Valdosta Daily Times


April 7, 2013

‘The Biggest Show Ever’

VALDOSTA — As artist carpools from Tallahassee, Fla., St. Simons, and other out-of-town locales, with one artist carrying the works of three, four or more artists from a respective city, arrive last weekend at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, curator Bill Shenton begins the process of inventorying the art works, and more importantly, gauging where he might display them for the 2013 Spring Into Art.

Even before the works arrive, Shenton knows basically what to expect. Registration ended a couple of weeks earlier. He knows where the works are coming from. He knows the expected ratio of works: More than 300 works in the painting/drawing category; more than 100 photography entries; the rest expected to fall within the sculpture and ceramics/jewelry/crafts categories.

Shenton knows this year’s 26th Annual Spring Into Art is the “biggest one ever.”

Two-hundred-and-sixty-four artists have registered nearly 510 pieces which will fill the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts galleries nearly from top to bottom. Patrons should expect an eyeful of art and an elbow-room-only gathering of artists and supporters when Spring Into Art opens Monday evening with the annual reception gala.

Though out-of-town artists were making the trek during The Times’ visit the week before last, Shenton says this Spring Into Art features many regular participating Valdosta-area artists as well as several new registered regional artists.

With dozens of more works registered for this year’s Spring Into Art, it’s no wonder that Shenton eyes the gallery walls carefully, but he would have it no other way. He does not plan to be the gallery curator who stifles the all-inclusive tradition of Spring Into Art.

The annual exhibit has become the region’s largest art show. A show that includes every submitted work. Yes, there are thousands of dollars of cash prizes offered in four categories. Yes, Colson Printing Company selects 13 pieces from the hundreds submitted to grace the pages of its annual calendar.

But everything, every piece of art registered and entered that follows the exhibit’s guidelines, is displayed. And while a work may not win a prize or find a spot in the Colson Calendar, it still has the opportunity to shine. It still has the opportunity to gain attention for the artists as well as money. Last year, Shenton says, 60-70 pieces were purchased during Spring Into Art.

So, Shenton and the center have no plans to curb any enthusiasm for Spring Into Art. If it keeps growing, there may come a time when there are too many entries for display, but about 510 pieces is not that number.

Shenton mentions the famed art galleries of The Louvre with masterpieces stacked and exhibited from floor to ceiling with a mere half-inch between each frame. If Spring Into Art receives more entries, Shenton will use The Louvre example, if he must, to accommodate all of the artwork.

Meanwhile, on this day from nearly a week and a half ago, works keep arriving from as close as Valdosta and Hahira and as far away as Memphis, Chicago and New York, all under Bill Shenton’s watchful gaze, with one eye on checking off submitted art from his registration list and another to the gallery walls deciding where he might place each new arrival.



The 26th Annual Spring Into Art

Where: Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, 527 N. Patterson St.

Opening Reception Gala: 6-9 p.m. Monday, April 8. Ticket: $45.

Show’s public run dates: April 9 through June 5. Admission: Free. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Sundays and non-opening Mondays.

More information: Call (229) 247-2787; or visit


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