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Local artists featured in southeast competition

Multiple local artists, along with artists across the southeast were chosen to have their art on display at LaGrange Art Museums bi-annual competition. 

The LaGrange Southeast Regional chose 136 pieces of artwork from almost 700 submissions to be on display at both the LaGrange Art Museum and LaGrange College’s Lamar Dodd Art Center.  

“This is the first time I’ve entered, and it was a nice surprise to be exhibited,” said local artist Sarah Swanson. “My art is graphite on paper and a combination of realism and surrealism. I melded together a conglomeration of several different images that I found in old books and magazines and encyclopedias to make a story.” 

Two of Swanson’s pieces ‘Induce Madness’ and ‘With Malice aforethought’ are on display at the LaGrange Art Museum. Swanson also has a piece displayed at Lamar Dodd called ‘Bummed and Looming.’ 

According to Deputy Director Lauren Oliver, for this year’s show a diverse mix of art are on displayed at both art locations. 

“This exhibition started with the LaGrange National Competition in 1967,” Oliver said. “We’ve had the exhibition in this building [LaGrange Art Museum] since we’ve been in it, which was about 1978. The college has always had photography, sculpture and mixed media. We’ve always had the paintings, prints and drawings. So, this year we wanted to do something different.” 

Oliver said mixing them at both locations gave more dimensions and playfulness. 

“But this is only the third exhibition where we’ve focused on artists in the southeast,” Oliver said. 

The Callaway Foundation gives $10,000 to both the LaGrange Art Museum and LaGrange College’s Lamar Dodd Art Center to buy art from the show. 

The juror for this year’s competition was Curlee Raven Holton, executive director of the David C. Driskell Center and senior artist-in-residence in the Department of Art at the University of Maryland. As a printmaker and painter, Holton has exhibited his artwork throughout the U.S. and abroad for more than 25 years. He is also the founding director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

“It’s great to have a huge representation of local artist,” Oliver said. “The juror process was completely blind so he was not seeing people’s names or where they are from. That is really a testament to the local artists.. I think it’s one of the largest local representations we have had at this exhibition.” 

LaGrange Art Museum Executive Director Laura Jennings said that this competition has gotten bigger and better every year.

“The best part is collaborating with LaGrange College and for our local residents to see the kind of art that is being made across the southeast,” Jennings said. “It’s educational for our community, as well as for the staff, the board and our usual visitors.” 

The art work will be on display and for sale at both locations until April 18.