The Will's Creek Competition & Exhibition of Fine Art is one of the signature events of the Allegany Arts Council, celebrating contemporary art in a variety of mediums. Now more than 20 years since its inception, the show continues to stretch the boundaries of contemporary art, showcasing artists who push the limits, and seek innovation in their artistry. The exhibition will run from September 4-October 2, 2021 and will include the work of 54 artists from 22 states throughout the United States. A Public Opening and Awards Presentation with 2021 juror, Laura Roulet, will be held Saturday, September 11, 2021, from 6-8PM, and is free and open to the public. In addition, the Arts Council will host a special Livestream Event on Saturday, September 18, 2021, from 6-7PM where we will talk with both the juror and the winners of this year’s competition, taking a deeper dive into their work. Look for the livestream on Facebook Live and our YouTube channel.
Artists are the antenna of society. They are observers and reporters. They are sensitive to change and the environment. Deep into the second year of a global pandemic, what kind of art is being created? As juror of this year’s competition, I observed a sense of isolation, quietness, sometimes darkness, and also many works reflecting a mood of intimacy. We have delved into ourselves and immersed ourselves in a more constricted world. Perhaps contained to just our immediate household or community. We’re all masked and looking over our shoulders.
Whether by inclination or necessity, we’ve been spending a lot more time outdoors. Many artists sought out the comfort that can be found in nature’s beauty. Landscape painting is a time-honored genre, which is well-represented here. But photography particularly lends itself to instantly capturing ephemeral light, color and changing seasons. Some mixed media artists incorporated interesting natural materials such as a bird’s feather, seashell, or beeswax into their work. The focus on our natural world is also a reminder of the inevitability of climate change, which is rapidly accelerating and impacting our lives more with each passing season. Art can raise awareness and even shape events. Art can provide a respite from anxiety, or a window to peer out from our respective bubbles. Perhaps the artwork in this exhibit will provoke recognition and open reflection.
--Laura Roulet, Juror