Artists aim for exposureThe Mitchell Area Arts Council Member Show, which is now open through Jan. 20 in the rotating gallery at the Dakota Discovery Museum.
By: Candy DenOuden, The Daily Republic
It’s not easy for artists to get started these days. Just ask Bill Wegleitner, owner of the recently opened Wegleitner Fine Art studio on East Havens.
“We have to beat our own path, find our own way,” he said. In the past, Wegleitner said things like conservation stamps, which featured artwork, helped not only with conservation but to provide exposure for artists.
But, he said most states don’t feature artwork on conservation stamps anymore, giving artists one less way to get their work in front of people. There are still options, though. One of the ways Wegleitner hopes to gain some exposure for his oil-based paintings is with the Mitchell Area Arts Council Member Show, which is now open through Jan. 20 in the rotating gallery at the Dakota Discovery Museum.
Lelia Guilbert, coordinator of the show, said there will be an artists’ reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the gallery.
Guilbert said for this show, artists needed to be members of the Mitchell Area Arts Council. The show will include works from 16 area artists, including Wegleitner.
“It’s a very nicely balanced show,” Guilbert said. “I’m very pleased with the way it works, and how the show came together. And I think the public will be pleased, too.”
She said most of the artists with works featured in the show should be at the reception.
“Artists like to share their work, and a good way to share their work is by putting their work in a gallery setting for the public to come and view,” Guilbert said.
Wegleitner agreed, saying local venues are increasingly important for up-and-coming artists who don’t have all of the same opportunities as their predecessors.
That’s part of the reason the 46-year-old self-taught artist decided to open his own gallery in Mitchell.
“It’s a base, it’s a way to get exposure,” he said.
Wegleitner said he was born in South Dakota, then spent most of his childhood and early adulthood in North Dakota. He and his wife moved back to the area in the 1990s, and now live on an acreage near Alexandria.
“But I claim both the Dakotas as my home,” Wegleitner said.
He said he began painting 2 ½ to 3 years ago, in addition to running his business, Enclose Manufacturing Inc., but has had a love for art and music since he was very young.
“It’s kind of amazing how things come full circle,” he said.
Though Wegleitner said he loves creating images of wildlife, that’s not all he traffics in; he also has landscape paintings, and currently is working on a Christmas scene.
“I don’t want to say I’m just a wildlife artist,” he said.
As he continues to hone his craft, Wegleitner said he is “tickled to death” to travel in January to Montrose, Colo., to paint with South Dakota native Dan Deuter.
“He is a true cowboy artist,” Wegleitner said.
In the meantime, though, Wegleitner said he hopes people will attend, and enjoy, the art show at the Dakota Discovery Museum.
“It brings awareness that art is still alive in South Dakota,” he said. “We should cherish it.”