2011—The Topeka Competition 30

Left to right: Leah Hardy, Justin Shaw, Roberta Eichenberg and Eric Ryser

Left to right: Leah Hardy, Justin Shaw, Roberta Eichenberg and Eric Ryser

April 1 – May 13 | Sabatini Gallery

Celebrating national artists working in 3-dimensional media, the Topeka Competition offers visitors an opportunity to view new and innovative work in contemporary arts and crafts. Read Richard Notkin’s Juror’s Statement here.

Gallery Director, Sherry Best, explains:

This competition—now in its 30th year!— is a juried exhibition open to artists 18 and over, currently living in the United States. Artists could submit work in clay, metalwork, jewelry, fiber, leather, glass, wood, or any combination of the above. Every year, we ask a different artist to jury, or judge, the exhibit: to review all the works, and select those to be included in the show and the juror’s awards. This year, our juror was Richard Notkin, who selected 71 works for the competition from 329 submissions.

The Topeka Competition is sponsored by the Friends of the Library, who have been its dedicated sponsors, bringing exciting work in three-dimensional arts and crafts to Topeka, for thirty years. The Friends of Art has also provided support for this year’s competition.

Gallery Director Emeritus Larry Peters began the Topeka Competition as a local competition for arts and crafts, and at the time, mainly crafts.  Ceramists, woodworkers, glass and fiber artists, and jewelry makers had very few opportunities to exhibit their work. Most art galleries and museums weren’t interested in the craft media yet. That has changed. Larry also saw the competition as an opportunity to build the library’s art collection. Part of the Friends’ support is to provide Purchase Awards, which join the library’s collection of art. Peters was the former Sabatini Gallery Director from 1968-2003. Peters is a prolific ceramist and an active member of the Topeka arts community. He is the founder and president of the Kansas Artist Craftsmen Association. His work is included in the exhibit.

Over the years, the Topeka Competition grew: first to a regional, four-state competition, then to include more states in the Midwest. In the last six years, it opened to artists working all over America. Our entries still largely come from the Midwest, and I am proud to see that our Kansas artists are strongly represented.

My thanks and congratulations go out to all of the 72 artists who entered very strong work for this competition.

My congratulations also to those artists whose work Notkin accepted, and to our award winners. One of the really wonderful things about organizing a juried competition is not only seeing all of the work by the talented artists who enter, but also the feeling that I learn something every year.

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Related Events

First Friday Artwalk
April 1 | 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Awards announcements at 6:30 PM

Edible Books Festival
April 1 | 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Marvin Auditorium | 101 ABC

About the Juror





Image courtesy artaxis.org

Richard Notkin is a full-time studio artist in Helena, Montana. Notkin’s teapots, ceramic sculptures and tile murals are visual explorations into social and political commentary.  Through the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, when large scale abstract expressionist vessels and gestural ceramic sculptures were the rage in contemporary American ceramics, Notkin worked with a tightly controlled, high degree of craftsmanship, creating works which were often criticized as being too small, tight and precious.  He took this as a compliment.  He is perhaps most known for his series of unglazed stoneware teapots, inspired by the remarkable Yixing wares of China (circa 1500 AD to the present—an example is his Cooling Towers Teapot, on display), but consciously maintaining a separate cultural identity, “reflecting the current dilemmas of our contemporary human civilization”.

Richard Notkin, "Cooling Towers", (2005)

“Cooling Towers” by Richard Notkin. Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Permanent Collection, 2005.25

For nearly four decades, his work has been exhibited internationally, and is in numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York;  Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC;  Los Angeles County Museum of Art;  Victoria and Albert Museum, London;  Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam;  and Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan.

Notkin’s major awards include three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.  He was one of about a dozen artists featured in the premier of the PBS documentary series, “Craft in America”.  In 2008, Notkin was elected a Fellow of the American Craft Council, and was awarded the USA Hoi Fellowship by the United States Artists Foundation. Richard Notkin image courtesy of artaxis.org.

Accepted Artists

Marcie Abbey
Jake Allee
Steve Belz
Gale Carter and Don Gauthier
Sunyoung Cheong
Lynn Cool
Roberta Eichenberg
Delores Fortuna | $200 Juror’s Award
Linda Frost
Leah Hardy
Jon Havener
Mindy Herrin
Peggy Johnston$200 Juror’s Award
Kim Luther
Patrick  Martin
Rick Matyak
Samantha McPherson
Mark Nathan Stafford$200 Juror’s Award, Friends of the Library Purchase Award
Yoko Noguchi
Kyounghwa Oh | $200 Juror’s Award
Sarah Perkins
Dan Perry
Larry Peters
Eric Ryser
Carol Salisbury | $200 Juror’s Award
Marjorie Schick
Teresa Shannon
Justin Shaw
Lin Stanionis
Katerina StrakhovaFriends of the Library Purchase Award
Michaela Valli-Groeblacher
John Vinklarek
Peter Wilkin
Joe Williams