Students invited to submit art for juried show

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

For its ninth year, the Shelby County Arts Council has opened up the submission process for a rare chance for Alabama High School students to be involved in a juried art competition.

Students interested in becoming professional artists will have the opportunity in this competition, to be judged by professors from Montevallo and UAB, as well as other professionals that will critique their work, and potentially reward them at no cost to enter the contest thanks to businesses sponsoring the event.

Submissions are invited from every county in the state, and historically, up to 300 students from 27 high schools have brought submissions to the council. Of those, 60 are chosen for the competition, and from those, winners are selected from each category. With more space being available this year at the new Shelby County Arts Center building, there are plans to expand that number.

We asked Executive Director Bruce Andrews what advice he had to give students that might be lacking in self-confidence when it came to entering their work into the contest. He told us, “I would say that the path to becoming the artist you want to be involves critique from trusted, qualified sources.” He went on to say, “The critique you get on social media won’t help you. If you are going to have a professional artist’s experience, you need to be judged by professional artists that can help you achieve the next level.”

Andrews also told us that in addition to having their work displayed in a professional gallery space, it is an opportunity for the young people entering to network and get advice from experts from Montevallo and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The first step for interested students is to enter their submissions digitally before midnight on Feb. 20, 2020. They can do this by going to Shelbycountyartscouncil.com and clicking on the tab that says, “Happenings.” Categories include painting, drawing, 3D design, photography and mixed media.

From these entries, a panel of judges will make selections that make it to the next round of judging. From there, students will be contacted as to the next step in the process in which their work will be judged live and in person.

The final exhibit will be available for viewing on-site in the Arts Council’s new gallery space from March 23 to April 19. Business hours for the gallery are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions can be directed to info@shelbycountyartscouncil.com.