Art League members to show their work

A plethora of entries makes this year’s exhibit the largest in the organization’s history.
Monday, June 14, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:31 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

With more than 100 pieces of art, the Columbia Art League had to put up temporary walls to accommodate the large number of submissions to its annual members’ art exhibit.

“Just by looking at the number of paintings and our wall space, you can tell this is going to be problematic,” league president Tom O’Connor said. “This is what we’ve got: a whole lot of artwork and not a lot of space. This is really an outpouring of work.”

The league encourages its 440 members to submit up to three pieces for the exhibit.

O’Connor said he noticed that the majority of the pieces submitted are paintings.

“Seems to be less fiber and sculpture work and a lot of 2-D work,” O’Connor said.

The large number of paintings restricts the amount of wall space for other pieces. In fact, the gallery space, which is divided into sales and exhibition areas, had to be rearranged to make room for all the artwork.

“We’ve got to squeeze things together,” said Jill Stedem, the league’s executive director. “We’re trying to condense the sales gallery to one wall.”

Stedem said this year’s exhibit is believed to be the largest the league has ever hosted.

“Usually our holiday Sparkling Arts show is the biggest,” she said. “We did a lot more advertising and calling for entries. But we are also one of the last places to hang art, especially paintings.”

Despite the large number of paintings, the exhibit features works in many mediums, including glass, metal and fibers.

Jenny Sennott, a weaver, submitted a table runner in this year’s show.

“It’s just the most satisfying medium for me,” Sennott said. “I started after my daughter was born 25 years ago. I enjoy starting with a string and ending with a lovely piece.”

Tootie Burns, a league member for four years, is exhibiting one of her mosaic pieces, a 2-foot-by-2-foot glass work that took her 30 hours to complete.

This is the first time she has submitted a piece for the members exhibition, and she said the Columbia art community is talented and strong.

“So many talented people live and work in mid-Missouri,” Burns said. “It’s a smaller community. This isn’t a national show, and people are so generous with their time for getting a piece ready. It takes a lot of time to get one piece ready for exhibit.”

O’Connor and another board member, Alec Ramlow, selected pieces for the show and are responsible for judging the exhibit.

“We try to take one piece from each artist,” O’Connor said. “The members show is supposed to be all-inclusive. If you submit a piece, it should get in the show. I am hoping with our space concerns we can continue that.”

O’Connor added that almost all the pieces in the exhibit are for sale and priced by the artist.

The opening reception for the exhibit will be held during the Twilight Festival this Thursday night, and the gallery will extend its hours to 8 p.m. The league will also conduct its annual meeting that night.

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