Area Students to Display Talents at Scholastic Art Exhibit

PLAINVIEW – The work of hundreds of students from across the South Plains will be on display in one place beginning January 23 when the 2007 West Texas Regional Scholastic Art Competition and Exhibit opens at Wayland Baptist University.

On exhibit in the Abraham Art Gallery in the Mabee Learning Resources Center, the show will feature around 450 works from students in Lubbock, Plainview and the surrounding communities. A variety of media are represented, from traditional paintings, drawings and sculptures to mixed media, graphic design, product design and more.

The exhibit represents the top pieces chosen by the judging panel, who spend an entire day voicing their votes for a literal parade of artwork being held up by volunteers and gallery workers. The judges have literally seconds to make a decision on the piece and determine whether it earns a Gold Key – the highest honor – or the Silver Key or an honorable mention. All those pieces are included in the exhibit, with pieces literally wallpapering the gallery spaces.

But at one point, event organizers admit they weren’t sure what would happen, given the winter weather that plagued the area.

“This year’s Scholastic Art Competition could qualify as an extreme sport, as we had record ice storms on the entry day as well as the judging day,” said WBU art professor Dr. Candace Keller, curator for the gallery and organizer for the competition. “Teachers and judges braved the treacherous ice-covered roads and freezing temperatures, carrying artworks from all parts of the West Texas region. We were so blessed to have no accidents or injuries reported, and it clearly shows the dedication of our area teachers to the arts and their students!”

According to Keller, the region covers 14 counties and includes such cities as Post and Denver City, Muleshoe to the west and north to Dimmitt. Wayland has hosted the We st Texas Regional competition for about 10 years.

Of the Gold Key winning pieces, the judges then choose five they deem the best to receive the coveted American Vision Award. Those artists are able to send a portfolio of work to the next level of competition and compete for special scholarships, and one piece from the region is guaranteed to be displayed at the national exhibit. All Gold Key pieces advance to the next level, and from that pool, pieces have the chance to be chosen to be exhibited in the national display in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.

“The artwork this year is exceptional and varied, and the judges selected more than 450 works for the exhibition,” Keller added. “I would encourage everyone to come and view this remarkable show and catch the vision of our young Texas artists.”

The regional exhibit will be on display through Feb. 9, and a reception and awards ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the gallery and the adjoining atrium. The public is invited to attend and view the works at any time during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 2-5 p.m. For more information, call the gallery at 291-3710.