Turning a lens on seasons

Chesterton exhibit focuses on Duneland Photograph­y Club

- By Philip Potempa

The pandemic-mandated shelter-in-place weeks of last year inspired an artistic approach to and appreciati­on of everyday rewards, Chesterton Art Gallery President Wendy Marciniak surmises.

“There were so many more people during this time who made the most of getting outside for a walk, be it in their neighborho­od or to a park or any open space, and usually with camera cellphone in hand,” Marciniak said.

“It’s when you’re out and about, and not expecting it, that you can capture some incredible moments.”

The “incredible moments” Marciniak describes from the past 11 months are the images submitted by 30 of the 90 members of the Duneland Photograph­y Club for a new exhibit titled Seasons Change and So Did I showcased March 6 to March 31 at Chesterton Art Center.

“The title of the show gives an interpreta­tion of the theme of how our seasons change with nature, and so do we,” Marciniak said.

“The photos in the exhibit display the beauty of winter, spring, summer and fall, with change featured in each either literally or metaphoric­ally. We decided on the title and theme of the show taken from the song ‘No Time’ by The Guess Who, which includes the lyric ‘Seasons change and so did I,’ words which capture so much of the experience of this past year.”

Marciniak, who has been president of the Chesterton Art Center for seven years, said her staff “quietly acknowledg­ed” the gallery’s 60-year milestone in November, after having been closed until July, when the slow reopening process began.

“We’ve been hosting monthly exhibits since our reopening, but this new photo exhibit is one of the larger and more comprehens­ive offerings,” Marciniak said.

“Most of last year, including our summer camps and student classes, were hosted as virtual courses.”

She said masks must be worn to attend the free indoor exhibit and social distancing observed while strolling the gallery rooms in the space located at 115 S. 4th St. in Chesterton.

Duneland Photograph­y Club President Steve Bensing said the exhibit is a blend of both “emerging and establishe­d” photograph­ers with the show’s content intended to depict optimism for all as global society “moves on from difficult times to better days ahead.”

“Our Duneland Photograph­y Club has been around in its present form for about 10 years,” Bensing said.

“In spite of the challenges of 2020, we have continued to grow our membership. We are excited

to have a mix of members as a part of this exhibit. Some are seasoned artists, and others are brand new to the process of exhibiting their work and they are extra excited to share their talent.”

Bensing said his organizati­on had to become more creative in the past year with altered arrangemen­ts and additional planning and accommodat­ions, including hosting both outdoor meetings and Zoom virtual gatherings as well as focusing members’ attention to more outdoor photo shoots.

“Our mission has always been to provide instructio­n and mentoring for photo enthusiast­s at all levels,” Bensing said.

“More recently, in addition to interactin­g online, we are planning to meet in-person at least once each month for activities.”

He said the group usually plans meetings just outside Valparaiso at the Sunset Hill Farm County Park in the Horton Family Education

Center on the second Tuesday of each month.

Bensing said the Seasons Change and So Did I exhibit includes nearly 90 photo works ranging from landscapes, insects and animals to closely focused

themes of objects and flowers, all framed by interestin­g compositio­ns and perspectiv­es.

“We describe ourselves as a ‘teaching club,’ and we are here to provide help and encouragem­ent to anyone with an interest,” Bensing said.

Marciniak worked with Bensing in recent months to plan new and innovative art class programmin­g at Chesterton Art Center offering beginner and advanced courses in cellphone photograph­y.

“One of the many wonderful aspects of being part of the Duneland Photograph­y Club is that Steve and the members make photograph­y a very approachab­le art form,” Marciniak said.

 ?? CHESTERTON ART CENTER ?? “Rainbow on Trail” by photograph­er Ron Seman is featured in the March exhibit Seasons Change and So Did I at Chesterton Art Center.
CHESTERTON ART CENTER “Rainbow on Trail” by photograph­er Ron Seman is featured in the March exhibit Seasons Change and So Did I at Chesterton Art Center.

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