CLAYTON -- Your chance to see some great local art is just around the corner.
In an effort to give local artists a chance to display their work, Clayton Visual Arts is holding its 14th annual Art Faire competition in September.
The Art Faire is a competition giving away $1,825 in prizes divided between six winners, including a people’s choice award determined by popular vote at the artist’s reception Sept. 13.
Margaret Ritchie and Carolyn Howard came up with the idea of holding an art fair back in the late ‘90s as an impetus for bringing Clayton’s artists into the public eye.
“They wanted art in Clayton and they thought this would be a way to do it, to have a contest,” said Clayton Visual Arts secretary June Lioret.
Last year, 53 artists entered the competition, 28 of whom were from Clayton. Lioret says bringing in artists from outside of Clayton is also a benefit to the Clayton community, which then gets the opportunity to see work from artists they might not know.
During the reception, the artwork is judged for four different awards, including two $750 awards, the Margaret Ritchie Award of Excellence for fine art and the Award of Excellence for photography, and three judge’s choice awards for $100 each.
This year, the Art Faire will have two judges for the first time. One judge will focus on the fine art while the other will judge the photography.
“Members of Clayton Visual Arts (CVA) decided that if we were going to have a good number of photographs, which we did last year, we might as well add a judge who was accustomed to judging photography,” Lioret said.
Susan Bailey, a photographer from Raleigh, will be one of the judges this year. She is an award-winning photographer who focuses on garden and flower photography, and has a judging certification from the Photographic Society of America.
Eric McRay, also of Raleigh, will be the fine arts judge. He has an art studio in Artspace, and was honored as the best local artist in 2008 by Metro Magazine.
“We have nothing to do with the judging, it’s totally independent of (CVA). Whatever they decide is their decision,” Lioret emphasized.
Anthony Ulinski, a Raleigh painter who won the Margaret Ritchie Award of Excellence for fine art at last year’s Art Faire, said he entered the competition for a number of reasons.
For one, he said, the prizes are nothing to sniff at, and award money can help artists pay for art supplies and other needs in the studio.
“There’s also the allure of a very significant prize, especially in these times when sales are so slow and the recession has really hit the art world in a very significant way,” Ulinski said.
That said, Ulinski also enjoys participating in the cultural scene in North Carolina. Through the Art Faire, he gets the chance to meet other artists.
But it’s also a chance to advertise, he said.
“It’s often difficult to find a way to present your work to people,” Ulinski said. “It’s so easy for artists to fall into obscurity, that whatever you can do to get your name out is key.”
Lioret said the CVA is hoping to have as many artists as last year, if not more, competing in this year’s event.