By Laura Coburn
After a successful exhibition opening with cocktails, St. Arnold’s, a vivacious crowd, and art awards, the Lawndale Art Center’s annual exhibit The Big Show is on display. The open-call juried exhibit began in 1984 and has since been a platform for underrepresented and emerging local artists to gain exposure.
The 2013 free-admission exhibit features 83 works by 67 artists chosen from a pool of 922 works submitted by 366 artists. This year’s guest juror, Duncan Mackenzie, Artist/Critic/writer and co-founder of Bad at Sports, has selected the top three pieces by artists Perry Chandler, Avril Falgout, and Bryan Forrester to win three $1,000 prizes.
Every year Lawndale invites a different guest juror to judge the artwork. “We want someone not familiar with Houston to judge with fresh eyes,” says Dennis Nance, Exhibitions and Programming Director at Lawndale. This year, Lawndale has selected Mackenzie; visiting from Chicago, he was able to offer an unbiased, expert opinion when considering the artwork.
Nance says that most exhibitions today are judged by looking at images of works or reviewing artist statements. However, he emphasizes that The Big Show judges art in a more traditional way. “Artists bring the art and someone picks from having it right in front of them,” Nance explains, highlighting this unique aspect of the show.
The Big Show presents everything from paintings and sculpture to photography and video. And anybody within a 100-mile radius of Lawndale can submit—this year even a seven year old participated! As long as these local artists can transport their work to the exhibition location and have created their work within the past two years, they have the chance to submit up to three works for display. Following The Big Show, Lawndale invites participating artists to contribute to the cumulative post-exhibit slideshow and give a five-minute presentation to discuss the nuances of their work while meeting the public.
However, even if the artists don’t make the cut for this gallery exhibit, Nance says there are plenty of other opportunities for artists to get their name out through Lawndale. Artists whose work is rejected from The Big Show can still be exhibited at the Salon des Refusés 2013 exhibit at BLUEorange, July 19, July 26, August 2 and August 9.
Throughout the year, Lawndale puts out calls for exhibition proposals by artists and curators in the community. With four galleries, a rotating mural, and a constant flow of exhibits, Lawndale provides numerous opportunities for the art community to get involved. A new fellows program even allows three artists to work in Lawndale’s unoccupied studio spaces for nine months, enough time for an artists to give birth- to a new idea! Lawndale also hosts a Dia de Los Muertos program during which they give away 300 pieces of metal to artists on a first come first serve basis.
Nance says that outside of Lawndale, Houston does a commendable job of giving artists opportunities to display their art. “From studio spaces to artist-run galleries and commercial galleries… there’s a lot to do, a lot to see, and a lot of opportunities.”
And The Big Show, on display through August 10th is one worth the visit!
A list of participating artists is below:
Hannah Adams, John Adelman, Alonso Bedolla, Kari Breitigam, Adrian Landon Brooks, Chadwick + Spector, Raina Chamberlain, Perry Chandler, Monica Chhay, JooYoung Choi, K.C. Collins, Felipe Contreras, Terry Crump, Andy Dearwater, Alex Larsen and Alexander DiJulio, Jennifer Ellison, Avril Falgout, Bryan Forrester, Kelli Foster, Caitlin Fredette, Luna Gajdos, Daniela Galindo, Bryan Keith Gardner, Matthew Glover, Nerissa Gomez, David P. Gray, Carrie Green Markello, Casey Arguelles Gregory, Sarah Hamilton, Jorge Imperio, Jenna Jacobs, Sandra A. Jacobs, Jeremy Keas, Bradley Kerl, Galina Kurlat, Marilyn Faulk Lanser, Melinda Laszczynski, Joan Laughlin, Eva Martinez, David McClain, Leo Medrano, Susannah Mira, Kia Neill, Mari Omori, Bernice Peacock, Eric Pearce, Ellen Phillips, Page Piland, Julon Pinkston, Eduardo Portillo, Cinta Rico, Natalie Rodgers, Darcy Rosenberger, Nana Sampong, Kay Sarver, John Slaby, Rosalind Speed, Earl Staley, Adair Stephens, Alexine O. Stevens, Saralene Tapley, Happy Valentine, David H. Waddell, Camille Warmington, Chantal Wnuk, Martin Wnuk and Tera Yoshimura
To get involved check out these links:
Volunteer sign-up: http://lawndaleartcenter.org/
Support Lawndale!: http://lawndaleartcenter.org/
Lawndale Art Center
4912 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77002