Grafton – The 2020 Small Stones Festival of the Arts (SSFA) will present an online juried fine art and photography exhibit with a live opening ceremony slated for Friday, Oct. 23, to announce the winning artists. Three regional arts organizations – Apple Tree Arts, the Worcester County Camera Club and the Blackstone Valley Art Association – have collaborated to create a newly envisioned virtual fine art and photography exhibit and music program.
The festival’s art call opens Saturday, Aug. 15, for submissions of artwork. Photography and all forms of two-dimensional artwork are welcomed, with a maximum of three entries per artist. The art call will remain open until midnight of the day 500 entries are received. All artwork meeting acceptance criteria will be displayed online. Visit https://smallstonesfestival.org/ to submit artwork.
A distinguished panel of jurors will select 144 works to appear in the printed exhibit catalog as well as select cash prize winners in photography and fine art categories. Awards will include first, second and third cash prize winners and juror’s choice (six awards). A popular choice award for each category will be voted by viewers online. Cash awards are $500 for first; $250 for second; and $100 for third place. The exhibit catalogue will be sold online.
Three independent jurors for each category will choose the award winners. The fine art painting and drawing category is juried by Jim Welu, former director and chief curator of Worcester Art Museum (WAM); Michael Graves, a nationally recognized plein-air artist and recipient of 85 awards; and Charlotte Wharton, a highly-accomplished portrait and landscape artist with over 600 pieces of artwork displayed in collections. Photography category jurors include Nancy Burns, associate curator of prints, drawings and paintings of WAM; Ron Rosenstock, renowned nature and travel photographer, former Clark University instructor and published author of six books featuring his own photography; and Stephen DiRado, professor at Clark University with over 40 years’ experience in documentary photography, filmmaking and conceptual art.
Welu and Rosenstock will discuss their thoughts and perspectives about specific artwork in a Zoom presentation to be shared on the festival’s website in late October after the winning artists have been announced.
Donna Dufault and Scott Erb of Erb/Dufault Photography will present a workshop for artists about how to market and promote art via Zoom in late October. Details about the free seminar will be available at a later date.
Festival Chair Ken Crater of the Worcester County Camera Club is working with a committee of seven to offer the community a virtual festival featuring fine art, photography and music.
“Our organizing committee has put in a spectacular effort to re-vision the F=festival within the constraints of the pandemic,” Crater said. “We are committed to continuing the work of bringing the artistic talent of our region to greater prominence, even under the current circumstances.”
The mission of the Small Stones Festival of the Arts is to elevate the practice and appreciation of fine art and photography in the Blackstone Valley and beyond. The Festival is now under the aegis of a new sponsor, Grafton Arts, Inc., a newly formed nonprofit organization.