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Interview with Artist Holly Schapker

Ida May and Levi Addison Ault surely knew the allure of the quiet natural space in what would become Ault Park following their gift of the original 142 acre tract of land to the City of Cincinnati in 1911. On May 2nd, the Ault Park Advisory Council (APAC) is proud to offer a showing of artist Holly Schapker’s paintings that capture that natural allure of our beautiful park. Enjoy Holly’s perspective in this short, pre-show interview.– Rudy Siegel, APAC Marketing Committee

Artist Statement:

"Ault Park is a special place for many people. I am one of them. It is a place of meditation and serenity for me. The Seasons are reflected in their purest form in the Park, giving one a feeling of being grounded in and a part of Nature. It is a refuge for people and animals alike, surrounded by bustling suburbs and highways. I know and love just about every square inch of the Park. The paintings are my tribute to Ault Park and all who use and maintain it."

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Bridgetown on the west side of Cincinnati and migrated to Mt. Lookout after Xavier University. While an art student at Xavier, I realized that I was compelled to paint. My philosophy/business plan became "Do what you love. Try to be of service with it and the Universe will support you."

Who or what were your early inspirations?

After college, I  continued my painting education by studying under contemporary painters, Michael Scott, Frank McElwain, and Cole Carothers. Past artists Sargent and Monet continue to inspire me.

How do you work?

My studio is in a renovated 150 year old building in Over-the Rhine. I center myself with a chime. I hit it three times.  The first represents gratitude for my studio, materials, creativity, and support. The second chime represents relinquishment. The third represents gratitude for the future work of that day. Being “present” to my work is my goal. For this show, I painted studies in the Park, used photographs, and impressions that I tried to store in my heart while in the Park and then in my studio.

What drew you to Ault Park as a favorite subject?

I live near the Park and spend a lot of time there. I have enormous gratitude for the Park and the people who keep it so beautiful and those who support it. So, I decided to paint a series of works honoring Ault Park and give a portion of the proceeds to the Ault Park Advisory Council.

What do you take away from your own work?

I see my work as a gift rather than a creation. It is the consequence of my quest for truth and beauty.

What do you recommend for young people inspired to pursue art?

Immerse yourself in what you find beautiful. Art is about seeing without labeling. Never allow your conception of “talent” or “giftedness” to limit your creativity.

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