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Nov. 26, 2012

People's Art Show returns to The Galleries

By Kelsey Smith

The Galleries at Cleveland State University is hosting the 20th People’s Art Show through Dec. 13, the first time this show is being held at the new gallery location.
The People’s Art Show is an uncensored exhibition and features nearly 400 pieces of artwork by over 250 artists. There is no panel of experts to determine what is shown, so everything is welcome.

According to Robert Thurmer, director of The Galleries at Cleveland State, the idea for the People’s Art Show began in 1983 as a populist experiment with the idea of letting people, not jurors or curators, decide what to exhibit.

In its 30 years, the rules for the People’s Art Show have not changed. Each person can exhibit up to two pieces of art, which must be delivered in person. From here, artists are free to create whatever they desire and list a price if they choose to sell their work.
Because anyone was welcome to submit their art for showing, the themes cover everything, ranging from abstract to photos of celebrities.

The methods used to create art also vary greatly. There are pieces done in more traditional methods, like oil, acrylic and sculpture, but there are also more unusual techniques featured, like scratchboard, shrinky dink and installation pieces.

Since the People’s Art Show is unjuried and has an open admission policy, it allows the viewer to determine what is “good” art and what is “bad” art, and provides anyone interested with an opportunity to show and sell their work. However, this hasn’t been without controversy.

“From 1983 to 1993, the People’s Art Show was an annual event,” Thurmer explained. “However, from year to year a kind of ‘shock inflation’ arose as some artists began to explore the boundaries of the censorship-free premise of the show. In 1994, after much controversy, media attention and a yearlong self-study, the art faculty converted the show to a biennial event, allowing the exhibition to ‘cool off’ between shows and to return to its original roots — a forum for the unrestricted expression of personal ideas,
values and taste.”

Despite controversy, the People’s Art Show has continued to promote creativity, imagination and freedom, in addition to being a place for individuals to promote their art.

“It is with great delight and conviction that The Galleries at Cleveland State University are committed to continue this noble tradition in our new, elegant venue to serve the creative people of this region and their public,” Thurmer said.

The People’s Art Show is free to the public. Visit www.csuohio.edu/artgallery/2012-2013/peoplesartshow/index.html for gallery hours and more information.