Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

History Connects Library's Topeka Competition 32 Art Entries

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

History Connects Library's Topeka Competition 32 Art Entries

Article excerpt

History is the connective element in Topeka Competition 32, a local art show with its own long history.

For the first time since the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library's juried art show began in 1977, artists submitting works were asked for their entries to reflect a common theme: history.

"We tried something different," said Zan Popp, curator of exhibitions at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery of the library, 1515 S.W. 10th, where Topeka Competition 32 will be on display through Jan. 31 during regular library hours.

The theme of "history" was selected, Popp said, because it reflected the artistic approach of the competition's juror, Renee Stout, an internationally recognized, Kansas-born, Washington, D.C.- based artist whose assemblage works of art reflect her heritage, including ancient African traditions, such as voodoo.

"Renee Stout: Assembled History," a small show of her work shown courtesy of the Belger Art Center, in Kansas City, Mo., is on display in the Sabatini's Jewel Box gallery, while the 34 entries in Topeka Competition 32 are being shown in the venue's main space.

"It was an interesting experiment," Popp said. "I'm not sure we will do it again. You have to find a theme that is broad enough."

Also, she added, "Some artists like to have themes; others think it's too restricting."

As it has since its conception, Topeka Competition 32 continues to showcase 3-D works of arts.

Larry Peters, who served as the gallery director of the Topeka Public Library and the first director of the Sabatini Gallery of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, wanted to shine a spotlight on the then neglected area of art.

"Museums were collecting the fine arts, but no one was collecting the crafts: the glass, the ceramics, the metal, the woven pieces, the fiber arts," Popp said. …

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