JONESBORO – Bradbury Art Museum (BAM) at Arkansas State University announces the 26th year of the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition (DNSPE), with the opening reception set for 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17.
The exhibition continues through March 30 at BAM, located in Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Dr.
Founded in 1996 by Evan Lindquist, with assistance from Jan Bennett Arant, Dr. Ruth Hawkins, Dr. Russ Shain, Dr. Charlott Jones, Curtis Steele, Dr. William Allen, Bill Rowe and John Salvest, the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition is an annual juried print exhibition that features prominent contemporary printmakers from around the world.
DNSPE has received great acclaim as it has grown to be one of the country’s foremost annual competitions for prints.
The Delta National Small Prints Exhibition was created with students in mind. It is meant to be a resource for printmaking students and instructors to view and assess contemporary standards of printmaking as they develop over time.
“This creates an environment for learning opportunities and creative thinking, promoting new ideas which stretch the limits of the medium,” noted Garry Holstein, director of Bradbury Art Museum. “In addition, it is an outreach program which serves as a resource for the region, bringing attention to printmaking as a medium but also sharing the variety of stories told by each individual piece.
There are few restrictions to the eligibility of this renowned print competition. Photographs are allowed in addition to prints as a means of giving the image priority over the technique. Unusual approaches are encouraged – unique impressions and digital imagery that are historically excluded from print exhibitions.
“This allows and encourages artists to push the limits of printmaking and creatively express themselves in new and revolutionary ways,” Holstein added. “The range of images shown in DNSPE represents the spectrum of contemporary printmaking.”
Many artists work with traditional materials that require meticulous precision such as wood and metal engravings. On the opposite side of the print spectrum, the digital and technological influence of photographic processes and digitized images presents itself more each year.
A juror reviews all submissions to DNSPE and selects which ones will be exhibited. This year’s juror is Miranda Metcalf, founder and host of “Hello, Print Friend,” a contemporary printmaking podcast. With an archive of more than 100 episodes with artists and print advocates from at least 20 countries on 6 continents, Hello, Print Friend is the most extensive archive of interviews from the print world on the internet.
Metcalf planted the seeds for her love of printmaking with five years as director of Davidson Galleries in Seattle, Wash., before moving to Sydney, Australia, and working with Cicada Press.
“All jurors seem to agree on one fact, that the selection process is very difficult. Looking at hundreds of prints and narrowing the selection down to 55-60 in a few days is no subtle undertaking,” the BAM director added. “Jurors continuously comment on the wide variety of techniques and imagery from both emerging and established artists who create an overview of what is happening technically and conceptually across the nation.”
The original concept of DNSPE was developed around a dream to make Jonesboro an epicenter for art and culture. This has proven true in the growth of the significant collection of contemporary prints from around the world.
BAM strives to give back to the artists who contribute to this exemplary exhibition by purchasing a large portion of the show to add to their permanent collection, but it would not be possible without the support of patrons who provide purchase prizes and exhibition support each year. This encapsulates the artwork and preserves its history for viewers and students to enjoy for years to come.
Each exhibition is represented in a yearly catalog, documenting history and including statements from each juror explaining their decision-making process.
DNSPE viewing hours are 12 p.m.-5 p.m.Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is free. For more information about Bradbury Art Museum or to learn how to support future exhibitions, one may call the museum at (870) 972-3687.