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Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Wildlife artist Gerald Putt gets nature's stamp of approval in fine art

Gerald Putt calls himself an outdoorsman, growing up in the small, quiet and rural south-central town of Boiling Springs, Cumberland Co. He's also an award-winning wildlife artist and repeated winner in the Pennsylvania Duck Stamp Competition – now for the 10th time with his 2013 entry. Another of his works, featuring German shorthaired pointers, graces the cover of the November issue of Pennsylvania Game News Magazine. Putt will be among the region's fine artists exhibiting this weekend at the 63rd annual Juried Holiday Fine Arts & Craft Festival at Kutztown University's Keystone Hall.

The event, presented by the Reading-Berks chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featured will be hand-crafted traditional and contemporary work ranging from furniture, rugs and folk art to ceramics, glass, jewelry, photography and fine art.

"I'm a product of my environment," said Putt, whose been creating acrylic paintings of wildlife subjects ranging from wigeons to waxwings for more than 30 years. He said what inspired him was "literally having ducks at my front door" because of a neighbor who was a water fowl breeder. A nearby lake also served as a haven for ducks. Putt enrolled in an art correspondence course after high school but said he eventually grew tired of the lessons. "I was a correspondence school dropout," he recalled. "But what I did learn was how to 'see.'"

If it was that innate eye for nature that was stirred, it became evident in his lifelike work of the environment which surrounded him. Ducks, dogs and deer quickly filled his canvases, all done with meticulous brush strokes which captured minute detail in feather and fur.

Images: Gerald Putt's artwork

Putt's deep respect for wildlife and nature has garnered awards in Pennsylvania Duck Stamp Contests. His paintings also have captured top honors for Duck Stamp Contests in Nevada, North Carolina, Illinois and Colorado. He was twice named Artist of the Year in the painting contest for the Ruffed Grouse Society and made Top 20 in Federal Duck Stamp Contests. He's a two-time winner of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's "Working Together for Wildlife" art print contest, and the Pennsylvania Elk fine art print contest.

Putt's art has benefited wildlife habitat improvement projects through the years. He supports conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited, The Wildlands Conservancy, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. He has been in Ducks Unlimited's National Art Package twice and was chosen runner-up for its International Artist of the Year.

Putt exhibited his work at the Kutztown Folk Festival this past summer. He also will be returning to the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, Jan. 5-12, 2013.

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A man, a horse, and a vision revisited. That's what Allentown's Peter C. Dent will share on Nov. 15, at the Baum School, when he reviews the legacy that traces back to 1978. That's when his uncle, Charles C. Dent of Fogelsville, a retired commercial airline pilot, art collector and sculptor, read an article about a 24-foot bronze statue of a horse conceived by Leonardo da Vinci but never completed.

Charles was so motivated to begin to build such a horse statue in his studio as a token of appreciation to the Italian people for the Renaissance. Though he passed away in 1994, and never completed the project, Peter took the reins as president of his uncle's nonprofit organization, Leonardo da Vinci's Horse, Inc. (LDVHI), and saw the project through to completion, with an unveiling in 1999, in Milan, Italy.

Peter's talk will mark the 10-year anniversary of the 12-foot Leonardo da Vinci Horse in Allentown. The Horse was dedicated in October 2002, at the Charles C. Dent Memorial Garden at the Baum School, accompanied by Leonardo's Imagination, a weekend event of art and science activities, exhibits, lectures and performances.

Thursday's event, a buffet dinner from 5 to 8 p.m., is being co-hosted by the da Vinci Science Center in Allentown and the Baum School.

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The 18th annual Hidden Treasures Studio Tour will be held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at  six artists' studios located in Allentown, Bethlehem, Zionsville and Topton. Art will include fibers, glass, jewelry, pottery, wood and other media. Artists will be available at the following locations: 2329 Tilghman St., Allentown; 4500 Hanoverville Road, 3134 Prescott Road, and 526 10th Ave., all in Bethlehem; 6001 Woodview Lane, Zionsville, and 129 N. Cherry St., Topton.

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A tribute will be paid to great American composers Bernstein, Gershwin and Copland this weekend, when Grammy-winning violinist/composer Mark O'Connor and rising young violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins join the Allentown Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in an Americana program. Concerts will be performed Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m., at Allentown Symphony Hall.

Prior to Sunday's concert, the Young Musician's String Festival featuring 80 Lehigh Valley students who participated in master classes with ASO Conductor Diane Wittry will perform themes from the repertoire of ASO's Americana concert at 2 p.m.

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The Allentown Academy of the Arts Alliance is holding its "8x8" original art showcase on Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Baker Center for the Arts at Muhlenberg College.

More than 50 canvases and 3-D works created by the Allentown Academy of the Arts students, teachers, alumni and local artists will be exhibited and sold. All proceeds benefit the Arts Academy located at William Allen High School. Participating artists include Rudy Ackerman, Fran Ackley, Lee Butz, Sandra Corpora, John Gaydos and Jeff Wetherhold.

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Due to the recent storm, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council has rescheduled its "Affordable Art for Everyone" benefit auction to Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, next to L.L. Bean. Thirty regional artists will be represented with works of fine art, paintings, watercolors and sculptures. Previews are Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

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