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The Art League

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A couple of days ago I had the honor to jury the annual monthly juried show for the 1600 plus artists who are members of the Art League.

About 600 works in all genres and medias were submitted for my review and I selected 120 of them for exhibition in the Art League Gallery on the first floor of the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria.

Jurying an art show is a very time consuming and arduous task. There were some absolutely brilliant works, a lot of OK work, and a few head scratchers. But the sublime pleasure of being surrounded by artwork from artists of all ranges, ages, and skills is unequaled. This is what the love of visual arts is all about!

As I’ve noted, seldom is the task of jurying an art show an easy task, and even though I have juried many shows over the last twenty years, I always approach the task with the realization that a lot of effort and work must be delivered in order to do a proper job.

And jurying a show for The Art League must be one of the most challenging tasks that a juror in our area faces. With such a rich pool of artists, by far one of the largest in the nation, abounding with talent, creativity and intelligence, a juror must come prepared to work hard and smartly.

And I’ve prepared for this task for many years and through many ways. As I’ve noted, I was a member of The Art League when I first moved to the Washington area many years ago, and believe me: I know first-hand the elation of being accepted and the sighs that accompany being rejected.

Then, as an art critic, I have been visiting and writing about Art League shows for many years. I know first-hand the amazing variety of art and artists, of styles and genres, of creativity and intelligence, as well as their weaknesses. And finally, as an art critic and curator, I have curated and organized over 100 shows in our area, and have been thus exposed to the work of many Art League members that way. I was ready for this task.

First Prize WinnerIf you were accepted: Congratulations! It was a challenging task.

By far, you’ll see that most of the work that I selected falls within the representational genre, which I allow to dominate my personal dialogue with art. I admire technical ability, but usually when properly coupled with smart composition, good visual ideas, intelligence, and creativity. The award winners all in one sense or another pushed some of these buttons, from the spectacular simplicity and elegance of Jim Steele’s photographs, to the bubbling burst of prowess of the very young Jenny Davis’ watercolors, to Jackie Saunders’ mastery of the figure.

The Art League’s monthly competitions are excellent ways to sharpen your artistic muscles, to learn to accept rejection, and to hone your instinct and experience in the art world. The best thing for art is more art – keep creating!

Oh yeah… the photo on the left won the First Prize!

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About Lenny Campello