Dawes Arboretum hosts two art exhibits: Sala Bosworth, Lyman Whitaker

NEWARK — Two unique exhibits, vastly different from each other, can be seen indoors and outdoors at Dawes Arboretum, the nonprofit “museum of the living tree” of nearly 2,000 acres about 35 miles east of Columbus.

Inside, in the arboretum’s small history center, is a collection of paintings – oils and watercolors – by Sala Bosworth, a 19th-century Ohio painter with family ties to the Dawes family, founder of the arboretum.

Outside, 60 kinetic wind sculptures were created by Utah artist Lyman Whitaker. These graceful metal structures that make use of the breezes are set along the paved Parkwoods Trail, making for a pleasant walk of discovery less than a mile long.

Dawes Arboretum was founded in 1929 by Bertie and Beman Dawes whose uncle, Ephraim Dawes, was married to Frances Bosworth, daughter of painter Sala Bosworth. The paintings in the exhibit were all part of the Dawes family collection.

Sala Bosworth, born in 1805 in Massachusetts, moved to Marietta in 1816 and became best known as an artist for his portraits of distinguished Ohioans. He married the daughter of one of his subjects, the merchant Charles Shipman of Athens. Another of his subjects was Judge Ephraim Cutler, whose home along the Ohio River also caught the eye of the painter who captured it in one of the finest paintings in the exhibit. “Ephraim Cutler’s House” was featured in David McCullough’s book “The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the Ideal American West,” which prompted Dawes Arboretum historian Leslie Wagner to create the exhibition.

Bosworth, Wagner said, “definitely has a place in early Ohio art. This is the first real dive into his art, and focuses specifically on his relationship with the Dawes family.

Bosworth’s portraits are elegant depictions of members of the upper class, and his landscapes, including “River Landscape” and “Fishing Scene”, capture serene rural and wooded areas of early Ohio.

Later in life, when Bosworth did not derive his main income from painting, he served as Washington County Auditor and first postmaster of Marietta, appointed by President Abraham Lincoln. He continued to paint, probably more for pleasure than profit, and turned to the medium of watercolour. The many examples of his watercolor landscapes in this exhibition are subtle and well-crafted.

The Bosworth exhibition – which offers both audio tours and a Braille guide – will run until October 31.

Viewers have nearly the same amount of time to see Whitaker’s wind sculptures, extended due to their popularity until October 17.

The sculptures, in copper or stainless steel, stand upright, often in groups of two or three. A sculpture combines forms resembling pine trees whose leaves turn slowly in the wind. The largest group of sculptures – at least a dozen of them – can be found near the visitor center, not far from the entrance to the arboretum.

Some sculptures seem to undulate like double helices. Others spin, picking up reflections on their rotating oval blades. All are fascinating and soothing to watch.

Starting June 5, new artwork will join Whitaker’s works along the Parkwoods Trail. “The Ribbit Exhibit” of 24 larger-than-life copper frogs, created by North Carolina artist Andy Cobb, will cohabit with the wind sculptures.


In one look

“Ohio Artist Sala Bosworth: The Dawes Family Collection” continues through October 31 and “The Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculpture Exhibition” continues through October 17 at Dawes Arboretum, 7770 Jacksontown Road, near Newark. Arboretum hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (8 a.m. open for members) with the Bosworth Exhibit open noon to 3 p.m. daily. Admission to the Arboretum is $10, or $5 for children ages 5-15 and free for children 4 and under and members. Call 1-800-443-2937, 740-323-2355 or visit www.dawesarb.org.

William E. Bennett