The 2014 Eugene Mayor’s Art Show opens with a reception at 5 p.m. Friday in The Studio at the Hult Center, Seventh Avenue and Willamette Street. Expect speeches by the likes of Mayor Kitty Piercy, a huge supporter of the arts, and lots of people crammed into the Jacobs Gallery when the doors officially open at 5:30 p.m. to check out 54 art works selected by the MAS jury from 197 pieces submitted by Lane County artists. Music by Mood Area 52. Free.
Full disclosure: I was one of the three jurors who picked this show, so you can expect it to be totally brilliant 😉 The other two were arts administrator Tina Rinaldi and artist Ann Bumb Hamilton. The exhibit runs through Oct. 4.
And, speaking of things in which I have an interest, nature writer Noah Strycker will show slides and talk about his new book, The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human, at 2 p.m. Saturday at White Lotus Gallery, 767 Willamette Street. The book has gotten hugely favorable reviews in publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.
The gallery is showing “Kacho-ga: Japanese Prints and Paintings of the Natural World,” which contains a lot of bird images, though Sept. 20. Free.
And, yes, he’s my son.
I’ve been going to the Mayor’s Art Show in Eugene for at least the past 20 years — always as a reporter and an art lover.
This time I’m viewing the show from a different lens entirely — that of a juror. I was one of three jurors this year — the others were Tina Rinaldi, former executive director of the Jacobs Gallery, and Ann Bumb Hamilton, an artist and art techer — who spent most of a recent Monday sitting down and going through slides from 198 Lane County artists who wanted to be in the show.
First off, that number is down — a lot. In past years, if I remember correctly, there were more like 500 entries.
It’s not that there are any fewer artists in Lane County. What happened was, the gallery started charging an entry fee to submit work. In the old days, you could enter a work for free. Then WHEN, a $5 fee was charged. This year the fee has climbed to $20, reflecting the loss of a long-time corporate sponsor that in the past kicked in $6,000 to finance the exhibit.
The other big change in recent years, of course, has been the shift from jurying actual works of art — you used to haul your painting or sculpture or art motorcycle — down to the Hult Center so the jury could see for themselves. Now, like just about every other art show in the universe, it’s all done by looking at digital images. That’s OK. I won’t whine too much about this inevitable and, almost certainly, permanent change in the nature of the show.
As a result, the three of us hunched together and went through more than 200 images on a single computer screen. We were given a CD with all the images in advance, so we had all sorted through the pile at least once before.
I have to say, for once I wasn’t shocked by the bad quality of too many of the images that were submitted. For the most part, artists have either figured out how to use a camera or found someone who already knows.