The line ran all the way from Carnegie’s stately double doors to the Broad Street sidewalk.
They were painters and sculptors, weavers and metalworkers, all of them artists from nine surrounding counties who were waiting to submit their pieces to the Prairie Lakes Regional Juried Art Exhibit.
Or, in other words, one of the most anticipated area art shows of the year.
“I’ve never entered,” said Laura Veenhuis, clutching a pair of sylphic, almost ethereal, monochromatic explorations of feminine forms. “It’d be pretty cool to win.”
The 20th annual Prairie Lakes exhibit opens today at Carnegie with 104 of the most skillfully rendered and technically proficient pieces selected for display by juror Joanne Price, a well-known Minnesota printmaker. She culled the final exhibit from 226 submitted works.
The exhibit will remain on display through June 8. The opening reception will be held May 20. Visitors to the gallery before May 20 (as well as those who attend the reception) can vote for the People’ Choice Award that will be announced during the reception.
The top prize winners, however, have already been announced.
Sheryl Paulson received first place and $200 for her ceramic sculpture “Nesting Whatchamacallit,” a lithe and swirling piece accented by spots of turquoise and a sense of stewardship.
Vicki Petersen earned the $150 second prize for her ornate and minutely detailed tapestry “Catbirds: Doomed By Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.” Claudia Faith earned the $125 third prize for her boldly colored acrylic “All We Like Sheep” while Essie Mostaghimi earned the $100 fourth prize for “Purple Heart,” his touching acrylic portrait of a young woman holding the eponymous military medal before a poppy-filled meadow.
The $75 fifth place prize went to Bryce Padgett for “Light Tower,” a sculpture comprised of seven glass bowls, each filled with a light bulb embedded into a formation of rock.
Ten more artists received $50 certificates of merit while the People’s Choice Award also receives $50.
Bob Vogel didn’t win any cash for his stained glass submission “Summer in Colorado.” But the image depicting a woman of satin countenance looking over her shoulder was selected for the final exhibit.
The color-blind artist whose wife had to choose the richly colored glass for him said the public exposure is just as well. The artisan owns Stained Glass Studio in St. Peter and said he decided to participate in the exhibit for the first time to seek new audiences for his work.
“I’m trying to market myself a little more,” he said.
Amanda Gullixson has entered her retro-themed work in the exhibit before, but has never won. This year, she submitted a piece that harkens to 1950s advertisements -- her slogan reads: “Just one pill keeps me on an even keel all day” -- and it was selected for the final show.
“I just love anything from the 1950s,” she said.
But for those artists whose pieces aren’t selected for the exhibit, the rejection serves as a natural motivation to try again next year.
Tice James, a South Central College graphic design major, said he found his painting style while living in Mankato as a student. Classifying the art he created back home in South Dakota as somewhat “childish,” James submitted two of his recent works -- both cityscapes that feature textured elements as well as his penchant for long, almost tassle-like, strokes.
He worked on the paintings periodically for more than two years and submitted them (like many of the artists) with the hope of cashing in the winnings to help advance his art.
“For me, if I won, I’d go out and buy some canvases,” said the artist whose submitted works were painted on large pieces of cardboard. “And then I’d start working on a three-piece series.”