Wednesday, 15 May 2013 16:14

Southwest Open organizers looking for submissions

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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For nearly a decade, Art Gallery of Swift Current has been giving local aspiring artists the unique opportunity to show their works in an exhibition presented at their West Wing Gallery location, from July 5 to September 2.


Right now, event organizers are looking for this year’s participants.
The Southwest Open began as an adjudicated OSAC show, but AGSC was more interested in emphasizing the exhibition component, which was more significant for these up-and-coming artists.
“We also wanted to market this exhibition at a time of year that would be more beneficial to the community,” added AGSC Director and Curator Kim Houghtaling. “The people who live here obviously have an interest in coming to the show, but we also wanted to cater to people who are visiting – a lot of people are in town for the summer for family reasons, time off from school, and they want to catch up on what's happening here.”
The exhibition, which used to be held at AGSC's location in the RC Dahl Centre, was moved to their West Wing Gallery two years ago. The new facility provided Houghtaling with the unique challenge of curating a professional exhibition program alongside a professional development exhibition program in one space.
“We were really happy to move, and to have this gallery open in the prime summer season when people want to see local art,” he said. “There's easily a couple hundred artists here in the southwest, and we want them to feel featured and help them make determinations about what they want the public to see.”
It also gives these amateur artists the chance to discuss their work with informed art professionals, to help them grow. Already, Houghtaling has seen several good examples of aspiring professionals and amateurs who have developed a professional practice after participating in the show.
“It really has worked, and we get a lot of artists who come back to participate again and again,” added Houghtaling. “Every year it's a bit different, because some artists don't submit for a few years at a time. That means that every so often, we get a ton of submissions, and other years, maybe a little less. A lot of people take advantage of this opportunity, but just don't show every year.”
The gallery is currently accepting submissions from local artists who are interested in being a part of this year's Southwest Open. For more information, visit www.artgalleryofswiftcurrent.org, or call 306-778-2736.
“This is such a valuable opportunity for these artists, because an artwork really isn't finished until you share it with an audience,” Houghtaling noted. “Having these shows gives our local artists a consistent opportunity to fulfill the art-making that they are doing.”

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