41st Annual Juried Exhibit

Juried by Benjamin Hickey, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Masur Museum of Art

June 23 – July 29, 2017













June 23–July 29, 2017

Friday, June 23 at 5-7pm

Kayla Shaggy: Durango artist with a dark aesthetic

by Patty Templeton / DGO Magazine
July 19, 2017

(See You Later, oil on panel by Allison Leigh Smith, 2016 Annual Juried Exhibit Best in Show)

The Durango Arts Center is pleased to provide a professional juried exhibit for artists working in all media.  In its 41st year, the Annual Juried Exhibit was expanded to a national competition to broaden creative expression, both in and outside of our community; accepted multi-media and installation work; and provided a new online platform for submissions.  The juror of this year’s exhibit, Benjamin Hickey, also provided free onsite portfolio reviews and critique to any artist regardless of their acceptance into the exhibit.


Best in Show: Kayla ShaggyHell

Hell_Kayla Shaggy copy
2nd Place: Heather Kelley
Tabula Rasa
3rd Place: Barbara Dixon Drewa
The Next Chapter

Honorable Mentions:

Mary Lou MurrayDurango Dusk
Clifford TresnerEnd Goals
Allison Leigh SmithWrented: A Tribute to Charley
Deborah SussexKenosha Pass. Mile. 78/9,969ft
Rosemary JuskevichBlue Silo


Cheryl Berglund
Sam Bridgham
Dustin Cook
Julie Crews
Robert Cross
Michael Darmody
Rebecca Dash
Philip DeHudy
Barbara Drewa
Margy Dudley
Tina Farrow
Caryl Goode
Abigail Heuss
Madeline Jacknin
Rosemary Juskevich
Heather Kelley
Dorothy Kerns
Rebecca Koeppen
Sarah Kriehn
Jen Manganello
Margaret Mayer
Carol Meckling
Jane Mercer
Marge Meyer-Nugent
Paula Miller
Mary Lou Murray
Kathy Myrick
MaryAnne Nelson
Audrey Peck
Marten Pinnecoose
Tom Richard
Richard Robertson
Mary Rodman
Danny Rodman
Kayla Shaggy
Thomas Siggia
Allison Leigh Smith
Jed Smith
Deborah Sussex
Clifford Tresner
Dean Wyatt
Nancy Young
Robert Zahner


When I jury an exhibition I am careful to treat the process as a singularity. The pool is unique and has to be treated as such. Often times the work is so varied there cannot be a unifying theme or concept that brings it all together. If that is the case, I become the unifying theme. This is an uncomfortable concept for me because, in essence, I am creating a portrait of myself with work presented to me in an arbitrary fashion; by those who choose to enter.  Generally, I feel my job as a curator is to facilitate the ideas of others, but due to the fairly impersonal nature of the jurying process, my perspective drives the exhibition more than it normally does when I am working intimately with an artist or artists. In my mind, the selection process works like this. On the first level I weigh the technical ability of the work I want in the show, and balance that assessment with my sense of whether the selected, or soon to be selected, artists seem to achieve the goals they lay out for their work.

After that, I consider how the work affects me.
If I felt an affinity for a work of art, I accepted it. There is a fair amount of hedonism associated with selecting a juried competition. To deny the pleasure of selecting art for this exhibition would be disingenuous.

By and large the majority of the entries conveyed a sense of place I found moving. Many, but not all, elicited a sense of visiting family in the West during summers growing up. I have family in Colorado, Montana, Washington, and Idaho. There is another biographical strand running through this exhibition. I have a fondness for highly conceptual works of art. Artwork, usually of a highly representational nature, conveying a sense of place paired with fairly abstract, concept heavy art may seem like an unnatural pairing, but they both resonate equally inside me. These two competing ideas create an interesting tension in this exhibition at the Durango Arts Center.


Best of Show:

The overwhelming use of stippling, or layered individual marks used to create value, form, and texture, in Kayla Shaggy’s Hell (italics) gives one a sense of what Hell’s supposedly infinite vastness might be like to behold. Every square inch of Shaggy’s composition tells a story of eternal torment. Guilt, violence, retribution, this is a piercing cautionary tale of human frailty.

Second Place:

Heather Ryan Kelley’s Tabula Rasa (italics) is an interesting meditation on the passage of time. Kelley used chance bumps and spills in the studio over seven years to serve as her Mark making system once she etched the words, “THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LET BLANK.” A great deal can happen, as well as be taken for granted over seven years. I also enjoy the sardonic provocation Kelley’s words represent.

Third Place:

Barbara Drewa’s trompe l’oeil still life, The Next Chapter (italics) is a portrait of an unknown sitter, or perhaps the United States. Familiar objects made elusive bring their symbolic power to the fore. It’s a cumulative effect and possibly a reading assignment.

DAC was pleased to welcome Benjamin Hickey, the curator of exhibitions and collections for the Masur Museum of Art (Monroe, LA) as this year’s juror.  Hickey is also currently serving as Trustee At-Large of the Association of American Art Curators.  He earned his Master’s degree from the University of California, Riverside. Prior to his tenure at the Masur, he held positions with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Canisius College, the Arts Council of Buffalo & Erie County, and the California Museum of Photography. Hickey has organized 17 exhibitions and coordinated another 9 at the Masur. He has worked with many artists including Keliy Anderson-Staley, Harold Cohen, Shayne Dark, Hasan Elahi, Greely Myatt, Alberto Rey, George Rodrigue, Marni Shindelman & Nate Larson, Kate Shannon, Vitus Shell, James Surls, and Douglas Weathersby. Hickey’s publications include “Beneath the Surface,” in Life Streams: Alberto Rey’s Cuban and American Work, from SUNY Press and “Improvisations in Time,” in Improvisations in Time: Eugene J. Martin and the Masur Museum of Art, Masur Museum Press.  Hickey also sits on the Community Advisory Board of KEDM, an NPR affiliate. His most recent exhibition, Shared Earth: The Ancient Mounds Project, was a collaboration with the photographer Jenny Ellerbe and staff at Poverty Point, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

DAC is grateful for the generous support of our exhibit sponsors who enable culturally innovative programs to exist in our community.  The premier sponsor of the 41st Annual Juried Exhibit is Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel LLP.

The 41st Annual Juried Exhibit is made possible by the 2017 exhibits season sponsors: Friends of the Gallery, Mary Lyn and Richard Ballantine, Don and Judy Hayes, Russell Engineering and Oxford Asset Management.

Barbara Conrad Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday
10am – 5pm

Entry to Durango Arts Center galleries is always free.  The galleries are closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.


Newness, Challenge and Love at DAC and All Around Us

Peter Hay
Durango Herald, June 23, 2017