The Kenai Art Center is wall-to-wall coated in new pieces for this month’s open call exhibit, which debuts Thursday.
Alex Rydlinski, the executive director of the center, said Wednesday that he was impressed with the amount of art submitted for the exhibition.
“You can tell that we are a talented community,” he said. “It’s not like this is some low-grade show.”
Local artists were able to submit up to three pieces for the open call exhibit, without going through a juried process. This, Rydlinski said, encouraged beginners to bring in art without the chance of being turned away.
One piece in particular depicts a skeleton of a fish floating through bright blue water, and Rydlinski said it’s the artist’s debut.
“That’s her first time ever showing anywhere really,” he said. “I think it being an open show versus a juried show sort of took the pressure off a little bit — they felt like they could share with us now.”
Marion Nelson, the president of the Peninsula Art Guild, said she was pleasantly surprised by the number of pieces entered into the show.
“We’re very impressed with it,” she said Wednesday. “It’s been a gargantuan effort in every way. It’s been great that we’ve had such an incredible turnout.”
Nelson said since the pandemic upturned community events over a year and a half ago, every new show has been a reopening exercise.
“We’re educating the public as well as re-educating ourselves,” she said. “Alaska is full of talented people, that’s for sure. And we’re no exception.”
The lineup for October’s open call show is diverse — including everything from watercolor, oil and pastel paintings to blown glass, ceramics and encaustic pieces.
Refreshments will be served during the opening reception, which will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday. The majority of the pieces in the open call show are available for purchase, and can be collected at the end of October.
Masks are recommended for patrons of the art center regardless of vaccination status, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.