'SummerArt 2004' to open

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What: Opening reception and Award Ceremony for "SummerArt 2004" When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday Where: Depot Art Center, 13th Street on the Yampa River

Next week the Steamboat Springs Arts Council continues its long tradition of attracting local, regional and national artists to its home on the Yampa River with the opening of "SummerArt 2004."

The multi-media fine art exhibit opens with an artists' reception and awards ceremony Thursday at the Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts at the Depot Art Center. Sixty artists from across the country will have works on display, including work by 10 Steamboat residents. "SummerArt 2004" encompasses work from six different categories: oil painting/pastel, water media, drawing/printmaking, mixed media, photography/digital and multidimensional.

Typically, oil painting and pastel have had the most entries, visual arts director Beth Banning said. But this year saw a flood of high-quality, unusual sculptural pieces -- more entries in the category than the Steamboat Springs Arts Council has seen before, she said.

For the first time in 20 years, SummerArt will display a greater number of multi-dimensional pieces than any other category.

"I'm excited to see all the sculpture, and I'm curious to see why there are so many entries," Banning said.

More than 100 artists submitted up to three pieces of original artwork for the juried show last spring. An anonymous five-person jury comprised of artists, art educators and patrons from different backgrounds chose the top 100 works to display in "SummerArt 2004."

SummerArt typically draws new and emerging artists, Banning said. Two-thirds of the artists on display are new to the Steamboat show, which comes during the Depot's busiest visiting time of the year.

Exhibit judge Liliane Francuz, visual arts program manager for the Wyoming Arts Council, will award cash prizes for best of show, best in each of the six categories and merit awards. Francuz will share insight on how she selects the award recipients during an informal gallery talk from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, the day before the show opens.

Many of the artists will be on hand to discuss their works, Banning said.

Work from artists include photography by Karen Schulman and Gwen Arkin; sculpture by Barb Hodges, Christopher Oar and Tyler Richardella; prints by Nikki Kerrigan and Jesse Pegorsch; watercolor painting by Fred Heil; mixed-media collage by Mary Beth Galer; and woodwork by Dave Winters. Riverhouse Editions summer intern Dan Hlavinka also will have two prints on display.

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