Gallery Presents 30th Statewide Print Competition
For 30 years, the Alma College Statewide Print Competition has attracted the creative work of the state’s most talented printmakers. The resulting exhibitions toured the state, bringing visibility to both the College and to the Michigan artists working in the medium.
This year’s 30th exhibition, which opened Oct. 18 in the Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery at Alma College and continues through Nov. 11, showcases a variety of mediums and printmaking processes, including collagraphs, etchings, screen prints, monotypes, intaglio, woodcuts, digital prints and more.
Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free and open to the public.
Kent Kirby, founder of the Alma College Statewide Print Competition
Juror Marjorie Devon selected 38 works for display in this year’s show. Devon, director of the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is an assistant professor of art and art history at the University of New Mexico.
Devon will announce her selection of prints for purchase awards at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30 in the gallery. All are welcome for the awards ceremony and reception.
With declining entries in recent years, the gallery has announced that this year’s presentation will be Alma College’s last statewide print show, says Sandy Lopez-Isnardi, who has served as the show’s director for the past 15 years.
“Kent Kirby founded the competition 30 years ago, and it became well known by artists throughout the state and recognized nationally in the Journal of the Print World,” says Lopez-Isnardi. “We are ending on a high note.”
From the 2009 show: "Locus," by William Hosterman
The Alma College Statewide Print Competition was the first organized attempt to showcase the work of Michigan printmakers, says Robert Rozier, former director of the competition, who, along with Kirby, helped establish and develop the Alma College print collection.
“The competition was good for artists, whose works toured the state in the traveling exhibit,” says Rozier. “Our jurors were top notch, the venues were top notch, and many of the prints became part of the College’s permanent collection. We have had a remarkable list of jurors over the years, just the best.”
Bruce Thayer of Mason has submitted work to the print show for 25 years. He cites the strong credentials of the jurors brought in for the Alma show, which was important for artists building their resumes and developing their own skills.
“The Alma show afforded the opportunity to see what other printmakers in the state have created, what new techniques have been used, and to share their own creative effort,” says Thayer. “The show travels the state, which gives artists wide exposure. And the purchase awards for the Alma College collection created a body of work for future students to view.”
From the 2009 show: "Jordina's Premonition," by Janet Lorch
Pontiac printmaker John Bergmeier, who has entered the Alma show each of the last five years, has used the competition to improve his own printmaking ability.
“Each year the exhibit shows some of the best printmaking in the state, be it traditional printmaking methods or new experimental processes,” says Bergmeier.
Frequent contributor Earl Elowsky of East Tawas found value in the show as an art student at Alma.
“When I was a student at Alma, I looked forward to the print show every year,” he says. “Because of the variety of techniques used by the artists, it was a good chance for the art students to see the possibilities of what they can do with their own work.”
Printmaker Cynthia Foley of Cadillac appreciates the fact that the show welcomed digitally based processes and that the venue was associated with education.
“I like the notion of connecting with and exchanging with student artists in the academic community,” says Foley.
One of the highlights of the Alma print competition over the years came in 1991 when the show was presented at the Detroit Institute of Art. Ann Stuart, Alma’s provost at that time, wrote in the DIA brochure about the Alma College collection, “Students, faculty, other members of the college community, and members of the greater community … through experiencing these works of art, are challenged to define beauty, to understand craftsmanship, and to consider human values appropriate for free men and women.”
Posted: Mon, October 25th, 2010 at 10:57AM