• What: "The Seasoned Eye: A Celebration of Artists Working for 20+ Years"
• When: April 25-May 30. Gallery open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
• Opening reception: 5:30-8:30 p.m. May 2
• Where: Association for Visual Arts, 30 Frazier Ave.
• Admission: Free
• Phone: 265-4282
• Website: www.avarts.org
For budding artists, being accepted into a juried art show is cause for celebration, a sign of acceptance, an opportunity to raise awareness of their work.
That thrill, it turns out, never really fades.
"I'm excited. I wasn't sure I would get in," says Lolly Durant, one of 10 artists whose work -- vividly dyed, marbled fabric -- will be displayed in the Association for Visual Arts' inaugural "The Seasoned Eye" exhibition of veteran artists.
Although she was one of AVA's founding board members in 1986, Durant, 60, says she hasn't shown her work there in about 20 years and was interested to see how the organization had changed.
"I thought, 'Well, I'll just take a shot, try it and see.' I was really thrilled to be selected."
"The Seasoned Eye" will debut Friday and continue through May 30. An opening reception will be held May 2.
The show will feature about 20 works by regional career artists with at least 20 years of experience. "The Seasoned Eye" will serve as a counterpoint to "Fresh," the gallery's annual summer showcase of new and emerging artists.
The concept of "The Seasoned Eye" initially took shape as AVA administrators considered that many of its members are artists with decades of work under their belt. Why not honor the long-standing contribution of the region's veterans in addition to its greenhorns, asks education and exhibitions director Lauren Goforth.
"We felt like committing 20 years of your life to something is remarkable," Goforth says, adding that that the 20-year requirement dovetails nicely with the association's quarter-century of involvement in the arts community.
Artists submitted works for the exhibition from as far away as Knoxville, Nashville and Huntsville, Ala. Goforth says the resulting body of pieces reflects the kind of polish that can only be earned from years of commitment.
"The audience I think is seeing work that is well-developed and very thoughtful," she says. "These artists have been doing this so long, and you'll see work that has an established style and is just really well crafted because of the amount of time these artists put into honing their craft."
"The Seasoned Eye" was open to submissions across a broad range of media, but with the exception of a handful of jewelry and textile artists, such as Durant, the submission pool largely consisted of watercolor and oil paintings.
In addition to the 20-year career requirement, the submitted works were required to have been created within the last three years, which Goforth says should help the show feel current and "of the now."
For veterans like Durant, who have shifted their efforts to showing in other cities' exhibitions, "The Seasoned Eye's" call for experienced artists offered a welcome chance to be shown locally alongside those with a similar pedigree.
"This means more exposure," Durant says. "AVA needed to address the seasoned artists because so many of the artists in my age bracket aren't exhibiting in Chattanooga. It was timely."
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.