January brings an exciting time to the Education Department at the Brooks when the staff embarks on the annual Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards. Each year, nearly 2,000 works of art by 7th through 12th grade students from the tri-state area are reviewed by a panel of prestigious jurors. These judges will award 75 gold keys and 125 silver keys, as well as $8000 in cash prizes and scholarships. Another 100 art and photography portfolios by graduating seniors are critiqued by representatives from Arkansas State University, Christian Brothers University, Memphis College of Art, and University of Memphis to be considered for tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships.
The jurors for the 2010 Scholastic program include local photographer Murray Riss, who established the photography department at the Memphis College of Art and taught there from 1968 to 1986. Les Christensen is a sculptor and installation artist whose work has been shown in museums and galleries across the country (including a regional juried exhibition at the Brooks in 2001). Ms. Christensen is currently the director of the Bradbury Gallery at Arkansas State University. Bryna Bobick is a mixed media artist who has taught elementary art, and is currently serving as Assistant Professor of Art Education at The University of Memphis. Edwin McSwine is a former Mid-South Scholastic Art Award recipient and an up-and-coming visual artist. His work can be seen locally at the Fed Ex Forum and the Dave Wells Community Center where he completed a commission by the City of Memphis. Larry Edwards has taught at colleges and universities in five states, with his most recent appointment as a painting professor at the University of Memphis. Edwards retired in 1997 after twenty years at the University.
The teachers and students in our region spend many weeks and months preparing for their submissions. Beginning in August, teachers work hard every day to bring out the creativity, technical skill, and passion for art in their students. Also putting in countless hours to mount their students’ works of art, fill out their submission forms, and delivering the artworks to the Brooks (sometimes from more than an hour’s drive way), the region’s art teachers demonstrate a high level of commitment to their students’ success and achievement.
And the Brooks is grateful for the countless volunteer hours and financial support that is provided by the Brooks Museum League. Running like a well-oiled machine, the Brooks League volunteers are at the museum every day for two weeks (and beyond) to assist with receiving the works of art, sorting, judging, packing up the works to be returned, organizing the exhibition catalog, mounting the exhibition, and hosting the award ceremony. It is a Herculean task that simply could not happen without their dedication and support.
And the end result is a magnificent exhibition of student artwork that will be on view from January 23 through February 7, 2010. Featuring 200 works of art, the exhibition is always a highlight on the museum’s exhibition schedule. The students whose work received an award will be recognized in a ceremony on Saturday, January 31, where award medals, cash prizes, and college scholarships will be handed out to those incredibly talented students in our region.
This entry was posted by the wonderful Kathy Dumlao, Assistant Curator of Education.