Visitors to the Oklahoma State Fair can get a glimpse of what the future of the visual arts holds at the Oklahoma Student Art Exhibition, on view throughout the fair's 11-day run at Oklahoma Contemporary, 3000 Gen. Pershing Blvd.
More than 1,000 works of art from 70 Oklahoma schools were submitted for the annual show. A panel of three judges narrowed the submissions to 700. Several winners were then selected in elementary, middle school and high school divisions.
“When the works of art started coming in, our building was completely buried in art,” said Nancy Nortz, creative programs manager for the Oklahoma State Fair. “Along with her team of judges, Julia Kirt, executive director of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, had the tough task of going through all 1,000 pieces of art.
“They spent a lot of hours working through that process and then choosing the award winners. Every year we get exceptional pieces of art, but this year we added the high school category, which improved the level of the top pieces immensely.”
Another new addition for 2013 is a scholarship program for Oklahoma graduating seniors who have been accepted into an accredited college or university and are pursuing a degree in any visual art related field.
A preview of the Student Art Exhibition, which will include both live and silent auctions, will be held Wednesday at Oklahoma Contemporary. Fair officials will conduct a behind-the-scenes tram tour at 6 p.m.
A reception will be at 6:30 p.m. followed by the auction at 7:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets are available to the public, but they must be reserved in advance.
“We felt we couldn't pass up an opportunity to establish this event when we had this wonderful art as a vehicle,” Nortz said. “We'll auction off the top middle school and high school art pieces from this year's student exhibition. Students who gave permission for their works to be auctioned will receive half of the sale amount up to $250.
“We've also gotten five well-known Oklahoma artists who have each donated a piece of art to help us kick start our scholarship program. Our goal is to present between three and five $1,000 scholarships at next year's event. It will be nice to give the students a little help (with their tuition) and we hope to be able to increase how much we can offer as the program grows.”
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Details of the new scholarship program are still being worked out. An advisory committee plans to finalize everything after this year's fair concludes. Scholarship applications will be available in January.