Western North Carolina has one of the highest per-capita percentages of creative professionals in the country, and its strength in the visual arts is one of the deepest in the nation. People are drawn here to experience the area’s spirit, as well as to become part of the community of artists and craftspeople. In 2008 our magazine decided to host a contest aimed at finding the area’s most intriguing visual artists and introducing them to our readership. In the process, we partnered with the Asheville Area Arts Council and used the event as a vehicle to raise funds and generate exposure for their work.
We were inundated—and rather flattered—by the response we received after putting out the call for submissions. Over 150 local artists entered the competition. Out of that field, a panel of judges selected 10 artists that were featured in our magazine and in the AAAC’s month-long show.
“Getting a beautiful two page spread in a regional magazine is quite a feather, and I still have people tell me that they saw us in some magazine. I've gotten congratulations from numerous people, and it is clearly notched up our status of recognition and professionalism.” – Libby Mijanovich, fiber astist
“Being featured in the magazine gave me and my work a lot of exposure that it has never gotten before, and wouldn't have received otherwise. I have shows lined up because of being in On the Verge, which will hopefully generate even more shows in the surrounding area. I've even had a few private collectors contact me. I'm very thankful for how the exhibition has helped me move into the direction of being able to make a living as a working artist.” — Megan Van Deusen, graphite artist
In to ensure that every On the Verge entrant gets the most amount of exposure from this competition, we’re putting samples of everyone’s work on our website as part of the People’s Choice Winner review process. It’s just another way for us to show off the depth of talent around Western North Carolina.
All On the Verge finalists will be featured in the June 2010 Arts issue of our magazine and on our website. That includes a having a profile article written about their creative experience, a photo shoot with one of WNC magazine’s feature photographers, and video for online presentation. In short, WNC’s goal is to put the On the Verge artists’ work in front of thousands of readers in our region and beyond in a multitude of media platforms.
WNC magazine aims to promote our arts scene as a whole by collaborating with the area’s leading organizations. This year’s partner in On the Verge, the Flood Gallery & Fine Arts Center, will host a group showing of all the finalists’ work in June 2010.
The month-long exhibit in Asheville’s River Arts District will be punctuated by a series of numerous events that include: a VIP party, public opening and celebration to be held during the weekend of the River Arts Studio Stroll, artist workshops/forums, and a special closing reception.
All artists’ works will be available for sale to the public during the show, and a percentage of each sale will be donated to support the nonprofit gallery and its community enrichment programs.
WNC Magazine and the Flood Gallery Fine Arts Center have teamed up to host the 2nd Annual On The Verge competition, aimed at providing first-time exposure for up-and-coming artists in our region. WNC magazine will feature the selected artists, and the Flood gallery will host a gallery exhibit of their work during the month of June 2010.
Any emerging artists who have resided in the WNC area for at least a year, who have not yet had a solo exhibit at a large gallery, or have yet to develop a strong national audience are invited to submit their work. All artworks must be available for a month-long exhibit and must be available for sale with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting the Flood Gallery, a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to promote the arts in Asheville through the exhibition of established and emerging artists from all over the world. Through artist-residency programs, public events and workshops, and educational activities,.
Deadline for Submission: January 15
Notification of Selected Artists: TBA
Preview Party: TBA
River Distric Studio Stroll Kickoff: TBA
Gallery Exhibit: Throughout May
The competition is open to all artists who have not yet had their work featured in a significant solo exhibit or have yet developed a strong national audience. Applicants must have resided in the WNC area for at least a year prior to entry to be eligible. Any visual art is welcome, including but not limited to painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, and photography. All art pieces must be available for sale during a month-long gallery showing should they be chosen for exhibition. All work must be original and completed within the past two years.
Submitting an entry to this contest constitutes an agreement with all conditions for this show. WNC magazine (GulfStream Communications, Inc.) and Flood Gallery Fine Arts Center, herein referred to as “sponsors,” assume the right to photograph any accepted work for publicity or catalog purposes. All selected works will be available for sale during the exhibition, and 30% of the sales price of all works sold will be donated to the Asheville Area Arts Council.
Sponsors will handle work with the utmost care, but will provide insurance coverage for damage or loss to fine art pieces only if due to sponsors’ negligence. The amount of coverage will be limited to the repair or replacement value, as stated by chosen artists in advance of the exhibition.
All exhibited works will be sold at the price indicated by chosen artists in their submission forms. Sponsors will not permit changes in price. Thirty percent will be retained for each work sold during the exhibit and donated to the Flood Gallery Fine Arts Center, a 501-c3 organization. All artists featured in the show must review/fill out a copy of Flood’s sales agreement before their work will be exhibited.
Winners will be notified by telephone or e-mail no later than February 12, 2010.
Do I Qualify?
So what’s a “significant solo show” anyway? How do I know if I have a significant national audience? Those are tough questions that a lot of artists are asking. After all, this isn’t to say that your past showings are insignificant by any means. And every sale for an up-and-coming artist is a significant one.
While we are keeping what is and isn’t a significant solo show up to our discretion, the basic guideline is this: if you haven’t yet had your own show in a museum or gallery that exhibits nationally or internationally recognized artists (and if you’re still looking for a way to make artwork the bigger half of your tax statement), then you’re exactly what On the Verge is looking for.
Here are some examples of the answers we have given to the many “Do I qualify” questions that come to our office:
Q: “I’ve been an artist for X years, and I moved to Western North Carolina two years ago. I had a pretty good career where I used to live, and I had some solo shows there, too. But I haven’t had a solo showing in WNC yet.”
A: What we’re looking for in On the Verge are local artists with a strong body of work but who are still looking for their first substantial introduction to the public. So, if you already have an established career as an artist, the answer is no.
Q: “I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m starting to get invited to submit an occasional piece in shows outside of this area. I’ve never had my own solo show yet, but people are starting to see my work. Can I still be part of On the Verge?”
Yes. It sounds like you are literally “on the verge” and we want more people to see your work.
Q: “I rent a booth at Woolworth Walk/Kress/etc., but I’ve never had my own show. Does that count me out?”
A: No, marketing your work to the buying public doesn’t disqualify you. If you’re still working towards that first solo gallery show, you’re welcome to apply.
Q: “I’ve never had my own solo show before. But I’m often invited to hang my work in commercial galleries, and I’ve developed a base of regular patrons (who aren’t my parents!) who buy/commission my work.”
A: It sounds like that DIY attitude has taken you pretty far, and you have established a solid career already. Pat yourself on the back, and let someone newer take a shot at On the Verge. (BTW, at this point you can probably score a good solo show if you just ask the right person.)
Q: “What if I had a solo showing at a restaurant? My work was there for an entire month—and it’s a really nice restaurant.”
A: While we love to see the exposure our local businesses give to rising artists, this contest is a chance to present your work in a setting where food is served only on opening night. So yes, you’re eligible to apply.
Q: “I had some pieces included in a group show that was featured in (insert prestigious local commercial gallery name here). Can I still enter?
A: Yes. If you have been part of a show that was not entirely your own, you still qualify.
Q: “I had a solo exhibit at (insert prestigious local commercial gallery name here). But the space was smaller than I would have liked, and the hors d’oeuvres weren’t so good.”
A: If the commercial galleries are taking notice of your work, that means you’re already on your way to making a name for yourself. Keep doing what you’re doing, and give someone else a shot with On the Verge. Now, if you tell us (and can back it up) that they stuck your exhibit in the basement or the janitor’s closet, give us a call in advance and we’ll gladly reconsider.
Q: “Part of my MFA program required that I host a solo show of my work. Can I still enter?”
A: You’re safe. On the Verge is also about getting your foot in the door with the buying public, so we’re not going to hold an academic exhibit against you.
Q: My work has been in a solo show at a local nonprofit art gallery (or the main gallery in the building where my studio is located). Will my submission get rejected because of that?
A: Probably not. We’re glad to see you’re getting exposure in your immediate area. Now it’s time for the rest of WNC to find out about you.
Q: “I work with digital media (or audio, or projection) to create works of art that are gallery installations. I consider it visual art. Can I enter On the Verge?” That’s a tricky one, but we will say yes IF (and there’s always an “if”) your work can stand alone in a gallery for the month-long show, delivering its full effect without required attendance/participation from someone—i.e. it can’t involve live performance art or require someone to flip the tape over every 45 minutes. It also must be available for sale. This is a fundraiser, after all.
If you have any questions about whether or not you qualify to compete in On the Verge, call Eric Seeger at the WNC magazine office: (828) 210-5030.