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Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Exhibition
Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Exhibition

Mon, Mar 04



Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Exhibition

Each March, the Oconomowoc Junior Woman's Club celebrate Youth Art Month in a unique and special way! Through the GFWC Community Service Program, our local club sponsors and organizes the annual Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Contest for 7th and 8th grace, public, private, and homeschooled students!

Time & Location

Mar 04, 2024, 9:00 AM – Mar 31, 2024, 5:00 PM

Oconomowoc, 200 W South St, Oconomowoc, WI 53066, USA

About the Event

Every March, the GFWC-WI Oconomowoc Junior Woman’s Club looks forward to celebrating Youth Art Month in a unique and special way. Through the GFWC Community Service Program, our local club along with several others throughout Wisconsin, sponsor and organize the annual Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Contest for 7th & 8th grade public, private and homeschool students each Spring.

Born in 1872, Helen Farnsworth Mears was a Wisconsin artist, and at an early age her creative abilities were apparent. With innate artistic talent as a young girl, she began creating sculptural portraits of local residents, and by the age of twenty she was honored with a commission to sculpt a marble statue which now stands at the Wisconsin State Capitol. With this new recognition, Helen was able to study art in the Midwest, New York, as well as in France & Italy, and to continue her sculptural commissions throughout her career. As an accomplished artist, her work is in the collections at the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Public Library and in the U.S. Capitol. Helen Farnsworth Mears passed away at the age of 44. Eleven years after her death, the GFWC-WI Women’s Club inaugurated this juried art contest to honor the memory of this great Oshkosh born female sculptor, to encourage artistic talent and to recognize the achievement of student artists. Nearly 100 years later, her legacy and this art contest remain strong throughout the state of Wisconsin.

This unique art contest begins at the local club level when teachers from area schools select 7th & 8thgrade student artwork to be a part of the art exhibition and contest. We, in Oconomowoc are so thankful to have such wonderful school teachers who go above and beyond to support their students and this art contest each year. There are two class distinctions for the contest: Class A – schools with an art instructor and Class B – schools without an art instructor. These two classes do not compete against each other, yet their artwork is combined as a whole for the exhibition. We are fortunate and grateful to have our local Oconomowoc Public Library support our club’s Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Contest by hosting the exhibition each year in March during Youth Art Month. Our contest is judged at the beginning of the exhibition, and community interaction is encouraged as well, with the People’s Choice Award which is voted on by the public. The entire body of artwork remains on exhibit at the library for a duration of three to four weeks. First, Second, Third place, as well as Honorable Mention ribbons and accompanying monetary awards are given to each class distinction, and in each media distinction: 2D & 3D. Student artwork that receives 1st, 2nd or 3rd place honors moves on to the district level contest which takes place during our annual Spring GFWC-WI District Meeting. First through third place winners of this contest level advance again to the state judging, which occurs at the GFWC-WI Annual State Convention held in May. The top winning artworks at the state contest receive further recognition by being included in the Helen Farnsworth Mears Art Contest Summer Exhibition at the Oshkosh Public Museum, located in the city where Helen was born.

Each year, our club members and our community marvel at the talents of the young artists that participate in this event. It is our hope that by showcasing their talents and hard work, it will highlight their unique voice of self-expression, create a valuable sense of accomplishment and an opportunity for these young artists to shine bright. Strong attention to detail, colorful creativity and craftmanship are artistic elements that are executed in a highly skilled and whimsical manner each year. Originality, expressiveness and imaginativeness in all media and form take center stage, including powerful messaging and meaning behind the artwork.

The effort and passion to create is evident within our community of young artists, and the GFWC-WI Oconomowoc Junior Woman’s Club hopes that by providing this artistic opportunity annually, it will encourage, reward and inspire students to express themselves creatively for many years to come. For more information on the artist, Helen Farnsworth Mears and this beloved art contest, please visit Helen Farnsworth Mears — GFWC Wisconsin (

Hours for: Oconomowoc Public Library

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm

Friday, Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Sunday 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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