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Area artists receive recognition for their work during members' exhibition
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Patrons view the Quinlan Visual Arts Center’s Members’ Exhibition during last year’s reception. - photo by Get Out file photo

67th annual Members’ Exhibition reception

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 16

Where: Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St. NE, Gainesville

Cost: Free

More info: www.quinlanartscenter.org or 770-536-2575

Many North Georgia artists go unrecognized for their work. But from Oct. 16 to Dec. 6, artists will step into the spotlight in Gainesville.

The Quinlan Visual Arts Center off Green Street will recognize area artists during its 67th annual Members’ Exhibition.

“It’s the biggest show that we host every year,” Quinlan Visual Arts Center Executive Director Amanda McClure said, noting last year’s event set the bar high.

Last year, more than 200 pieces were submitted to the exhibit and 250 people attended the opening reception, McClure said.

“Our membership is vast,” she said. “We have people in Northeast Georgia, Gainesville, Oakwood and Flowery Branch. But we also have a lot of artists in Atlanta who are members here that come up to participate in the show.”

The exhibition began with the Gainesville Art Association, a group of nine artists who got together and created art for a yearly presentation. Exactly 67 years later, the exhibition has grown to more than 20 times its original size.

Artists may submit one piece of artwork in any form by Friday as long as it has been created within the past five years and it has not previously been exhibited. Potential exhibitors must be a Quinlan member, but they may become members when dropping off artwork.

But the competition is secondary.

“It’s not so much a competition as a celebration,” McClure said. “We do give awards, but they’re ribbons. So it’s just for the honor of it.”

Awards will be given for Best of Show; first, second and third places; and honorable mentions.

Carol Christie won Best in Show with her abstract expressionism piece titled “Dreamscape.”

“Winning was very validating, especially because of the judge, who has a lot of credibility,” Christie said after the reception last year. “It gives me a lot of confidence.”

Judging this year’s exhibition will be Nichole Rawlings, director of Brenau University Galleries, who has a thorough background in art and art history. She has a master’s in art history and interned at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

“She is bringing new life into their program over there. She is very skilled and fun to work with,” McClure said. “She was a natural choice to help judge this exhibition because she’s so knowledgeable.”

Although it is her first time judging at an exhibition of this level, Rawlings knows what to look for in artwork.

“I will consider the basic principles and elements of design and how the artist worked with or against them,” said Rawlings, adding she will look at each piece “individually and not in comparison to others.”

An artist herself, Rawlings said she thought of herself as an artist before she became an art historian.

“I have participated as an artist in juried shows before and look forward to the challenge of being on the other side of that,” she said.

The winners will be announced at the Oct. 16 reception, which will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Quinlan.

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