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John Taylor-Lehman and Diane Belfiglio next to their artwork on view in the Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Governor's Residence exhibition

North Canton, Zanesville Artists’ Work on Exhibit at Governor’s Residence January – March 2018

From florals brought to life with oil pastels to animal sculptures made from recycled wood and multicolored beer caps, the new work featured at the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden demands more than a passing glance.

As part of the newest Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Ohio Governor’s Residence exhibition, artwork by Diane Belfiglio of North Canton and John Taylor-Lehman of Zanesville will be displayed at the Governor’s Residence in Bexley through March. Both artists were selected by Ohio First Lady Karen W. Kasich with the assistance of the Ohio Arts Council.

Belfiglio's vibrant pieces are influenced by her desire to transform the “mundane” into the extraordinary. Her paintings, oil pastel drawings, and sculptures masterfully use the elements of light, shadow, and geometric composition to highlight architectural and natural beauty.Diane Belfiglio at the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden

“When I first saw Diane’s pictures, they were so intricate and so detailed, I thought I was looking at photographs. They are really incredible,” Kasich said. “I love her use of color and the way she plays with the sunlight and shadows. It just really caught my eye.”

Belfiglio said her work incorporates elements of formalism, and added that she carefully considers how her subject’s form and style transfers onto the paper and canvas.

“I am fascinated with sunlight and shadow. Shadows, for me, are as important of a shape as anything else,” she said. “I am very concerned with all the structure that goes into a piece.”

Currently serving as an assistant professor of art and studio coordinator at Walsh University, Belfiglio also teaches privately through her Belfiglio Art Studio. She said a love of art has always been a part of her family and something she hopes to instill in her students.

“I wouldn’t have been an artist without the support of my family. There was always music playing in the house, there were summer theatre lessons, there were art lessons for me. And my kids grew up that way too,” she said. “If we don’t have art, our souls are pretty empty.”

Taylor-Lehman’s interest in his resourceful style of art was sparked during a trip to Mexico.

“I had an epiphany with beer caps back in 1979. We were in the jungles of southern Mexico and there was a man flattening beer caps and pushing nails through them and using that to secure the tar paper to his roof,” he said. “And I thought, ‘This man is using the resources that he has.’ He wasn’t being a conservationist by choice. It was out of necessity. And that has always inspired me to use as much recycled material as I can."

A retired science teacher, Taylor-Lehman uses his work to challenge modern society's "throw away" mentality by giving discarded items such as beer caps and scrap wood a new purpose in eye-catching sculptures.

John Taylor-Lehman at the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden“I was first introduced to John’s work in 2014,” Kasich said. “I love to see something that is out of the ordinary and makes me stop and look twice, and that is definitely what I did with John’s pieces. I am so excited that we are able to feature his work here at the Governor’s Residence.”

In his speech at the exhibition’s opening reception on Jan. 26, Taylor-Lehman thanked those who have supported his artistic endeavors, including his wife, Janet, and the friends who have provided beer caps in the past.

“Without their selfless effort, I would not have the raw materials necessary to create my work,” he said with a grin. “I would like to thank the Ohio Arts Council for helping coordinate this program and the great work that they do on a regular basis on behalf of the arts in Ohio. And thank you, Mrs. Kasich, for so visibly supporting the arts in Ohio. There is an enormous pool of terrific artists here in Ohio and I feel flattered to be selected.”

More information about the artists can be found at and

Members of the public who wish to view the Spotlight exhibition can schedule a free tour of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden by calling 614-644-7644 or online at

Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Ohio Governor’s Residence is a program created by Ohio’s First Lady Karen W. Kasich that celebrates Ohio artists by showcasing a sampling of their artworks in the Residence foyer. The program enhances the ongoing partnership between the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden and the Ohio Arts Council (OAC).  Since 1985 the OAC has assisted in placing artwork by Ohio artists and from Ohio cultural institutions in the Governor’s Residence and throughout the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts. The “Spotlight” program offers quarterly exhibitions at the Governor’s Residence highlighted by opening receptions. Spotlight Artists are selected by First Lady Kasich with assistance from the OAC. All Ohio artists are eligible to submit their work for consideration. To be eligible for the program the artist cannot be a student enrolled in a degree-granting program and must be a resident of the State of Ohio.

The Jacobean Revival style home was originally built for the family of industrialist Malcom Jeffrey in 1925, and has served as the official Ohio Governor’s Residence for nearly 60 years. Examples of Ohio art, industry, and craftsmanship are showcased throughout the house while outside, the surrounding Heritage Garden reflects the state’s diverse native botanicals and landscapes. Free tours of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden can be scheduled by calling 614-644-7644 or online at

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist

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