NASAA Notes: December 2022

December 6, 2022

Maine, Oklahoma, South Dakota: Capitol Exhibits

Capitol art exhibits are a strategy state arts agencies adopt to showcase and celebrate the arts as an important part of state policy and public pride. Exhibiting artworks or cultural events in state capitol buildings helps to raise public awareness about the arts, create visibility for local artists and educate elected officials about the role of the state arts agency. The following examples from Maine, Oklahoma and South Dakota highlight programs that elevate arts in historic state buildings.

Maine: Veterans’ Art Exhibition Celebration

group of cheerful people, representing a mix of genders, ages and ethnicities pose with quilts of various patterns.

Veterans are presented with custom-made Quilts of Valor during the Maine Arts and Humanities Day celebrations. Photo courtesy of Maine Arts Commission

The arts are known to play a vital role in supporting active-duty service members and veterans by enhancing their health and well-being. In 2015, the Maine legislature passed a provision declaring November 1 as Veterans in the Arts and Humanities Day. The celebration honoring veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and their service includes promotion of significant contributions they made to the arts and humanities and public awareness of the talent of those veterans now working in a variety of artistic fields. To honor this day, on November 1, 2022, the Maine Arts Commission partnered with the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services, The Peace Gallery and Quilts of Valor to celebrate veteran artists at the State Capitol Complex in Augusta. The event featured talks by eminent arts and veterans’ services leaders, and the unveiling of the State of Maine Honorable Service plaque. Each participating veteran was presented a custom-made Quilt of Valor as an expression of gratitude for their service. The event also included a walking tour through the exhibits at the Burton M. Cross Building and the Maine Arts Commission that displayed 36 artworks from 20 veteran artists. The self-guided tour will be open to public through December 30, 2022. For more information, contact Maine Arts Commission Director of Special Projects Khristina Kurasz.

Oklahoma: Governor’s Gallery

Artist Michael Elizondo, Jr. standing with a smile and folded arms in front of a colorful artwork painted on a brick wall.

Artist Michael Elizondo, Jr. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Arts Council

The Oklahoma Capitol in Oklahoma City is home to four art galleries, managed by the Oklahoma Arts Council and exhibiting works of current and past Oklahoma artists from around the state. The galleries were closed for nearly six years as the Capitol was undergoing restoration work. Three of the galleries, the North, East and Governor’s galleries, reopened in fall 2022. The galleries rotate exhibitions by current artists every 60 days. Artist portfolios are reviewed by the Curator of Capitol Exhibitions and are presented to the Capitol Preservation Commission on an annual rolling basis for exhibition consideration. Criteria for artist selection include artist excellence and artistic merit in addition to the artist’s connection to the state and statewide representation. The newly reopened North Gallery is showcasing Field of Vision, by artist Rachel Hayes. Through her exhibition of textile based works, Hayes hopes to bring a sense of place to the viewer. Michael Elizondo, Jr.’s, In One Accord exhibits in the East Gallery draw on his Cheyenne and Arapaho heritage for beadwork-inspired designs created using Prismacolor pencil oils and acrylics. Karin Walkingstick’s exhibition at the Governor’s Gallery features hand-coiled and stone-burnished pottery reflecting her Cherokee culture. The Betty Price Gallery (named in honor of a longtime Oklahoma Arts Council executive director and cultural advocate) is home to the Oklahoma State Art Collection, which features work by notable artists who were born in, were trained in or have produced a significant portion of their work in the state. The Betty Price Gallery is slated to reopen in 2023. To find out more, contact Oklahoma Arts Council Director of Visual and Public Art Jarica Walsh.

South Dakota: Governor’s Student Art Competition

A poster showing a capitol building dome with a caption that reads ”Governor's Student Art Competition” on a yellow background with shades of green.The South Dakota Arts Council (SDAC) and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem launched the Governor’s Student Art Competition in 2020. The 2022 program call was opened during National Arts in Education Week, September 11 – 17. The program stemmed from an informational meeting between SDAC and Governor Noem after her inauguration in January 2019. The annual competition invited participation from all South Dakota K-12 students, who could enter original artworks designed to celebrate the creativity of South Dakota youth and elevate the importance of arts education. Accepted mediums for the competition included paintings, drawings, collages, mixed media, computer-generated art, photographs and 3-D artworks. Selected work from four age divisions is annually exhibited in the state capitol building from January through September 2023. The exhibition opens on the first day of the legislative session. Students may offer to sell their work to be added to the state collection. SDAC has purchased four of the 2022 pieces for the state art collection and six from the 2021 exhibition. The upcoming 2023 exhibition will be featured at the Governor’s Awards in the Arts event in February 2023. To learn more about the competition, contact South Dakota Deputy Director Rebecca Cruse.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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