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Art critic series aims to raise profile of Shreveport-area artists

Pam Atchison2.JPG
Kate Archer Kent

The Shreveport Regional Arts Council has received a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to bring in a San Diego-based art critic to judge the works of local artists in an open exhibition. The art critic series is a two-year grant that will touch 300 visual artists.

The council’s executive director Pam Atchison said the only stipulation for artists who wish to enter is that they be listed in the Northwest Louisiana Artists' Directory by Feb. 22. She said artists may submit one piece of work for the show “Critical Mass.”

"This show was designed from the beginning to say that a critic will be here," Atchison said. "So, present the one piece of artwork that you think is the most compelling, that will get that critic’s attention and encourage the critic to select you for a one-person show."

The critic will choose the Best of Show winner who will receive a $2,000 prize and the promise of a solo exhibition at artspace in Shreveport. The critic will return for that show and give a critique of the artist’s body of work; and in turn, Atchison said, write a review for a national journal.

Shreveport Artist Rachel Stuart-Haas earned Best of Show in the 2010 art critic series. She said she especially appreciated the feedback, and hadn't received such expert attention paid to her work since art school. She hopes fellow artists rise to the challenge.

“I think that any kind of healthy competition between artists in Shreveport is just going to encourage more and more people to come here and show, and do better. So, I hope everybody joins in and participates," Stuart-Haas said.

“Critical Mass” will open Feb. 28 at artspace. The critic will give a talk the following evening. The exhibition’s opening coincides with the opening of the new headquarters for the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, called Central ArtStation, located in a refurbished 1920s era former downtown fire station.