Each summer, some of the top, most innovative artwork is amassed for one amazing show at the Arkansas Arts Center. This year, more than 70 juried works in mediums including, but certainly not limited to, photography, painting, sculpture and woodwork will be unveiled at the 57th Annual Delta Exhibition.

“Barn Crates” by George Dombek

“Barn Crates” by George Dombek

Dombek’s work has shown at the AAC; Birmingham Museum of Art; Butler Institute of American Art; Carnegie Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Art; and the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. He has received more than 80 awards, including recognition by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

“We’ve had a variety of art professionals in the juror position,” Lang said. “He or she can be a director of an art museum, curators, critics or practicing artists. George Dombek is a 2D watercolorist from northwest Arkansas, and has longstanding ties to visual arts in the state. He’s also a previous Delta award winner. Serendipitously, it was 40 years ago this year that he won that award as a graduate student at the University of Arkansas [at Fayetteville].”

You don’t have to be an established artist or work in a particular medium to be included in this juried show. The Delta Exhibition is open to all artists from beginners to career artists. It’s all subject to the taste of the juror, with the ultimate goal to find the best quality works.

Andrew Blanchard, “County Line/Urban Limit II,” 2013, screen print on found wood panel, 48 x 144 inches, 2014 Honorable Mention and Contemporaries Delta Award

Andrew Blanchard, “County Line/Urban Limit II,” 2013, screen print on found wood panel, 48 x 144 inches, 2014 Honorable Mention and Contemporaries Delta Award

The 2014 Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center

The 2014 Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center

The 2014 Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center

The 2014 Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center

“Each juror has his or her own criteria. What I would select is different from what any other juror would select,” Lang said. “There are a lot of tough decisions to be made, and there were undoubtedly very good works that weren’t chosen this year. This makes the Delta one of the most exciting exhibitions in the region. You never know what is going to be in it from year to year.”

Robin Tucker, “Grace and Faith (I Remember it All),” 2013, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 inches, 2014 Delta Award.

Robin Tucker, “Grace and Faith (I Remember it All),” 2013, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 inches, 2014 Delta Award.

There have been a number of students to grace the walls of the Delta gallery. “Last year there was a student from the University of Central Arkansas accepted to the Delta show,” Lang said. “George Dombek was a student at the UofA, and he, along with many others, have gone on to have very successful careers that were first launched through the Delta Exhibition.”

Dombek’s piece “White Whites,” a watercolor on paper, won a purchase award in 1975 for $750 and became part of the museum’s collection. “I remember distinctly that Thomas Armstrong, the director of the Whitney Museum [of American Art] was the judge that year, and they purchased a painting for $750. To put that in perspective, I was making $300 a month teaching as a graduate student. It was a big encouragement for me, and I thought it was going to be easy from there on out, that I had hit the jackpot. It took me close to another 20 years before I was able to make a living as an artist, but it was certainly great recognition,” Dombek said.

Both Lang and Dombek are looking forward to the opening of the Delta Exhibition on July 10. The award winners will be revealed during a reception for artists and AAC members on July 9.

Dombek will select the winner of the Grand Award for $2,500, and two $750 Delta Awards. The Contemporaries, an auxiliary membership group of the AAC, will select the winner of the $250 Contemporaries Delta award.

Jeff Sharp, “  Lightly,” 2013, tire tread, plywood, soap drum, 33 x 35 x 26 inches, 2014 Delta Award

Jeff Sharp, “ Lightly,” 2013, tire tread, plywood, soap drum, 33 x 35 x 26 inches, 2014 Delta Award

“This will be an excellent show that people will be excited to see,” Dombek said. “There is a wide range of work represented. People may associate my work with the taste, but I looked for what I thought was something that had a certain amount of visual interest — it didn’t matter if it was crafted well or not. I was looking for something I hadn’t seen before, for originality. I was looking for something that was thought-provoking, and I think I found that in a number of pieces.”

David Bailin, “Slippage,” 2014, charcoal, oil, pastel, and coffee on prepared paper, 78 x 83 inches, Grand Award Winner

David Bailin, “Slippage,” 2014, charcoal, oil, pastel, and coffee on prepared paper, 78 x 83 inches, Grand Award Winner

The 57th Annual Delta Exhibition organized by the AAC, located at Ninth and Commerce Streets in Little Rock, will be on display July 10 through Sept. 20. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tue. through Sat., and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, log on to arkarts.com.


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