such as the Carnegie, the San Francisco, Chicago and New York World’s Fairs, American Annual and Chicago show at the Art Institute of Chicago and his work was displayed at the National Gallery in London and the Kremlin in Moscow.
Easiest for public viewing, is the collection at the Lester Public Library made available by the Two Rivers Historical Society. Bentley’s work can also be found in the permanent collections of Columbia University; and, in these Wisconsin museums: the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin State Historical Society and Chazen Museum of Art, UW Madison, and, the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay, and, Rahr West Art Museum in Manitowoc. More of his otherwise unknown paintings continue to emerge. To view some of Lester Bentley’s work online, follow these links:
Barbara Bundy-Jost was born during the Barbie Doll era and named the same by her pediatrician, Barbara Bundy-Jost denies modeling her life after the plastic icon. Although she is immediately mesmerized by women’s accessories, (particularly handbags and shoes) and she does hold a fascination for 50’s/ 60’s fashion and guys with 3-letter names like Ken or Jim, she flatly denies Barbie’s influence on her life.
Barb has spent the better part of her life working for the Manitowoc Public School District as an art teacher, a 21st Century Communications team teacher, an International Baccalaureate Coordinator and Visual Art Teacher and CAS (Creative, Action and Service) Coordinator. Her days are filled with activities that inspire community youth to create, contribute and value the world in which they live. As an active community member who is devoted to the arts, Barb supports and continues to develop initiatives like Sputnikfest, Chairs for Charity, Community Art Exhibits, The Art Doctor, Stage Door Pub Summer Theatre, the HFM Maritime Marathon, Evergleams on Eighth, and the development of Traditional and Digital Art Programming through public education curriculum. Barb is the 2013 recipient of the Wesley Teply Community Service Award in the Arts; a service award established in 1999 by the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble Association to recognize people who substantially contribute to the arts in the greater Manitowoc area.
Barb also serves on the library’s board of directors, is Community Service Coordinator at Lincoln and constantly tries to figure out how to be retired! Because of her love of art and her belief in the power of art to make you smart, Barb celebrates the work of all Artists and works diligently promoting art programming and activities for all ages.