Wayland art gallery to host Scholastic Art competition exhibit

-Wayland Baptist University's Abraham Art Gallery will be home to more than 400 pieces of artwork from area students as it hosts the West Texas Regional Scholastic Art Competition from Jan. 21 to Feb. 15.

According to Dr. Candace Keller, associate professor of art and curator of the gallery, this is the fourth year for Wayland to host and sponsor the West Texas competition. The annual event draws between 1,500 and 1,600 pieces from junior high and high school students around the region. A total of 35 schools submitted work for the competition, which is juried to choose award winners and exhibit pieces.

Judges for the West Texas awards included Deborah Bigness of the Lubbock Art Alliance, professional illustrator Angela Adams of Lubbock and Leah Zeigler, arts technology instructor for the Kress Independent School District.

Entries come from all media, with students competing in painting, drawing, mixed media, printmaking, sculpture, photography, computer graphics, architecture/environmental design, graphic design, product design, ceramics/glass, jewelry/metalsmithing, textile/fiber, art portfolio and photography portfolio. Categories are then divided into age groups, with seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders competing together and tenth-, eleventh- and twelfth-graders competing as a group.

Of the entries, 101 Gold Keys were awarded, with those pieces continuing to the national competition in New York. There, the judging process begins again, culling some 8,000 entries into the national exhibit to be held at the Corcorran Gallery. National exhibitors also get to attend an awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center.

Keller said narrowing the field, even on the regional level, is a challenge.

"Our judges pick what they think is the strongest work, pieces with strong impact that represent technical skill, craftsmanship and originality," she said. "It's very professional in the way it's judged and for most of these students this is their first professional-type competition. We've had national winners from our region every year we've done this."

Keller said the exhibit and judging process also involves many hands, and she credited area teachers and John Woicikowfski of the Lubbock Independent School District with the competition's success.

Keller added that the art awards serve to encourage creative expression and excellence, provide recognition for 12-18 year-old artists and recognize excellence in teaching. They also create a support network and serve as an advocate for the role of arts in education.

A reception for winners and exhibit entrants will be held Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. in the gallery, located in the Mabee Learning Resources Center on the Wayland campus. The exhibit is available for viewing during regular gallery hours.

For more information, call 291-3710.