Juried art competition draws record number of submissions



A new exhibit of the New Haven Paint and Clay Club at the John Slade Ely House displays the prize-winning pieces of local artists.

The club’s 102nd Annual Juried Exhibition consists of 115 wall hanging pieces and 28 sculptures. The media vary from oil on canvas to steel work and mixed media collages.

Dolores Gall, president of the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, said the 476 entries the club received this year were “an absolute record.”

“This exhibition is one of the biggest ever,” she said. “If you do the math, that means that only one in four were accepted.”

The club sponsors the Annual Juried Art Exhibition in the spring as well as an Active Members Show in the fall. Active memberships are open to artists who have been accepted in two or more Annual Juried Exhibitions.

Artists from New England and New York may submit one or two works to the juried exhibitions. Judges for the event are museum curators and other experienced professional artists. The judges for this spring’s competition were both art experts from the University of Connecticut: David G. Woods, dean of the School of Fine Arts, and Deborah Muirhead, professor of art.

“Always when you jury a show you have your subjective opinions, but these were excellent in terms of their concept and medium of expression,” Muirhead said. “We saw very strong work with a wide variety of styles.”

The exhibit also included a memorial tribute to the Lucille Davis Grimm, a member of the club for 18 years until her death in late 2002. In a corner of the exhibit is one of her water colors, as well as a book filled with her comments on art and pictures of her other paintings.

On March 23 the club awarded over $4,400 at the artists’ reception. The 20 prizes ranged in value from $50 to $800, including a memorial Lucille Davis Grimm Prize in the amount of $200. Other honors given out were the purchase of three of the pieces for the club’s permanent collection. Since 1929, the club has maintained an endowment fund for purchasing art for its two annual exhibitions.

In 1900, five community artists founded the New Haven Paint and Clay Club in an effort to promote and fund group exhibits. The club held its first show in December of that year and it featured 107 pieces from 27 different artists.

Since 1961, the club has displayed exhibits at the John Slade Ely house on Trumbull Street. In memory of her husband, Grace Ely donated the house to the city for use as a public art gallery.

The club has a permanent collection of over 250 works in various media. Some of these pieces are loaned out to such places as the Connecticut Hospice and the Mary Wade Home, a home for elderly men and women, with the goal of bringing artistic enrichment to the residents.

The exhibit will be on display through April 13.

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