With 67 pieces selected by a professional juror, the 10th annual Renaissance Regional Art Exhibit will be the largest in the annual exhibition's history.

The Renaissance Regional Art Exhibit will be featured in the Visual Arts Gallery, East Wing Gallery and North Wing Display Cases at The Renaissance Center in Dickson Oct. 2 through Nov. 15. An opening reception will be 6-7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3.

The Renaissance Regional Art Exhibit (RRAE) is open to artists in 11 Southeastern states and is the center's annual juried show. Artists submit images of their works that are then reviewed by a guest juror, who selects the pieces for the show.

More than 50 artists across the Southeast entered submissions and juror Christopher Tarpley, a renowned glass artist, selected 67 pieces representing 30 different artists. The art ranges from metal, sculpture, painting, watercolor, photography and many other mediums with contemporary and classical themes.

With more pieces selected than in any previous year, the 10th RRAE will expand beyond the center's Visual Arts Gallery to include the East Wing Gallery and North Wing Display Cases.

"Each year the walls of The Renaissance Center host an annual exhibition that often introduces new artists and sometimes re-familiarizes us with ones from throughout the Southeast," said Amanda Dillingham, curator for the center. "This year is, of course, special since it commemorates the 10-year anniversary of this exhibition. The Renaissance Regional Art Exhibit has become a distinct tradition in the tenure of the center. During the year patrons and artists continue to ask about the exhibit, and during the year many of us at the center anxiously await its arrival."

One of the things that makes this exhibit so special is that level of interest. Over the calendar year there are many exhibits and opportunities for viewing art at the center. These shows have varied levels of interest normally due to artist location, genre, medium and exhibition dates.

"While there is a clear mark that the galleries are a draw for local arts and are growing throughout the region there is also the comfort of knowing that each year this exhibit exposes new viewers and makers of the arts to the educationally artistic efforts of The Renaissance Center," Dillingham said. "But specifically special is that these viewers then continue to return and add to the growth of the ideas and vision of the fine arts at the center. Last year the entries for the exhibit broadened its scope of acceptance into artists whose works are digital submissions and video or digital format."

This shift helps align the RRAE with other exhibits across the country that have attempted to be as all-inclusive as possible and continue to expose their viewing audience to the best artwork available, no matter the medium or genre. With that sense of direction and growth, this year's RRAE seeks to continue moving forward and bring to viewers the best the Southeast has to artistically offer.

Guest juror Tarpley is a Santa Fe, N.M, native who is know across the country as a premier Native American-inspired glass artist.

After a teacher introduced him to jewelry making in high school, Tarpley apprenticed with a jeweler and learned to pour molds in a foundry. In 1994 he was invited to visit Denver glass artist Kitt Karbler and later had the opportunity to work under glassblowing artist Charlie Miner at Tesque, N.M., who would encourage him to pursue glasswork at Pilchuck Glass Studio in Seattle, Wa.

After completing his studies, Tarpley collaborated with renowned Native-American glass artist Nathan Youngblood, during which he continued to hone his abilities but also further pursue his interest in creating non-traditional Native American-inspired glassworks tying in his own Choctaw and Chickasaw ancestry. Tarpley later moved back to New Mexico where he is represented by Kiva Art Gallery. His work can be found in multiple collections largely throughout the Southeast.

"We are extremely excited with the selections Christopher has made for our 10th annual regional exhibit," Dillingham said.

"Because each year's show is selected by a different juror, his or her preferences and opinions bring a unique style to that show. Some of the artists have been selected before but for many this will be the first time their work will be exhibited at The Renaissance Center. An additional bonus for being selected for our regional show is that we often invite some of those artists back for individual exhibits."

For more information on the 10th annual Renaissance Regional Art Exhibit or other exhibitions at The Renaissance Center, call (615) 740-5600 or visit www.rcenter.org. Galleries at The Renaissance Center are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and admission and receptions are always free.

The Renaissance Center is a fine arts education and performing arts center at 855 Highway 46 South in Dickson, just 35 miles west of Nashville on Interstate 40 at exit 172.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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