special to The Star
The Meridian Star
It began on Feb. 8, 1974, when it was already considered the biggest event in the museum’s history, and it has grown every year since. The Meridian Museum of Art’s Bi-State Art Competition, the oldest juried art competition in the region, returns for a 39th year.
The Bi-State is the Museum’s prestigious annual exhibit that recognizes and celebrates outstanding artistic achievement by artists in Mississippi and Alabama. The awards reception for this year’s competition will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 6-8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. The award winners, including the $1,000 Alliance Health Center Best of Show award, will be announced by juror Scott Betz at the presentation ceremony at 7 p.m.
“We’re excited to be able to bring the Bi-State to Meridian again,” says Kate Cherry, museum director. “It’s an unparalleled chance for our visitors to see the best that the Southeastern art world has to offer.”
The works featured in the exhibit were chosen from the artists’ submissions by Betz.
Betz received his BFA from the University of Evansville and an MFA from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is President of FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) and teaches at Winston-Salem State University. His work has been exhibited and is in collections across the U.S. as well as Japan, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Sweden, France, Finland, Columbia, Lithuania and Belgium. He currently collaborates with his 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter on hybrid art projects and exhibitions.
“It is an honor to be asked to jury the 39th Annual Bi-State Art Competition. It was great to see so much excellent work from the region I called home between 1995 and 1998. I’ve since had many experiences that informed this jury process. With over 100 exhibitions under my belt and probably 5 times that number of rejections, I know competitions can reveal the interests and limitations of the person making the selections. But during this time, I have also earned a national reputation within foundations art teaching and believe I brought this character to the process more than just what my degrees in painting, drawing and printmaking might suggest. As the story goes, the juror forms exhibitions and another juror would undoubtedly pick a much different show. Please know that as a foundations professional, I teach ideation and craft in image and object making — not media per se. This means I do not have a conditioned bias towards any one type of art material such as painting, sculpture or photography. I really looked for the strongest work and particularly work that interested me as an artist. I enjoyed seeing work that made me wonder — wonder how it developed and what was expressed. There is not enough space here to do justice to the artists with my critique and specific comments but I hope to have the opportunity to speak to the artists at the awards ceremony and I encourage you to find me and take advantage of my visit. I can’t wait to stand in front of the work and hear your reactions and comments,” states Betz in his juror’s statement.
The Bi-State is open to current and past residents of Mississippi and Alabama. The competition offers more than $3,000 in awards and prizes, including the $1,000 Alliance Health Center Best of Show Award. Sponsors for the 2012 Bi-State include Alliance Health Center, the Phil Hardin Foundation, the Community Foundation of East Mississippi, the Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the Riley Foundation, the City of Meridian, the Mississippi Arts Commission, and the National Endowment of the Arts.
Artists with work in the 39th Annual Bi-State include:
Amanda Townsend, Opelika, Ala.; Amy Pirkle, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Anita H. Stewart, Jacksonville, Ala.; Brad Luke, Preston, Miss.; Bryce Speed, Omaha, Neb.; Clo Ann Rabb, Meridian, Miss.; David Howell, Union, Miss.; Don Norris, Hattiesburg, Miss.; Dori DeCamillis, Birmingham, Ala.; Durant Thompson, Taylor, Miss.; Erin Hardin, Vestavia, Ala.; Euphus Ruth
Greenville, Miss.; Frances Hairston, Crawford, Miss.; George Ann McCullough, Madison, Miss.; George Dylan Brown, Hattiesburg, Miss.; Herb Rieth, Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Jamey Grimes, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Jill Hammes, Meridian, Miss.; Joan McRaney, McComb, Miss.; Julia W. Gary, Huntsville, Ala.; Kathie Baeuerlin, Columbus, Miss.; Laurin McCracken, Leland, Miss.; Lesley K. Silver, Vicksburg, Miss.; Lesley Wilson, Meridian, Miss.; Lowry Wilson, New Albany, Miss.; Margaret Gluhman, Auburn, Ala.; Martha Hopkins, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Mary Price Kerr, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Matt Stebly, Ocean Springs, Miss.; Michael Robinson, Auburn, Ala.; Michelle Leggett, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Mike Box, Eupora, Miss.; Millie Howell, Philadelphia, Miss.; Milly West, Oxford, Miss.; Mouise Richards, Meridian, Miss.; Pat. L. Brown, Cleveland, Miss.; Paula Temple, Oxford, Miss.; Philip R. Jackson, Oxford, Miss.; Pieter Favier, Mobile, Ala.; Roger Jones, Selma, Ala.; Sabyna Sterrett, Springfield, Va.; Sarah Marshall, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Shara Rowley Plough, Cleveland, Miss.; Shirley Hamilton, North Carrollton, Miss.; Shu H. Chang, Vicksburg, Miss.; Susa Nawrocki, Columbus, Miss.; Sylvain Chamberlain, Shannon, Miss.; Teresa Rodriguez, Auburn, Ala.; Thomas Nawrocki, Columbus, Miss.; Virginia Rougon Chavis, Oxford, Miss.; William Dooley, Northport, Ala.