UNT on the Square hosts local art group’s annual exhibition

UNT on the Square hosts local art group’s annual exhibition

UNT on the Square hosts local art group’s annual exhibition
July 28
10:24 2018

Out of the warm summer air and into a building on the west side of the Square lies a collection of artworks by local artists. The exhibit packs most of the available gallery space and contains works of all different mediums, such as sculptures, paintings and photographs, as well as works made by artists with varying levels of experience.

The 29th Annual Visual Arts Society of Texas Member’s Exhibition is once again hosted this year by the UNT on the Square Gallery and sponsored by the Visual Arts Society of Texas. This year, as in previous years, the show was dedicated to the members who have passed away in the previous year: Andrea Albright and Susan Vaughan.

“This show is a really nice window into both professional and amateur visual artists and the kind of works they are doing,” said Herbert Holl, director of the UNT on the Square. “It is a really nice cross-section of our community artists. Chances are, you may see a friend or neighbor in the show.”

The organization behind the event, the Visual Arts Society of Texas, has been an active participant in the North Texas art scene since its founding in 1975 under its former name, the North Texas Area Arts League. Mindy Faubion, president of the Visual Arts Society of Texas, said that even through all the changes in the organization over the years, its goal to create and celebrate their art with the local community has not.

“It is really fun for this exhibit because it is our member’s exhibit, and we get to see the different kinds of medium that our members work in,” Faubion said. “We are not just a watercolor society or a pastel society. We are not specific in the medium, but rather we are an arts guild of sorts. We have members who work in all different mediums. When we get together like this, it is fun to talk about the different techniques, especially if it is not one that you are familiar with.”

With the exhibition drawing from the talent of a wide variety of local artists, the show features an equally diverse range of art pieces with a variety of techniques and themes. And while there are many types of pieces, the show has been judged as a whole with no categories for different types of artworks. Faubion said one of the harder aspects of picking a piece for a show is how much to play to the judge and how much an artist wants to remain true to their personal interests. Faubion participated in previous years but took this year off to help the competition’s juror.

“Our group is open to everybody,” Faubion said. “We have a student membership and a professional membership. Some of the artists in here are professional artists, but a good many of them are more than student artists and under professional artists. Some are working artists and some of them are just hobbyists.”

Unlike most gallery openings, the one for the member’s exhibition had money on the line in the form of cash prizes for the pieces rated highly by the juror. With money ranging from $100 to $500 in prizes, deciding which two pieces to submit, along with the juror’s selections, was a key decision.

While the Visual Arts Society of Texas is open to any artist who wishes to join its ranks, the exhibit currently being displayed focuses on its members, with the funding for the prizes and the cost of putting on the show coming from member dues and donations. The organization hosts many meetings and events throughout the year and has grown to be a close-knit community. Because of how closely linked members are, this event required the services of an outside juror to judge the pieces impartially.

The juror chosen for this show was Lynné Cravens, the gallery manager at Texas Christian University and UNT alumn who is also a contemporary self-portrait photographer. While she has some experience judging and approving art from her time working with 500x, a Dallas based artist owned co-op, Cravens said that was the first art show she has ever had the opportunity to judge officially.

“I think that it is a way for me to tell people there is really good art,” Cravens said. “As the juror, it is nice to have that freedom to say, ‘I am going to choose what I like.’ And while everyone may not like those things, I get to decide for a show like this that, ‘This is the best piece, it should win something.’ Actually having money to give people was such a great change of pace from thinking something is the best thing in the show but not being able to do anything about it.”

The judging process took roughly four hours and involved many passes by Cravens in order to ensure all of the pieces that were awarded prizes were truly the best the show had to offer. Cravens also explained that the judging of the show also challenged her to fairly judge works, even if they were not her personal favorite or if they were not what she would have done with the same medium.

The awards for the best pieces in the show were announced near the end of the public reception for the event, with awards for first through fourth place announced, as well as honorable mentions. The show also featured the “Pride of Denton Award,” which was given to Lin Hampton, who also won Best in Show. “The Pride of Denton” award was announced by Chris Watts, mayor of Denton.

“I was really concerned with picking the best work, in my opinion, even if they were all paintings,” Cravens said. “I do think it ended up being a good mixture of things, but I do like a lot of different types of art, so I am not too surprised that it was a mixture.”

Artists seeking more information about the Visual Arts Society of Texas or how to become a member can visit their website, www.VASTarts.org.

Featured Image: UNT on the Square Gallery hosts the 29th Annual Visual Arts Society of Texas Member’s and sponsored by the Visual Arts Society of Texas. The exhibition showcased local art from sculptures, paintings and photographs.

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Shane Monaco

Shane Monaco

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