Cincinnati Nature Center presents award to Ruthven

October 3rd, 2013    Author: Administrator    Filed Under: News

Artist John Ruthven received the Wood Thrush Award at Cincinnati Nature Center Sept. 1. From left are Bill Creasey, chief naturalist and safari coordinator for the nature center, Graham Mitchell, board chair at Cincinnati Nature Center, Ruthven, and Bill Hopple, executive director of Cincinnati Nature Center.

By Kristin Rover
Sun staff

Local artist John Ruthven has spent many years outdoors, traveling the world, and creating artwork that reflects many beautiful aspects of nature.

Cincinnati Nature Center awarded Ruthven th Wood Thrush Award Sept. 1 for his efforts to promote conservationism and stewardship through his paintings.

“I’ve been involved in painting wildlife since 1946,” Ruthven said. “I spent a lot of time trying to create real viewpoints of what people will see.”

Ruthven said creating his artwork has been interesting, exciting and rewarding.

“My paintings have allowed me to travel many ways with many people,” Ruthven said. “All of these things are gratifying to me.”

Ruthven said he is aware of the impact his paintings could have on viewers, especially by giving viewers a look at nature.

“Almost every time I move my brush I know long after me people will interpret my paintings,” Ruthven said.

It is because of his paintings, as well as his commitment to being active and involved in nature, that he was awarded the Wood Thrush Award by Cincinnati Nature Center.

Marian Perkowski, annual giving manager for the Nature Center, called Ruthven a Renaissance man.

“He is an incredible man,” Perkowski said. “He combines his art and his love for nature and he has done amazing things to promote the conservation of nature.”

Ruthven was presented the Wood Thrush Award during a celebratory dinner Sept. 1 at the nature center’s Krippendorf Lodge.

“It means an awful lot to me,” Ruthven said about receiving the award. “I was involved in the start of the nature center. I designed the bird, the Wood Thrush. It means a lot.”

Ruthven has earned many other awards for his artwork including United States National Medal of Arts in recognition for his contributions as an artist and naturalist.

His paintings hang in the Smithsonian, the Cincinnati Museum of National History, the Neil Armstrong Space Museum, and more.

He has painted for several American presidents and also created the cardinal Ohio license plate, which benefits the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Ruthven has a farm in Georgetown and also has a home in Mariemont.

Ruthven is the second Wood Thrush Award recipient. Helen C. Black was the first Wood Thrush Award recipient.

The award was established in October 2012 to recognize individuals, families, organizations or businesses for significant commitment to land conservation and stewardship in the Greater-Cincinnati region.

For more information about John Ruthven, visit For more information about the Wood Thrush Award visit

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