The artspace Critic’s Series was developed three years ago when the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Rocco Landesman, made a visit to Shreveport to announce a major grant award that would jumpstart the planning and vision process for Shreveport Common.  In an effort to ensure that the NEA Chairman would “see” the NWLA Arts Community, a last minute Exhibition opportunity, IMPROMTU, was created at artspace. During the series, IMPROMPTU critic Robert L. Pincus, Ph.D., former critic for the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Tribune, met with area artists who urged that a system of formal critique could advance professionalism in the Arts in Northwest Louisiana.

In early 2013, art critic Lauren Buscemi of San Diego, California visited Northwest Louisiana and critiqued Critical Mass, naming visual artist Joshua Chambers “Best of Show”.  As a part of his winning, Chambers was awarded a solo exhibition at artspace.  Buscemi returned for the Opening Reception for Chambers exhibition “YOU, ME & EVERYTHING IN-BETWEEN” in July 2013 to give a live, public critique and a written critique.

     “The critic’s response to my work affirmed good practices and process that I had established in my work. It was nice to hear such a positive interest expressed by someone from outside our area, and who is so knowledgeable about contemporary art,” said Joshua Chambers, 2013 Critical Mass Best of Show winner. “In addition, building a connection from outside entity has encouraged me to expand my areas of application for both gallery representation and general exhibition.”

The Awards

     One Literary artist named “Best of Show” will receive a $2,000 cash prize, an advertisement in a national Literary publication, and the Literary critic’s written review of the artist’s work will be published in local/national literary art publications/websites. Additionally, artspace will either publish a small booklet of works, or create an exhibition of works to be displayed as a coolspace exhibition.

          One Visual Artist named “Best of Show” will receive a $2,000 cash prize, a solo exhibition at artspace in Summer 2015, a ¼ page advertisement in the national publications ART NEWS and ART IN AMERICA magazines. The critic will also return for a public “Critic’s Talk” reviewing the work, explaining the elements of a strong review, and sharing conversation with the artist. The Visual Arts critic will submit a written review of the solo exhibition that will be published in local/national visual arts journal.   

     Up to five Performing Artists, or Performing Arts Organizations will be named finalists and will be invited to produce a 30 minute performance to be shown, live, during the summer.  From the live, finalists, a “Best of Show” performance will be selected to receive a $2,000 cash prize.  Anne Marie Welsh, the Performing Arts critic, will write a critique that will be published in local/national performing arts publication/websites.

          “The best thing about Critical Mass is that no other show that I know of in North Louisiana gives an audience the opportunity to see such a wonderful menagerie of regional artists exhibiting their best work all in the same space at the same time.” Chambers said.

     The Critical Mass 3 exhibition continues from February 6 to April 4 with free admission during regular artspace business hours.