Santa Paula Times

Artists gearing up for SPSA 71st Annual Art & Photography Exhibit

January 04, 2008
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesHundreds of artists throughout the West Coast are gearing up to submit their entries to the Santa Paula Society of the Arts 71st Annual Art and Photography Exhibit, the oldest such juried competition in the state. The acclaimed exhibit will be held from February 5 through February 27, with the gala Awards’ Reception to be held on Saturday, February 16 from 4 to 7 p.m.The exhibit - which will be held at Blanchard Community Library, 119 N. 8th St. - will feature oils/acrylic, watercolor, graphics/mixed media, pastel and photography.Over $4,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded, including one Douglas Shively Award of Excellence in each category, a prize named for one of the founders of the annual exhibit. Other prizes include Best of Show, Peoples Choice - the public may vote for their favorite through 5 p.m. on February 16 - and the Jury of Your Peers Award of Excellence, the latter a category limited to voting by exhibit artist participants only.Prize sponsors include Santa Paula Chevrolet, Santa Paula Society of the Arts, North Wind Studios, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Limoneira Co., and the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, among others.Noted artist and musician Xavier Montes will entertain on the harp at the reception. The Awards ceremony will start at 6 p.m.Because of the overwhelming response by artists who wish to be exhibited, entries are being limited to two per person. The exhibit juror is Rex Rochel, and judges are Sherry Loehr and Glenna Kurz, who will consider the oils/acrylic, watercolor, mixed media/graphics and pastel entries, and Donna Granata, who will judge photography.Gerald Zwers said his tenure as the chairman of the event has lasted “much longer than I thought... this is the sixteenth year. A couple of things I really love about the annual exhibit is the huge variety, to me an exciting thing, that brings such a showcase of wide-ranging skills and talents to our community.”
The exhibit’s setting is also a plus, as it exposes the exhibit “to so many.... When you have a show in a museum or a gallery,” the viewing audience is limited to those seeking out the exhibit. But, noted Zwers, the library venue “exposes the art to a broader array of people.”The annual Santa Paula exhibit generates excitement and “buzz” throughout Ventura County. “Even Santa Barbara County,” said Zwers. “When I’m talking or giving presentations, even on unrelated business topics,” if the exhibit is mentioned to those “with a connection to it they light up... it’s an awful lot of fun for people involved in it.”There is something very comfortable about the exhibit, which probably stems from the SPSA’s effort to “be inclusive rather than turn people away,” a philosophy that has impacted the number of entries each artist is allowed to avoid being overrun as in years past. “We realized, as the exhibit grew, that we had to be much more aggressive about jurying pieces out or put a limit on the number of entries” to allow more participation from artists.The society also has expanded activities - such as prize drawings - at the awards reception, which draws hundreds of art lovers as well as artists. “It’s fun... come and see it,” said Zwers.For more information on the Santa Paula Society of the Arts 71st Annual Art and Photography Exhibit, call 525-1104 or visit, where an entry form can be downloaded.