I recently visited Washington DC and I took my family to the Smithsonian’s Art Galleries. I love art and I enjoy looking at art. When we left the Museum of Modern Art, my family also left more impressed with the art that is sent into our contests. From the tens of thousands of students who participate in our art contest, we have all kinds of art sent in. From modern abstract pieces to beautiful portraits. It is our job to trim the entries down to what we feel are the top 25%. It is not an easy task. However, having seen a large painting in the Modern Art Gallery where I wasn’t sure if a 20 foot by 20 foot plain orange canvas with a black line slashed across the middle had been vandalized or if it was put there on purpose, or looking at a canvas with what looked like a representation of a dry erase board that had math formulas partly erased, I also realized that once you are established as an artist you have credibility and anything goes.
I know if we had accepted similar art and published it in our books, I would have received letters from teachers and students asking me to justify printing bad art when other students had entered better pieces that were not accepted. I know art is subjective. Modern art is supposed to push things to the edge, but seeing much of what is displayed, it makes me appreciate every piece that is sent to us. Don’t get me wrong, I love modern art, but I also like to see art where I can feel the talent and struggle behind the art. Our books are a presentation of what our judges feel is good art. Not everyone will agree with our decisions. But we hope people will see the merit in what we chose for the publication.
For more information about our national art contests, please visit www.CelebratingArt.com.