Monday, May 12, at MTSU's Todd Art Gallery will offer area art lovers a veritable garden of delights as a trio of special exhibits — including two national student competitions — open to the public through month’s end.
The top 10 works of art created by Tennessee high school students across the state's 4th Congressional District for the 2014 Artistic Discovery Contest will go on display beginning at 5 p.m. May 12 with a special reception in the Todd Gallery.
The competition's winner also will be announced then, and he or she will be able to travel to Washington, D.C., with a guest to see all 435 U.S. congressional district winners on display through May 2015 in the Cannon Tunnel, a pedestrian walkway leading to the U.S. Capitol. The local winner also will receive a scholarship and recognition from Congressman Scott Desjarlais, R-South Pittsburg, Tenn., who is hosting the Todd Gallery reception.
The student artists hail from the 16 counties that comprise the district: Bedford, Bledsoe, Bradley, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, Maury, Meigs, Moore, Rhea, Rutherford, Sequatchie, Van Buren and Warren counties. They have created paintings, drawings, collages, prints, mixed media, computer-generated art, and photography to enter the contest sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Just down the hall in Todd Room 224A, an opening reception for "NSEW: What Grew Us," a group exhibition by undergraduate artists across the United States, also is set to begin at 5 p.m.
The exhibition, curated by MTSU senior ceramics major Laura Brake and junior sculpture major Mika Mollenkoph, consists of 32 various sized 2-D and 3-D works by student artists showcasing their origins and how those origins have shaped their lives. "NSEW" stands for "North South East West."
"I am excited to see this showcase of student artwork come to fruition," Brake says. "The planning of the show has been a several month endeavor, and … we both are looking forward to the opening night and hope to have this show develop into an annual show here at MTSU."
The third show is the return of the Todd Gallery's most successful studio Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition in the last 10 years, "The Best of Eye Candy." That 5 p.m. opening reception in Todd Room 210, also known as the "210 Gallery," will feature “best of show" ceramics, painting, printmaking and sculptural work from last month's popular "Eye Candy" exhibit at Todd.
The works were created and chosen by Brake and her fellow MTSU seniors Carmen Elkins, Kayla Connelly, Joshua Petty, Noelle Yeargins, Alex Otarola and Alison Ford.
"Not only did (the April 2014) 'Eye Candy' surpass attendance numbers for turnout to the opening night of a studio BFA exhibition," explains Todd Gallery Director Eric Snyder, "but as a group, these students presented a unified body of work that at once maintained their individuality as artists while visually reaching a level of cohesion that many professional galleries struggle to find with each new exhibit of work."
Each of the exhibits will be open through Thursday, May 29.
MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and state and university holidays, including the upcoming Memorial Day holiday May 26.