The oldest juried art competition in the region, Meridian Museum of Art’s Bi-State, has returned for its 47th year.
The Bi-State is the downtown Meridian museum’s prestigious annual exhibit recognizing and celebrating outstanding artistic achievements by artists. 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.
Recognized as the cornerstone exhibit for Meridian Museum of Art, this year’s Bi-State features drew 261 entries, with 84 works selected by 59 artists. All images and the exhibition can be viewed on MMA’s Facebook Page.
“This exhibition showcases art in different medias, styles, and artists’ visions, which he always found fascinating,” Meridian Museum of Art Executive Director Kate Cherry said.
Mississippi artists selected to be in the exhibition are: Jill Hammes, Denise Dengler, Larry Harris, Laura Holladay, Cecelia Moseley, Cary Haycox, Daniel C. Ethridge, Mouise Richards, Judy Rayner, Meridian and surrounding areas; Julia Graber, Brooksville; Carrie Lassetter Reeves, Rick Anderson, Clinton; Cynthia Buob, Leslie Burns, Susan Nawrocki, Thomas Nawrocki, Kathie Bauerlin, Robert Gibson, Columbus; Euphus Ruth, Greenville; J’Marcus Alfred, Martina Sciolino, Traci Stover, Carolyn McIntyre Norton, Andrea Kostyal, Hattiesburg; Angee Montgomery, Hernando; Maureen A. Donnelly, Sabyna Sterrett, Charles Carraway, Jackson area; Sam Fioretti, Kosciusko; Mark Brown and Kim Whitt, Laurel and surrounding areas; Sadako Lewis, Long Beach; Lawayne House, Olive Branch; Jere Allen, Nancy A. Mitchell, Obie Clark, Oxford area; Carolyn Busenlener, Pearlington; Marita Gootee, Starkville; Barbara-Ann Carver-Hunt, Sumrall; Danny Brunt, Vaughan; Randy Jolly, Vicksburg.
Alabama artists selected were: Margaret Gluhman, Auburn; Gary Chapman, Mara Jambor, Birmingham area; Zack Underwood, Decatur; Martha Markline Hopkins, Fairhope; Julia Gary, Huntsville; Hunter Vroonland, Madison; Michelle Jones, Mobile; Meredith Knight, Montgomery; Julie Plasketes, Opelika; Pamela Askew, Mary Price Kerr, Joni Gruber, Tuscaloosa.
Florida artists selected were Deborah Thompson, St. Augustine; Christopher Trice, Neha Luhar, Jacksonville.
Cherry noted most artists consider it a great honor to be accepted into the annual MMA Bi-State competition and exhibition.
“As a Meridian native, it's such an honor to be chosen for the Meridian Museum of Art Bi-State competition and exhibition,” Daniel C. Ethridge said. “Every artist's contribution adds to the mosaic of our culture and there is no better display of talent than at this year's MMA Exhibition. I feel so blessed to be a part of it.”
Larry Harris, also of Meridian, shares Ethridge’s sentiments.
“Art...is more than paint and pen on paper which I feel makes it special,” Harris said. “It's History, spiritual a connection to each of us in our journey called ‘life’…it can save lives when used in a positive way...Art is a recording of our lives in our time.... Thanks for letting me be a part of this moment of history at the Meridian Museum of Art.
About the juror
Kevin Haynie served as the juror for the 47th Annual Bi-State Art Competition and Exhibition. Haynie is with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where he leads gallery installations, cares for, and maintains the permanent collection, and works to broaden the engagement of art within the community at the Crystal Bridges.
Haynie states in his juror’s statement:
“A juror’s challenge is to be tasked with selecting a body of work without knowing an artist’s background, intentions, or inspirations. To select from hundreds of wonderful submissions by imagery alone – and to condense these works to a to a group of several dozen – requires a shift in perception. Jurors must focus on the visual qualities an artist is capable of creating. It can be difficult to parse one work above another, but the power of direction can be felt even in the absence of an artist’s statement or biography.
“So is the case with the numerous submissions to this year’s competition. There were many artists who captivated my attention throughout this process, so much so that even at nearly 100 works, I still felt as though there could have been more. Congratulations to everyone who submitted their work to this exhibition. It was a great honor and privilege to jury this show and experience the vast array of remarkable submissions.”
Haynie recently implemented Crystal Bridges’ first-ever Community Installation using artist Nari Ward’s “We, The People,” a fabric installation. Haynie planned the installation to include everyone, including museum visitors, students of all ages and staff.
For this year’s exhibition, a new award was added: The Charlie Busler Memorial Award. The Meridian artist, who began painting seriously in the early 1980s and work has been featured in numerous one-man gallery shows and group, invitational, and competitive exhibits, and has earned awards in the Bi-State and the Arts in the Park art competitions, passed in September 2020.
“I always knew Charlie would be in for a visit soon when this annual exhibition was installed,” Cherry said. “Charlie loved to view this exhibition because it always shows what’s going on in the art world.”
The Bi-State exhibition will conclude Saturday, Sept. 25 with a special reception from 1-3 p.m. Awards will be announced at 3 p.m.
“Many of the artists that are exhibiting normally attend this reception,” MMA Executive Director Kate Cherry said. “It’s a good time for viewers to visit with the artists, ask questions or just talk with the artists.”
The 47th Annual Bi-State is sponsored in part by its members, Sharon Busler and Rachel Busler Misenar, the Community Foundation of East Mississippi through endowments from Alliance Health Center and the Martin and Linda Davidson’s Family, the city of Meridian, the Phil Hardin Foundation, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Riley Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and The Paul and Sherry Broadhead Foundation.
Meridian Museum of Art is located at 628 25th Ave. Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, from 11 a.m. -4 p.m. Admission is always free. For more information, contact Kate Cherry at 601-693-1501, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website www.meridianmuseum.org or their Facebook Page.