My Town Monday: Arts and Letters, with a Leap Year Twist


Ann Bain (center, wearing red) at the "Exuberance" show opening celebration

She paints, she draws, she letters, she sculpts, she stamps. Local artist Ann Bain has been doing it all for six decades, and she’s celebrating her twentieth birthday this week.

Ann is my brother’s mother-in-law, and her birthday is this coming Wednesday, February 29th. To celebrate, she teamed up with several artist friends for “Exuberance,” a gallery showing and opening party at The Cannery Art and Design Center in downtown Dayton. And “Exuberance” is the perfect name for the event: Ann might have been on the earth for eighty years, but she has the energy and enthusiasm of a twenty-year-old! The name of the showing pays homage to poet William Blake, and reads in full as “Exuberance is Beauty — Energy is Eternal Delight.” The Dayton Daily News had a wonderful article about the exhibit and party in Saturday’s issue.

Ann's work adorns the walls at the Cannery Art & Design Center

A Pittsburgh native, Ann’s early artistic career included a stint in Alcoa’s commercial art department. That was over fifty years ago, and she still keeps in touch with her boss, who sends her birthday cards that are works of art in and of themselves. When she spoke to her guests and thanked everyone for coming, she brought out this year’s card, an 8-1/2″ x 11″,  multi-panel fold-out that contained drawings and photos of Ann with some comical modifications and commentary.

Ann paints in a variety of media – and on a variety of surfaces. One work features calligraphy in an outline style, on sheer fabric, hung over a colorful painting. She has handmade books, and sculptures (usually covered in handmade paper and painted with lettering).

Some of Ann's work - Metamorphosis Wheel is the tall, cylindrical piece, center right

Some of her work is normally displayed in her home studio. Metamorphosis Wheel, a piece I hadn’t seen before, was particularly intriguing. Some of her work was exhibited at the Schuster Center last year when the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Wright State University’s choir performed Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. Several of her pieces, originally inspired by the Mass, were featured in the full color program as well.

Guests were invited to sign Ann's card, held by her cardboard likeness

The “Exuberance” exhibit will be on display at the Cannery Art and Design Center at 434 East Third St. through March. Ann’s work is also featured on an ongoing basis at the Village Artisans gallery in nearby Yellow Springs, and she accepts calligraphy commissions through The Mulberry Tree in Oakwood.

Ann’s website is at, which I designed and set up for her as a gift several years ago. It’s one of the more fun projects I’ve done as a web designer!

So if you’re in the area, consider stopping by the Cannery Art & Design Center, and check out Ann’s work! A lot of beautiful and fascinating artwork by the gallery’s resident artists is also on display. The gallery will soon move around the corner to a new home at 45 St. Clair St., and I’ll definitely return for another visit (and another blog entry)!

Do you have a favorite hometown artist and/or gallery? I’d love to hear from you! Give me some ideas on where’s a great place to experience art in your hometown!

Check out other fun facts and sights at the My Town Monday blog.

13 Responses to \

  1. We have the VA museum of fine arts, but I also love going to local restaurants that feature local artists in their decor.
    Once during a vacation in Florida we went to a restaurant–I think Cafe Tu Tu Tango and they had a really fun display of local artists all over the place. Oh and I remember graffiti was allowed in the bathrooms!
    Gives new meaning to creative license!

  2. Coleen – I love stuff like the restaurant you describe! And being able to do graffiti? Cool! This place had stuff painted all over the bathroom walls – I took a couple pictures of it, but figured I’d save them for another blog. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Fun post, Jennette! Roy was a painter for years and showed his work in NYC, Philadelphia and London, so I really love to look at art. Ann’s paintings are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks, Alicia! I don’t think Ann has made it to anywhere as prestigious as your husband, but I’m not sure. I do know my crappy photography does not do her work justice. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Jennette, that is so cool! I totally forgot it was leap year. Oh for cryin out loud. I’ve read too many blogs Jen! LOL! Wouldn’t that be something to be born on the 29th? Wow. And to be so talented and get around like a youngster. And you set up her website. You are awesome Jen! There is always something happening in your town. Love Mondays for that reason! Thanks Jennette! 🙂

  6. Karen, Ann is awesome! So cool to have her in the family. And thanks for your kind words about MTM! I always learn something while writing them. 🙂

    Pat – Ann is definitely exuberant! She loves creating, and sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. What a talented lady, and what a cool way for her to celebrate her “20” birthday:). I’ve never known of anyone to have a bd on the 29th, but I’ve always wondered if they felt a little cheated not being able to celebrate it on the exact day but once every 4 years. BTW, thanks for reading my novel!

  8. I read your title and I was thinking. “What?” But I totally get it now. I also forgot (temporarily) that it was leap year. My (ex)girlfriend’s mother’s birthday falls on the same day. I can’t imagine what that would be like. Crazy! I do have a favorite little art gallery, but it’s not in my hometown. It’s in my mom’s. She is often the featured artist and the first Friday of every month they have a meet and greet where they have drinks and treat and everyone gets together to schmooze with the artists. Fun in the small town.

  9. Maria – Ann did feel cheated when she was a kid! She didn’t even get much of a party during the off years. Of course it was during the depression and no one had much money for that anyway – but her parents made up for it. When she had a real birthday, they went all out!

    Debra – LOL! Ann loves to tell people that for that reason! I need to go back to your blog and check out your mom’s artwork. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Hi Jennette ! Love that Meta-wheel.
    My late father was a painter for 40 years, and I decided to preserve his atelier (room in my flat) as a very nice place to chill and unwind.

  11. Vladimir, that’s wonderful for you to keep his work in his memory! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  12. Pingback: My Town Monday: De-stressing in a Place with History | Jennette Marie Powell