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Arts Beacon of Light Exhibition

The Ohio Arts Council’s (OAC) Riffe Gallery recently opened its latest exhibition, Arts Beacon of Light, curated by Ohio Arts Council Communications Strategist Katie Monahan. The exhibition was made possible thanks to Ohio Arts Council Board Member and Second Lady of Ohio Tina Husted’s vision and inspiration for the Ohio Arts Beacon initiative. Launched in April 2020, the initiative provided artists with an online platform to share their work, connect with one another, and heal through artistic practice.  

Arts Beacon of Light features the work of 17 Ohio artists from across the state who submitted to the Arts Beacon platform. Their experiences, voices, and identities ring throughout the gallery, begging for your attention. When you walk through the door, you are instantly confronted by a large-scale, mixed-media piece by Tom Megalis, One Eye Blind. The dynamic textures and rich pastels are more than just visually engaging—One Eye Blind also represents Tom’s troubling experience with a medical emergency involving his vision. Unable to access treatment amidst the pandemic, he quickly became at risk of losing sight in one of his eyes, one of an artist’s most valuable assets. 

One Eye Blind

"One Eye Blind" 2022, by Tom Magalis


The process of losing something ties into the themes of grief present in Lori Esposito’s work. Her evaporation walking vessels result from meditative “evaporation walks” she takes to slow her breath, focus, and escape reality. The inks lying on the surface could easily be washed away, but she chooses to let them survive. The dichotomy between their fragility and resilience left me mystified when I first saw them up close. 

"Blue Evaporation Walking Bowl" 2021, by Lori Esposito

I am obsessed with Chris Zenger’s piece, Bombardment. I was instantly pulled into the seductive, rich tones of red petals swarming against the deep black background. The edge-to-edge illusion of motion makes this piece truly hypnotic. As a photographer and photo admirer, what strikes me most about this work is the precision and tenacity it took to place each petal in the composition, making the entire image breathe as if it were alive.  

"Bombardment" 2020, by Chris Zenger

Artist Terri Kern creates ceramic pieces that you must see in person. Each small vessel is packed with symbolism and rich details a photograph can’t quite capture. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak about how her practice has evolved throughout the years. Her four pieces in the exhibition perfectly illustrate the level of craftsmanship that can be born from persistence and an open mind. 

"The Dragon Within" 2019, by Terri Kern

The Arts Beacon of Light exhibition, curated by Katie Monahan, is on view at the OAC Riffe Gallery through April 7, 2023. Find more information about upcoming gallery programming. You can also visit the gallery Tuesday-Friday, 12-5 p.m. 

Article by Anya Nelson, 2022-23 OAC Riffe Gallery Marketing and Exhibitions Fellow

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