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Northern National Art Competition opening reception Sept. 16

Sept. 7, 2017

One of the premier art exhibits in Wisconsin will open Saturday, Sept. 16, when the 30th Annual Northern National Art Competition holds an opening reception at 5 p.m. in the Nicolet College Art Gallery.

"This juried contemporary art competition showcases work of the highest quality from around the country," said Katy Ralph, gallery director. “Every year the exhibit features an amazing collection of pieces and this year, again, meets that high standard.”

Tickets for the reception are $20 and can be purchased at Trig’s Customer Service Desk and Diane’s Frame Shoppe in downtown Rhinelander.

The reception will include a light buffet, wine, live music by the Woodland Strings, and commentary from this year’s judge, Gary Freeburg, professor of art and the director of the Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art at James Madison University in Harrisburg, Penn.

Freeburg reviewed 444 entries, selecting 90 pieces for the exhibit from artists in 24 different states. The competition features $8,500 in prize money with the winning pieces being named at the reception.

“As I carefully considered the artwork sent for my review, I asked myself a series of questions that I ask of all artwork,” Freeburg said. “What is the story here? What does the artist want to say to me through his or her work and is that idea clearly stated? Is there depth to the work? That is, does it have more than one layer of meaning? And finally, how do these layers work together to create a rich textural statement that keeps me coming back to explore the image further?”

Freeburg was previously a professor of art at the University of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula College, where he also served as the curator of the campus art gallery that now bears his name. He’s worked with renowned photographers and educators including Ansel Adams, Oliver Gagliani, and John Schultz. His photographs have been exhibited nationally and have appeared in several publications. His wilderness photography is also the subject of the documentary film An Artist's Journey to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Freeburg holds three degrees in photography including a Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa.

Admission to the exhibit will be free after the opening reception. The Nicolet Art Gallery, located in the Northwoods Center on the Rhinelander Campus, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Northern National Art Competition exhibit will run through Oct. 20.

Click here for more information about the Northern National Art Competition and other exhibits coming to the Art Gallery.