Community art gallery gives local artists platform to display work

Story by Gisselle HernandezContributing writer

Members of the Murray community gathered at the Robert O. Miller Conference Center to admire the Murray Art Guild’s 27th annual Visual Evidence Exhibition on Saturday.

The Murray Art Guild, or MAG, is a community visual art center that was established in 1967.

It gives local artists a platform to show their work.

In the spring of each year, the MAG hosts the Visual Evidence Exhibit.

Entries are submitted digitally for a fee of $15 for one or two entries. Any can enter and have a chance to be chosen by a judge to be displayed at the exhibition.

This year, nearly 90 pieces were submitted by not only locals, but neighboring residents as well such as students from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee.

The juror for this year’s exhibit, Shannon Duffy, professor of art education, chose pieces that made the exhibition flow as a whole.

“I looked at works that speak and interplay with each other,” Duffy said.

The exhibit displayed different forms of art, such as photography, sculptures, oil paintings and mixed media.

Artists and art enthusiasts alike roamed through the exhibit pausing at different pieces, admiring the talent of artists of all ages.

The price of some pieces ranged from $100 to more than $1,000, while others were not for sale.

The president of the MAG board, Melissa Shown, said the purpose of such exhibitions is to raise awareness of the talent Murray has.

I once saw a meme on social media that read, the Earth with out ‘art’ is just ‘Eh.’” Shown said.  “I think that sentiment would hold true if the community of Murray didn’t have places like the Murray Art Guild.”

Debi Danielson, executive director of the MAG, presented awards at the exhibition at 7 p.m.

Tom Kelly’s oil painting on canvas, “Winged Woman,” displaying a woman dressed colorfully with wings sprouting from her back, won an Honorable Mention award.

Another Honorable Mention award went to Annette Mooso Sitton, for “Lower Trail II,” which was a mixed media art.

Second place in photography was awarded to Stephen Kleinatland for his piece “Alone in the Wood” and first place in photography was awarded to Nancy Green-Smith for “The Sentinel,” a black and white photograph of a tree by Kentucky Lake.

In the 3D category, David McBeth’s “Bottle”, a vase-like piece made of clay, won second place. First place 3D was awarded to Rosemary Kandt’s mixed media piece, “Coat Flower Necklace.”

Frances Swells “and Soooo, I said,” which was a mixed water media piece, received second place for mixed media, First place Mixed Media was awarded to Carol Harlan, for her piece “Falling Into Autumn.”

In the paintings category, Sandy Sasso received second place for her piece titled “Mike Rock,” which was oil on canvas.

First place was awarded to Diane Shaw, for her piece “Lake Front,” also an oil on canvas painting.

In the drawings category, Joy Thomas received first place for “The Nape of her Neck,” which was pastel on paper.

The last award presented for the night was the Best of Show award, which was received by Wyatt Severs, for his piece “Table,” which was a table made of wood.

This particular piece was not for sale and according to Severs took two days to complete, which he said was a challenge.

“It’s an honor to win this award,” Severs said. “(There are) many fine objects in here so I feel very privileged.”

Shown said artistic outlets such as these elevate the quality of living in Murray.

“I think people in the community should take advantage of the resources the Murray Art Guild offers,” she said. “Not only does it serve as a source of inspiration for creative expression, it functions as a space for community gathering where the exchange of ideas is encouraged.”