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Planes, trains, automobiles featured at new art show

Tom Butters, left, and Terry Hreno have a good time discussing Butters’ painting of “Mario” and “Monza” that will be in the Whitewater Valley Arts Association exhibit, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It opens Friday evening.

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

Connersville has a rich history of automobile manufacturing. Several railroads at one time served the city. And the airport has the longest runway and the area’s only instrument landing system.

With all that, the Whitewater Valley Arts Association is celebrating transportation with its new show, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. An opening reception is from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Arts Association gallery, 402 Central Ave.

Because of the celebration of transportation, the Arts Association is hosting a small vintage car show on 4th Street from Central Avenue to the alley at the Canal House Friday evening.

Retired art teacher and association member Hreno said Marshal Miller will have his 1951 Studebaker, a 1932 Ford hot rod, one of Bill Rockwell’s Buicks and a vintage race car from Jim Robinson’s collection.

When discussing ideas for this month’s exhibit, members kicked around ideas for the title, he said. Thoughts centered on trains but the group chose to feature all three modes of transportation.

Hreno did a solo show in June 2016 titled “I’ve been working on the railroad,” that featured his collection of railroad paintings, many of the Whitewater Valley Railroad, of which he is also a member.

He brought that collection Tuesday to the Smith Building gallery but will take some of those home to leave room for other works.

Around town, his works can be seen on the sides of buildings as he is also a mural painter.

Knowing that Hagerstown-area artist Butters had painted automobiles, including many race cars, the association invited him to show as well.

Several other have contributed works so the show is Butters, Hreno and Friends.

One of Butters’ paintings shows a front-engine Formula One car going through a turn heading to a tunnel, indicating the scene is from the early 1950s.

“It is Monaco,” Butters said of one painting. “It doesn’t look like that anymore.”

Growing up in South Bend, Butters took classes at the local art association and went to college to study art but never painted. He became an ad man for Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Pirelli and others.

He also got involved in club racing, creating a life-long interest in things that go fast, he said.

“I took a lot of pictures myself, the one of Mario I took and that Jaguar is our car,” he said. “I didn’t start painting until 2007. Mary Ann (wife) dragged me off to a workshop and said I had to go.”

Hreno added that serious painting had not been a part of his life until about 2001. As a teacher, he just didn’t do it.

Both artists have received Best of Show at the Richmond Art Museum exhibition and other honors for their works.

Several members and residents have submitted photographs and other works to add to the show. Cambridge City artist Larry Sturgis, who had a solo show in March, has submitted photographs along with member Tracy Burns.

The opening reception is Friday from 6-8 p.m. at 402 Central Ave. The exhibit will remain up through the first week of July when the the annual members show is opened July 13.

The public is invited to see the artwork and the real thing.

Saturday at 2 p.m., Hreno and Butters will show the process of painting by taking a blank canvas and going through the steps to a complete work.