World-renowned Israeli artist Yaacov Agam described art as a unifying force that erases barriers between people and cultures: “There are two distinct languages. There is the verbal, which separates people… and there is the visual that is understood by everybody,” said Agam, a pioneer of the kinetic art movement, which incorporates the element of movement and time into art.
Indeed, it can be said that art nourishes society, inspires people to explore and release their innermost emotions, and it washes away the debris of poverty, intolerance, and the fatigue of life.
The importance of organizations like Galveston Art League, an all-volunteer group founded in June 1914 to support visual arts and art education in Galveston County and beyond, cannot be understated. The group offers classes and workshops to encourage people of all ages to acquire or improve skills, provides outreach to art teachers in local schools, supports public art projects and education to enrich the community, hosts arts-related trips, mounts exhibits to share work, and holds competitions to encourage and showcase artists in a variety of mediums.
“Galveston Art League has been organizing and hosting juried competitions since the 1970s,” said Mary Vinnedge, an artist and member of Galveston Art League, adding the organization holds three juried competitions each year.
“The competitions are a significant way that Galveston Art League upholds its mission to advocate on behalf of visual art and art education in Galveston County and beyond.”
The next juried competition is set for September 2-25 at the art league’s gallery, 2117A Postoffice Street in downtown Galveston.
Artists ages 16 and older were invited to submit entries in six categories that include photography, digital art, works on paper, works on canvas or panel, 3-D, and 2-D mixed-media.
The judge for the upcoming exhibition is award-winning artist Linda C Dumas of Kingwood, who works in a variety of media, such as collage, painting and mixed-media.
Entrants are not required to be Galveston Art League members, and entries are anonymous: Opaque tape is placed over signatures on artists’ entries so the judge can’t see who created the artwork.
“The talent level is usually quite high—artists tend to enter their best pieces in hopes of raising their profiles and winning cash prizes,” she said. “They bring artworks from far away in order to compete—all over the Houston area, Lake Jackson, and virtually every city and town in Galveston County.”
What a judge looks for in the competition depends on a multitude of factors, she said. “You could probably write a book about judging factors, but the judge may look for contrast, a focal point, and quality of composition.”
“In photography, the judge may look for proper focus and framing. In representational art—as opposed to abstract art—the judge may look at whether light and shadows are rendered accurately and whether the work is properly scaled and in correct perspective. Matting and framing can affect the judge’s decision on 2-D works. And, of course, judges will choose the pieces they like, period.”
Cash prizes are given for Best of Show ($300), first-place ($100) and second-place ($50) entries within the categories. Honorable mentions also are awarded (ribbons are given but monetary awards are not presented).
Artists can set a price for their works or have them labeled as “Not for Sale.” All of the judge-accepted artworks, even if sold, must remain in the gallery through the last day of the month-long exhibit.
Vinnedge encourages everyone to visit the gallery in support of local artists, and to see for themself just what art—and Galveston Art League—has to offer.
“Art can help people see an issue from a new perspective and spark important dialogue. Art can underscore problems within society and generate thinking about solutions. And, in some cases, art just infuses the world with a bit of beauty and a sense of wonder at something created by a fellow human,” she said.
All Galveston Art League events—from classes to field trips—are open to the public. Its biggest fundraiser is its annual gala. This year, the event—titled “Sunday Afternoon in the Park”—is being held on September 18 at the historic Garten Verein at 2704 Avenue O in Galveston.
The event includes a catered lunch, an array of beverages, music, silent auction, and a raffle. Dress is Sunday casual attire, but attendees are invited to dress as their favorite artist or as a character from a work of art. Tickets range from $100 for individual tickets to $2,500 for a table for 10 people with sponsor recognition.
“The gala is not stuffy—it’s actually a lot of fun, and this year our caterer has planned a wonderful brunch,” she said.
The nonprofit presents a free ArtWalk every 6-8 weeks in partnership with downtown galleries, artist studios, nonprofits, and local businesses, and hosts monthly preview parties “so that people can mingle with artists and learn more about one another. We host trips to visit art museums and have offered trips in which there are opportunities to sketch, paint and photograph interesting scenes,” she said.
“These activities are open to the public and to our members. It is important to note that many of our members are not artists but instead just feel that art is important and appreciate art. They join as a way of supporting Galveston Art League’s mission and for their own enjoyment.”
About Galveston Art League
The nonprofit Galveston Art League is an all-volunteer organization. All functions, from mounting monthly exhibits to setting policies and fundraising, are carried out by volunteers.
Membership is open to non-artists and artists who appreciate visual arts and want to enjoy the benefits of membership.
Membership levels range from $10 (student) to $500 (lifetime) and include benefits afforded at each level.
For more information visit GalvestonArtLeague.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.