Best in show pet portrait competition

During the summer, students, faculty and members of the Waynesburg community were preparing for their artwork to be displayed in the “Best in Show: Pet Portraits” art show. On Sept. 19, the show held its opening reception, and it will be open until Oct. 14, according to the Waynesburg University website events page.

According to gallery director Emily Wiedner, this show is an open call.

This means it, “has a set theme and allows artists to voluntarily submit work to a gallery,” Wiedner said. 

Wiedner was responsible for putting the show together and selecting what would be in the show from what was sent in.

Wiedner knew that many people, including herself, “got new pets or were spending a lot of time with their pets” during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

 Because recent shows in the Art Gallery have had serious themes, she, “wanted to do something a little more lighthearted and fun.” Hence, the pets theme.

Maggie Denniston, Waynesburg University alumni and previous art major,  selected the award winners for the show. Kaitlin Leadbitter, a sophomore art major,  won first place for her painting.

Leadbitter is very involved in the Fine Arts Department. She is currently taking classes  and doing a work study within the department. She had been, “wanting to paint something over the summer,” and this show gave her a reason to do so.

The pets featured in her art are her dogs, Winnie and Bear. They are siblings who came from the same litter. 

“I was really surprised at how well I was able to do the perspective because I’m not very good at perspective,” Leadbitter said. She feels proud to be part of this show because she spent time outside of class creating her artwork, and she, “put in a little more effort.”

Juniors Julia Gillum and Rachel Redinger also have pieces on display. Their artwork is different from what is traditionally thought of as art. They are both photographers. 

“I like the way that [my photography] makes me feel and makes other people feel when they see it,” Gillum said. “It’s not just like, ‘look, there it is.’ It brings a feeling.”

All of Redinger’s pieces in the show feature pets that belong to other people.

“I just love other people’s pets!” She does not have a pet of her own. “It was so fun! It was so adorable to see everyone’s pets,” Redinger said.

The next art show will feature Katherine Lee, a painter, as a guest artist. That show will be held at the end of October, according to Wiedner..

 Identity is a common theme throughout Lee’s work.

“It’s just really nice to be able to have people here again,” Wiedner said. “It’s been nicer just to be back working with the community again and seeing people.”

Editor’s note (Oct. 10, 2022): this story was updated to correct an editing error.