The Ohio Artists Hall of Fame considers its first inductees.

When leaders at the Columbus Museum of Art began discussing a statewide hall of fame for artists, they were surprised to find none existed. Thus, they decided to make one. Their newly formed pantheon begs a question: Who will be inducted first?

There are criteria, of course. Artists must have strong ties to Ohio and be deceased at least 10 years. So what about Alice Schille (1869–1955), one of the best-known Columbus-born artists in history, renowned for her evocative watercolor landscapes and sensitive portraits?

Museum leaders aren't telling—not yet. The first-ever pair of inductees to the Ohio Artists Hall of Fame will be announced March 3 at An Evening with Art, a biennial museum fundraiser presented by the CMA Women's Board. In the meantime, executive director Nannette Maciejunes only offers hints: One artist will be male, the other female.

“And my other hint is this first year it is going to be Central Ohio-centric,” Maciejunes says.

Hmmm. So Schille is a strong contender. Could the list also include George Bellows? What about James Thurber? Alas, secrecy has been sworn.

Future inductees will be announced at subsequent Evening with Art fundraisers, and Maciejunes anticipates adding one artist per event. They must have lived in Ohio for a major portion of their careers, but birth in the state isn't required—opening the door to potential inductees such as Roy Lichtenstein and Elijah Pierce.

“We won't run out of people,” Maciejunes says, “because there are too many great artists that came out of Ohio.”

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