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Monday, March 22, 2021

Critical Mass 9


Lineup features 110 Northwest Louisiana artists

The Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) presents the annual conflagration of Northwest Louisiana visual, literary and performance artists who will exhibit, present and virtually perform works of art for review by professional critics.

More than 100 artists have submitted one work for audience appreciation and critics’ review. The work is on display at the Artspace opening on Friday, March 26, through May 22.

On Friday, March 26, four critics will present the Critic’s Choice Award in each category – Visual, Literary and Performing Arts. The selected artists will receive a $2,000 commission toward a solo show presented in the coming year, and once again, the critic returns to review the entire body of work.

“Critical Mass is a massive gathering of the NWLA arts community with a deep commitment by the Shreveport Regional Arts Council to the capacity development of area artists,” explains Pam Atchison, SRAC executive director.

One goal of the exhibition is to encourage art enthusiasts to become collectors for area artists. SRAC defines a collector as a person, family or business who agrees to provide “loyal support” to an artist for three years by purchasing at least one work each year, considering a commission, promoting the artist and partnering to see the growth of the artist’s regional acclaim.

This year’s selected collectible artists are Devin Rachul McClintic, Lynn Laird and Connie Stephens-Eaton. These artists are featured in an exhibition at the Central ArtStation, opening Wednesday, March 24. During the opening, critic Lauren Smart and local collectors Havard Lyons and Betty Black will participate in a panel discussion about the importance and rewards of collecting.

Collectors Havard and Nellie Lyons have supported several artists whom they discovered during Critical Mass – Julie Crews, Robert Fogel, Mike Torma and Ron Smith. The Lyonses have hosted in-home “salons” for friends to meet the artists and have participated in the Collectors’ Tour of Homes. Havard Lyons says that the family loves the juxtaposition of works by internationally and historically renowned artists right next to works by NWLA artists.

Additional information about the Collectors’ Program is available at shrevearts.org/collectors.

Josh Porter, Artspace director, explains, “What separates this experience from all other Artspace productions is that professional critics are in Shreveport for the week to review artists’ portfolios and the work submitted for Critical Mass 9.” In addition to a review of the entire production submitted by each critic and published in both The Times and 318Forum Magazine, every participating artist receives a professional review of the exhibited/ presented artwork. All artists registered on the NWLA Artists Directory may receive a full digital portfolio review, via Zoom, by appointment.

The 2021 critics who will review the exhibition and presentations, select one “Critic’s Choice Award Winner” per category and return to review the solo presentation by the selected artists are:

Lauren Smart:

Performing art critic Lauren Smart is a journalist, critic and on the faculty of Southern Methodist University. Her work as a writer has appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Arts + Culture Texas, CultureMap Dallas, Where Traveler, Cowboys & Indians, and American Theatre magazine.

Manny Mendoza:

Performing art critic Manuel Mendoza is a Dallas-based arts journalist and former staff critic at The Dallas Morning News. He has written about virtually every art form, from visual art and music to theater and dance.

Gabriel Shaffer:

Visual art critic Gabriel Shaffer lives and works in New Orleans. He is part-owner and curator of Mortal Machine Gallery, located in the French Quarter. Gabriel has exhibited his work across the country and is a contributing writer for Juxtapoz magazine.

Greg Brownderville:

Literary art critic Greg Brownderville currently serves as the editor-in-chief of Southwest Review, the director of creative writing, and an associate professor of English at SMU in Dallas. He has been a Murphy Visiting Poet at Hendrix College and a writer in residence at the Lemon Tree House in Camporsevoli, Italy.

The critics are selected by lead critic Robert L. Pincus, Ph.D., formerly the visual art and literary art critic for the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union Tribune.

Pincus has worked with the Shreveport Regional Arts Council and NWLA Artists since 2012.

In consideration of Covid guidelines, artspace is taking measures to bring arts safely to the community:

1. Masks are required for entry into the exhibition.

2. The Artspace floor is marked for six feet distancing.

3. Prefer to stay at home? Critical Mass will be available online starting March 29 at artspaceshreveport.com


Monday, March 22

NWLA artist’s Zoom gathering to meet the installation team and learn about arts professionalism, finding galleries and markets. Speakers: Lauren Smart and Kevin Rubén Jacobs. 5-7 p.m. Free. All artists are invited.

Wednesday, March 24

Collectible Artists’ Exhibition and Panel Discussion, “Why Collectors are Important,” led by critic Lauren Smart with collectors Havard and Nellie Lyons and Betty Black. 5 – 7 p.m.: Central ArtStation, 801 Crockett Street. Free.

Thursday, March 25

Digital portfolio reviews for NWLA Directory artists, via Zoom, by appointment (shrevearts.org/artistscalls). 3 – 5 p.m. Free.

Live stream of the Critical Mass 9 performing arts showcase via SRAC Facebook page. 6 – 9 p.m. Free.

Friday, March 26

Portfolio reviews for NWLA Directory artists, via Zoom, by appointment (shrevearts.org/artistscalls). 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free.

“Writing A Winning Artist’s Statement,” taught by Robert L. Pincus, Ph.D. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. This will be held on Zoom.

Critical Mass 9 - Doors open Artspace, 5 p.m.

Critical Mass 9 announcement of awards with brief review by critics, 5:30 p.m.

Celebrate the artists and their artworks! 7-8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 27

Critical Mass 9 One-on- One Review with the critics in all art disciplines at Artspace. 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.


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