Opening of the 18th annual sculpture garden this weekend

What: 18th Annual Sculpture Garden Exhibition and Artists’ Reception

When: The artists reception is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. Then the exhibition can be viewed whenever the Kemp Center is open.

Where: Kemp Center for the Arts, 1300 Lamar

Admission: Free and open to the public. Information at (940) 766-3347 or

The 18th Annual Sculpture Garden Exhibition and Artists’ Reception will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 on the grounds of the Kemp Center for the Arts downtown. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Dewane Hughes, professor of art at the University of Texas at Tyler, was a member of the exhibition’s jury. According to ACWF Programming Coordinator Kristine Thueson, the Troup, Texas sculptor has exhibited in a significant number of previous Sculpture Garden exhibitions.

Nine of the 10 sculptors, whose work has been selected for the new exhibition, will be at the Kemp on Saturday evening along with Hughes and longtime Sculpture Garden installer Joe Barrington.

The 2022-23 exhibition features 10 new pieces that will join the 11 permanent sculptures on the Kemp grounds. The new pieces will be on display until May 2023, when next year’s exhibit will be installed.

The new exhibition includes works by Jeffie Brewer (Nacogdoches), Glenn Downing (Waco), BC Gilbert (Wichita Falls), Jack Gron (Kingwood), Jim Robertson (Trinity) Luke Sides (Oak Point), Brian Wedgworth (McAllen) and Jon Whitfill (Slaton). All reside in Texas.

Other new sculptures are by Frank Morbillo (Tesuque, New Mexico) and Dani Schacht (Pontotoc, Mississippi).

Saturday’s event will feature live music from pianist Anthony Ailey, along with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be awarded. The Kemp Center galleries are open during the reception.

“We use a different juror each year,” Thueson said. “We try to use a highly respected national sculptor, especially an outdoor sculptor, and bring them in from all over the country. This year we decided to go with Hughes because he knows the exhibit so well.

From left, exhibit juror Robbie Barber talks to MSU art professors Suguru Hiraide and Steve Hilton at the 2021 Sculpture Garden exhibit (17th) at the Kemp Center of the Arts.  Everyone is invited to attend the opening of the 18th Annual Sculpture Garden Exhibition from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday at The Kemp.  Nine of the 10 featured sculptors will be present.  Free entry.

Hughes served as a juror for the 2022 exhibition by reviewing images of works submitted by 45 sculptors from across the country. “Dewane has a unique vision, if you’ve seen his work, so he’s picked out some very interesting pieces,” Thueson said. “The new works are very different from each other, but I think they will work very well together and fit very well in our space.”

Hughes was very happy to be asked to serve on the exhibition jury. “Prep Joe Barrington is one of my best friends,” he said, “and every year it happens around his birthday, so I always walk in hoping I can come visit him on his birthday. .” Last year Hughes had a sculpture in the exhibit, and it was part of a major exhibition by Kemp that featured works by him, his wife and two children.

In this 2021 photo, sculptor and installer artist Joe Barrington speaks with artist Amy Hoagland about his powder-coated welded steel piece, "ice frame"at the Kemp Center for the Arts.

When reviewing the submissions, Hughes said the outdoor sculpture community in Texas is a fairly tight and recognizable community. “I wanted to bring in a few that were sort of unrecognizable (in terms of styles) to breathe some fresh air into the exhibit.

“This exhibit has been going on for 17 years and I was looking for newer, fresher stuff that I haven’t seen much before.”

Hughes wanted respectable sculptures of good quality, which were also on a large scale. “When you come out with a sculpture, it tends to shrink it a bit.”

Hughes said those interested should not miss the opportunity to view the sculptures in person and speak with the artists. The sculpture garden reception is a great opportunity for people to ask questions and learn more about the medium.

Sculptors are very accessible, he says. “I think it has to do with the sculptors working with their hands, and so they’re sort of the blue-collar group of artists. We’re stuck in our studios all day with loud machinery, so it’s nice to get to a quieter event to get a chance to talk with viewers and people. We are always anxious and available to do so.

For those unable to attend the opening, the Sculpture Garden exhibit can be viewed anytime during regular Kemp hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Nocturne on Thursday until 8 p.m.

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