RTPI To Host Artist Program, Reception For Art Exhibit

One of the largest art exhibits ever hosted by the Roger Tory Peterson Institute will also feature a demonstration by one of the artists who contributed to the display.

Cole Johnson, an award-winning and nationally renowned artist from Upstate New York, will attend a special public reception and program held at the institute Friday from 5-7:30 p.m.

The exhibit, entitled “Environmental Impact,” features a variety of art pieces depicting several ways in which mankind has influenced nature. According to Mark Baldwin, education and exhibits director, the exhibit is unique to those held by the institute in years past.

“This exhibition really is different from others that we’ve done, many of which have been one-person shows,” Baldwin said. “In this case, we have many artists who explored the theme of human impact on the environment. It is one of the biggest exhibitions we have ever put together, and all of the pieces have quite obvious and blatant messages.”

An avid outdoorsman, Johnson’s favorite activities – aside from creating art – include hunting, fishing and spending time in the woods. In participating in these hobbies, he has inevitably happened upon prime examples of the negative impact man has had on his environment. Johnson’s piece consists of a charcoal drawing depicting a raptor, or a bird of prey, which has been electrocuted by and is subsequently hanging from a power line.

Baldwin said he invited Johnson to swing by the institute in person because of his prowess with creating charcoal drawings.

“(Johnson is) one of the world’s top graphite artists,” Baldwin said. “His work is monochromatic, and these large works he produces are made from powdered graphite.”

Baldwin said he asked Johnson to come to the institute and do a demonstration on the process of creating his artwork.

“We called Cole, and he graciously agreed to come here to the institute and do a program for us,” he said. “There will be an opportunity for people to walk around and see all of the pieces in the exhibit, and Cole is going to be doing a program that will focus on his own approach to making art – which will include some demonstrations.”

eatures work from 32 separate artists. It opened at Roger Tory Peterson Institute in late May, and will remain on display through July 6. Baldwin said visitors to the exhibit will be left with much to consider.

“People will leave impressed with not only the world-class quality of the artwork itself, but with the sense of the theme and urgency in taking better care of the earth,” he said.

Refreshments and an opportunity to meet with Johnson will take place at 5 p.m., and the artist program will be at 6:15 p.m.