Calling all artists! The eighth annual Art Exposed Regional Exhibition is returning to Kamloops, and all area artists are eligible to exhibit up to two works. Photo: Jacquie S Photography.

Art Exposed Exhibition in Kamloops gives local artists a chance to shine

A special #BCStrong prize is being offered this year to acknowledge last year's wildfires.

The Kamloops Arts Council is holding its eighth annual Art Exposed Regional Exhibition from March 9 to 17; and in addition to cash prizes in the emerging, established, and youth artist categories, this year will also feature a special $500 #BCStrong prize to commemorate last year’s wildfires, courtesy of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD).

The exhibition is open to any TNRD resident who practises visual arts of any kind, from painting, photography, and sculpture to pottery, glass mosaics, jewellery, and clothing. Each artist can enter up to two 2D or 3D works in the non-curated show, with entries being accepted until February 16 or until 200 entries have been received, whichever comes first.

The exhibition will be held at the Kamloops Old Courthouse Cultural Centre, and the organizers intend to fill every nook and cranny of the space. For this reason, the maximum size of any piece can be no more than 12 square feet or three feet wide, and a given piece cannot weigh more than 50 pounds. All works must be original, have been designed and created in the past 18 months, and have never been exhibited at the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre.

There are established and emerging categories for adult artists, and this year the exhibition—which is sponsored by the Kamloops Arts Council (KAC)—will once more have a special category for youth aged 8 to 14. The category was introduced for last year’s exhibition, because of the difficulty of judging youth artwork alongside works created by adults.

Prior to the youth category’s introduction in 2017, people aged 10 or 11 had won honourable mentions. “But it’s so difficult to look at youth artwork next to works created by adults, so we created a special category,” says Kathy Sinclair, executive director of the KAC.

Established artists are those who have gained the recognition of their peers and/or community as an artist, and been practicing and/or exhibiting for three or more years. Emerging artists have rarely or never exhibited, and are current students or recent graduates who have been practicing and/or exhibiting for less than three years.

Artists have until February 16 to enter, and until February 23 to submit a biography and information about the work. Anyone who does not yet have their work(s) completed can enter before February 16 to reserve a spot, and works must be dropped off on March 2 or 3. Artists who want their work(s) considered for the #BCStrong Award must provide an artist statement about the piece(s).

Artists taking part must be able to volunteer to work at least one shift during the course of the exhibition: during set-up; on opening night; during take-down; gallery sit (minimum one two-hour shift); or behind the scenes (scheduling or computer work). Artists are welcome to bring a work in progress to work on during their gallery sit shift, says Sinclair.

“It’s always fun to have stuff happening, and people love to see artists working. It’s a community show, and a unique opportunity in the region.”

First prizes of $100 and second prizes of $50 will be awarded for 2D and 3D works in the emerging and established artist categories, with the youth winner receiving a $50 prize, and there is a $50 prize each for the winners of the Artists’ Choice and People’s Choice awards. Exhibiting artists also have an opportunity to sell their work as well. “It’s a great chance to get their name out there, and sometimes it leads to commissions,” says Sinclair.

Artists can ask for an appointment with one of the three judges—Christine Beaton, Tim Francis, and Michael O’Brien, all from Kamloops—for a critique of their work. “The artist can get some feedback,” says Sinclair, “such as general observations, or how they can improve it. It’s as detailed as you want it to be.”

There is an entry fee of $35 ($25 for KAC members) in the adult categories, and $15 ($10 for KAC members) in the youth category. An appointment with one of the judges for a critique is $10.

The Art Exposed exhibition at the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre, Kamloops (7 Seymour Street W.) is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March 9 to 17, with special extended evening hours on Thursday, March 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is by donation. For more information, or to register, go to www.kamloopsarts.ca.

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