Celebrating the Arts in the Southwest
Category: Interview
Written by Kellie Hanna
Interview Performed by Kellie Hanna

Kellie: Can you please briefly describe the nature of the Southwest Arts Festival?
Betty: The Southwest Arts Festival (SWAF) is a 26 year old, non-profit organization with a 25-member volunteer board of directors. The goal of the group is to bring in artists from all over the US who are working in a wide variety of two and three dimensional media, and present the highest quality one-of-a-kind pieces and limited editions. Visitors can expect to see and purchase high quality original art and fine craft in all price ranges, and visit with any of the 200 artists from 35 states.

Kellie: What is your role in the Festival and how long have you been with it?
Betty: My current role in the Festival is that of advertising and promotion director. As a founder of the festival, I've been on the board for 26 years.

Kellie: What medium/genre of art are represented? What artistic styles are represented?
Betty: All types of contemporary art, and artists from many different backgrounds (selected each year from 800 applicants).

Kellie: Do you accept entries from beginning as well as established artists?
Betty: Yes.

Kellie: Is the festival different each year? If yes, how so?
Betty: With all types of contemporary art the festival is different each year. This is evident in the recent survey done by Research & Polling, Inc. (Albuquerque) showing that 73% of the patrons attending the festival said they had attended for seven or eight years.

Kellie: How do you feel the Southwest Arts Festival is different from other juried shows?
Betty: Artists have rated our jury system as strict but very fair. Work is judged by slides and jurors are not given the name of the artist. No commercial, manufactured, or kit work is accepted and mechanical reproductions are limited to 20% of the work shown and must be labeled.

Kellie: What are the specific categories of the show?
Betty: The 19 categories are: oil/acrylic Painting; 2D - pencil, pastel, pen and ink; printmaking; Photography; water media painting; sculpture; mixed media - 2 dimensional; mixed media - 3 dimensional; clay; fiber - wearable; fiber - non-wearable; glass; non-precious jewelry; precious jewelry; leather; metal; musical instruments; toys; wood. All entries are judged by the seven person jury.

Kellie: What goes in to a juried show?
Betty: Each applicant's slides are projected simultaneously for a preview of the category. During the second viewing of that category, descriptions of each artist's work are read. Jurors individually award points to each artist based on the quality of the work as presented. Acceptance notifications will be sent to the applicants with the highest scores. A ranked stand-by list will be compiled in case of cancellations. Many artists who exhibit in our show also sell their work in galleries. They say that they enter one or two high quality shows each year and enjoy meeting the buyers and other artists. Our gallery invitation program brings in gallery representatives from all over the Unite States, and many artists find new galleries each year at the festival.

Kellie: As a non-profit venture, is the festival affiliated with any other organization(s)?
Betty: The SWAF is not affiliated with any other organization. The preview evening catering and silent auction are contracted to another non-profit group, "The Assistance League of Albuquerque" as a fund raising event for their community services.

Kellie: What should artists know when looking to enter a juried exhibit? How should they prepare?
Betty: Jurors look for consistent quality of work as all five of each artist's slides are projected simultaneously. Slides should be of professional quality with the image filling the slide frame, and must represent the work the artist intends to display.

Note: Ms. Ostrower and Ms. Brownstein invite all interested artists to apply. There is a jury fee of $20 and booth fees range from $350 to $400; the festival does not recieve a comission on the sale of artwork. Interested artists can contact Dede Brownstein by email or call (505) 262-2448; fax (505)266-6437.
If you're interested in entering for this year's show, Ms. Brownstein says that it is probably best to email, as the deadline is April 15th (4/98).

Editor's note:
Thanks to Dede Brownstein for information and Betty Ostrower for interview


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