It may not be spelled out on your calendar yet -- but about half a dozen Tri-State organizations have dubbed 2013 "The year of John Ruthven."
John's an internationally known wildlife artist who's usually compared to James Audubon. The effort to honor John, kicked off today with a unique project to immortalize part of his anatomy.
Rich Jaffe says starting in June, the wall of a building at 8th and Vine is going to be transformed by artworks, into the biggest John Ruthven work of art ever created...a huge artworks mural. A couple hours ago though, a much smaller work of art began taking shape.
Ruthven's hands are magic and for most of his 88 years they have been creating art...now they are becoming art. "I feel like somebody's just gotten me off the shelf and wanting to buy me or something."
At the Neusol Gallery on East McMillan the glass artists are putting their crystal creativity to the test, casting Ruthven's hands holding the nest of an ivory billed woodpecker. John's been chasing the almost extinct bird around for the last few years, trying to catch an image of it, so he can preserve it on canvas.
When the hand casting is done the crystalline creation of the master's hands will be placed in his hands as an award and gift from SPCA Cincinnati. "I think people have a regard for animals through John and through bringing them out in their natural environment... It spreads a kindness and when people are kind to animals they're kind to each other."
The SPCA's award is just the first of many this year for Ruthven. Artworks will turn the empty wall at 8th and Vine into a mural dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Martha,the last passenger pigeon that died at the Cincinnati Zoo. The original painting was requested by the Smithsonian.
Multiple other honors are in the works including one from the Cincinnati Nature Center, a dedication at Spring Grove Cemetery to one of Audubon's right hand men, and a showing at the Cincinnati Museum Center. "It's very gratifying, very humbling and most appreciated and I think I'm a lucky guy to have these accolades and everybody involved in this production is just great."