Art Attack – ESSA Fall Art Show
The Eureka Springs School of the Arts recently held its Fall Art Show and it was great to see longtime Eureka Springs artist, Karen Foster, receive Best in Show for her “Daily Egg Project.” We have an abundance of talented ceramic artists in town, but Karen is one who truly turns craft into fine art.
I was also pleased to see poet David Zimmermann awarded First Place 3D for his “Blue People Gather.” David has constructed dozens of dioramas as settings for his Blue People; the hundreds of tiny, sculpted, hand-painted porcelain figures, he manages to individually embed with distinct personalities. These, combined with one or two lines of clever prose, collectively give the viewer a little sardonic punch to the gut.
I have participated in the Fall Art Show a few times over the years and can attest to the hard work involved in setting up and standing for hours on end with a faint smile trying to engage friends and total strangers in conversation about one’s work.
The show is not a big moneymaker for the majority of artists and most are happy when they can at least pay off their booth fee. Many do it to support ESSA, their friends and fellow artists and to receive some exposure for their work.
It’s always nice to get recognition for one’s art, and over the years guest judges have been invited to judicate. This year’s judge was Dayton Castleman, the more than qualified arts and education curator at Crystal Bridges. Artists awarded this round should be especially proud.
Of course money always sweetens the pot and Karen received $300 for BIS, and prize money was also given for First, Second and Third Place in both 2 and 3 Dimensional categories.
Ironically, I think the only time they did not give out cash awards was the year I won Best in Show. I remember having to put on my best “ being honored is enough face” when I knew my friend Zeek Taylor took the grand prize and a thousand bucks the year before.
Attendance was down during this year’s show and I think ESSA Executive Director Peggy Kjelgaard is wisely rethinking the timing of the show for next year. Maybe holding it during Black Friday, when the majority of people are camped out waiting in lines for flat–screen TVs is not the best time to sell art.
Despite the Inn of the Ozarks generic setting, the Fall Art Show has the potential to become an important, juried and well attended art event in NWA, and if anyone can turn it around, I would bet on Ms. Peggy.
Also congrats to Jamie Froelich who took first in 2D and to Zeek Taylor and Robert Norman for second and third place – and to Frank Egan and Lorna Trigg for second and third in 3D.