Southwest Georgia Regional Fine Art Exhibit and Sale kicks off next week

Jun 01, 2015

By Brad McEwen, Albany Herald

ALBANY — Some of the area’s best artists will display their works this month as the Albany Area Arts Council hosts its 16th annual Southwest Georgia Regional Fine Arts Exhibit and Sale at the Thronateeska Heritage Center in downtown Albany.

#According to Albany Area Arts Council Executive Director Nicole Williams, the regional art exhibit is the Arts Council’s largest event of the year and will feature 118 pieces from 60 artists in a variety of different media.

#“Empty Bowls is probably our biggest fundraising event each year, but the regional fine art exhibit is definitely our biggest event and features the most artwork on display,” Williams said. “It’s our premier event, and with a regional focus, it creates a nice pool of work, which ensures quality.”

#The display itself, which also serves at the Arts Council’s monthly exhibit for June, will be housed in the Science Museum at Thronateeska for the entire month and will open June 4 with a reception from 6-8 p.m. in the Wetherbee Planetarium.

#Williams said she is especially pleased that the exhibit will be on display at Thronateeska, which she said is good for both the heritage center and the Arts Council.

#“Our partnership with Thronateeska means that we will increase traffic through their science museum, which is a worthy attraction in its own right,” said Williams.

#Alex LaPierre, programs director at Thronateeska, concurred with Williams, saying that as an organization that supports arts and cultural history in the area it made perfect sense to host the art exhibit at Thronateeska.

#“We’re actually considered an arts organization,” said LaPierre. “So this fits with our mission. Anytime we can promote art, history and culture we’re happy to do it, and one of the ways we do that is by partnering with the Arts Council on this juried art show. It should be great.”

#LaPierre and Williams say they are also pleased that Thronateeska will allow for more exposure for the regional artists who entered their work.

#“Having it there also helps us get more exposure for the artists, since it will draw visitors that wouldn’t necessarily come to the Arts Council’s space,” said Williams.

#In addition to getting the opportunity to display their works, artists will be judged and given awards and cash prizes for placing first, second or third in painting, photography and sculpture categories. Honorable mentions will also be recognized, and there will be an award for Best in Show.

#Williams said this year’s art jurors are Amy Brown and Chris Johnson, both of whom have extensive backgrounds in art and art education.

#Brown, who lives in Monticello, Fla., has an associate’s degree from Tallahassee Community College and a bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Florida State University. She currently runs her own studio.

#Johnson, who graduated from Tift County High School and received a bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Clemson University and a master’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of South Carolina, is currently an assistant professor of visual art and director of the visual art program at Andrew College in Cuthbert.

#In addition to selecting the winners, the jurors will pick what they consider the top works from the exhibit, which will then be placed in the “Winner’s Circle” exhibit at the Arts Council’s Carnegie Library, which will run through July.

#For Williams, the event also marks the end of her first year as the Arts Council’s executive director, which she said has been a a learning experience and a whirlwind that started with last year’s regional art show and sale.

#“Last year when I started this annual exhibition was my first task,” Williams said. “The preparation really went by in a shock of long days and late nights, and the exhibition itself was really a blur of new faces. This year I feel much more grounded and prepared. I’ve spent the last year working in this community, getting to know people and organizations. Now that I understand what it means to local artists I’m even more grateful for the opportunity to facilitate it.”

#The art exhibit and sale is free and open to the public June 4-20 during the Thronateeska Science Museum’s regular hours, Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The opening reception on June 4 is also free to the public.

#To learn more about the exhibit and the Albany Area Arts Council, visit www.albanyartscouncil.org. To learn more about Thronateeska Heritage Center and its programs, visit www.heritagecenter.org.

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