Columbia College exhibit shows paper’s artistic uses
Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:08 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Don’t throw away price tags — they can be turned into a work of art.

M. Laine Wyatt of DeLand, Fla., used old price tags to create a jacket for the annual “Paper in Particular” art exhibit under way at Columbia College.

More than 1,000 people from all over the country submitted slides of their artwork to compete for a spot in the 25th annual competition. The winner, to be announced before the exhibit ends, receives a one-person show in Larson Art Gallery funded by Columbia College.

David Leach, professor emeritus of art and art history at Wright University in Dayton, Ohio, judged the selections and narrowed the field to 96 pieces. Artists pay $15 to submit their work.

The exhibit features art from every genre, including prints, drawings, photographs, watercolors, collages and oil paintings.

“There isn’t anything in mid-Missouri like this,” said Ben Cameron, an art professor at Columbia College. “Washington University in St. Louis does something like this, but our art exhibition is on a national level.”

The competition is serious, but the rules of the art exhibit are simple: Artists must use paper in their works.

“By requiring artists to work with paper, we leave it open to receive the highest quality of art,” Cameron said.

Although most of the submissions are made by students and teachers, the exhibit is a professional show. Cameron said the exhibit is comparable to any art studio in St. Louis or Kansas City. Although the pieces cannot be bought on the spot, many can be purchased later.

Columbia College’s art department has gained national recognition because of the paper exhibit, Cameron said, and between 700 and 800 people visit it each year. More than 300 people gathered to celebrate its opening Feb. 1.

“I am thoroughly impressed,” said Jessica Lawrence, a senior psychology and forensic science major at Columbia College who views the exhibit each year. “The quality and array of the work is wonderful.”

During her visit Monday, Lawrence was drawn to a charcoal of an older nude woman, “Morning,” by Michael Lovinguth of Kirksville. She said it reminded her that she can expect the unexpected each year.

“I can always find at least one piece that pushes my emotional limits,” Lawrence said.

Cameron said the quality of work this year well surpasses those of previous years. However, he maintains that the exhibit has a much greater purpose than aesthetic appreciation.

“This show is meant to teach. It’s a learning experience,” Cameron said. “It gives students an idea of what (type of art) people are doing all over the country. It teaches students to find the good in all artwork.”

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