Image, Hillary Gattian

The essential idea is to have recognized artists produce and exhibit works at Majestic Galleries using paints created with the iron-oxide pigments extracted from acid mine drainage in streams around Athens and southern Perry counties. The three-month exhibition will be a multi-part, multi-partner effort involving Majestic Galleries, True Pigments LLC of Rural Action, and Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council.

Artworks in the exhibition will feature images and objects that significantly employ these paints or pigments that were developed by Rural Action’s social enterprise True Pigments LLC in conjunction with faculty of the Ohio University (OU) Department of Engineering and School of Art. Three colors have been successfully manufactured (orange, red, and purple) from these oxides that retail for $39 per kit (+tax and shipping) from Gamblin Artists Colors of Portland, Oregon. These will be purchased by Majestic Galleries directly from True Pigments LLC, and distributed to approximately 30 professional artists selected by Majestic Galleries’ cooperative members. Most of these artists will have exhibited at Majestic Galleries in the past and/or shown their work in comparable regional or national venues. Displays by Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council, a regional nonprofit promoting low-impact historical tourism, and True Pigments LLC will accompany the exhibition. Individual presentations and/or panel discussions by both organizations will be scheduled monthly on the impacts and history of extractive industries in the Hocking Valley Coal Fields. One event will actually be a tour at the Truetown site where these pigments are manufactured. The exhibition of artworks and related displays and presentations will be up for three months, a diversion from Majestic Galleries’ usual one-exhibition-per month exhibition schedule, in spring 2022 (March 25 – June 19).

Any local resident of Athens and southern Perry county is aware of the multiple orange-colored streams that course through the landscape, the resulting impact of decades of coal mining here in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries. The nonprofit community development organization Rural Action has been actively cleaning up Monday, Sunday, and Federal Creeks through various methods, also for decades. A major intent of the exhibition is to highlight the efforts of its social enterprise, The Arts in Acid Mine Drainage Invitational will demonstrate what great artworks can be made from the “greening” of the art supply industry.

Artists invited to participate in the exhibition will have the challenge of working with the colors, whether the oil paints or pigments using their own preferred medium, since these are naturally derived and darker than that to which they may be accustomed. Artists may wish to reflect on the local source of these new products and interpret based on coal mining or environmental restoration themes, but that is not mandated. Majestic Galleries will require only that a significant portion of their artwork employ the paints or pigments and that the work be of highest quality. Our desire is that artists freely create with content and form in any way they desire.

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  past exhibitions