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VOL. 114 | NO. 176 | Friday, September 8, 2000

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By KATHLEEN D Festival adds feature to draw aspiring older artists By KATHLEEN D. BARK Special to The Daily News Cissi Loftis got to thinking about all the exhibits associated with Memphis Arts Festivals Arts in the Park and started to wonder why the festival didnt have anything for seniors. That question led Memphis Arts Festival to offer a new event for aspiring older artists First Show After 55. "Cissi, who is our office manager and approaching 60, said to us, We have a youth exhibit and a huge focus on youth. We have an invitational exhibit. This year we need something for our seniors," said Christine Todd, executive director of the Memphis Arts Festival. The organization, in collaboration with The Best Times and Trezevant Manor, decided to do just that for its upcoming festival, which will be held Oct. 13-15 at Memphis Botanic Garden. The First Show After 55 competition and exhibit is open to all Mid-South artists who are 55 or older who have not previously participated in a juried art exhibit open to the public. "It gives the people of Memphis a wonderful opportunity to focus on seniors and their accomplishments, and it gives seniors who have never had the opportunity or been encouraged to show their work to the community, a forum for doing that," Todd said. She said seniors should not hesitate to enter their work in the show. "Dont be shy and dont worry. All artists are nervous about putting their work in front of the community. "But, the time and opportunity is now so dont be nervous. Were pulling for you." For the event, each artist may submit up to three two-dimensional pieces in the following categories: oil/acrylics, watercolor, graphics (prints, drawings), photography (color, black and white) and mixed media. The exhibit will be juried prior to awards judging and the final number of pieces in the exhibit will depend on available space. Pre-entry is required. The deadline for entry is Sept. 29. Submitted art work may be dropped off at one of 13 locations, including the Art Center at 1636 Union Ave., the Orange Mound Senior Citizen Center at 2569 Douglass Ave., the Lucille McWherter Senior Citizen Center at 1355 Estate Drive or the festival office at 4745 Poplar Ave., Suite 311. However, whether artist or art enthusiast, all seniors can receive free admission to the festival due to a grant from the H.W. Durham Foundation. The admission coupons allow seniors to attend the festival on any of the three days and to be active participants in special performances, demonstrations and activities. Hands-on activities include the Art to Go Tent, the Art Garden and Art Maze, the Art Web and the Artists in Action demonstration areas. For visual art lovers, there will be more than 150 booths in the Artist Market, a juried art exhibit of two- and three-dimensional artwork by artists from across the country, a youth art exhibit, an invitational art exhibit and special projects site installations. In addition, more than 75 acts will perform during the weekend, ranging from blues to ballet, gospel to jazz, and swing to opera. Festival hours will be noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 13, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 14 and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15. For free senior citizen admission coupons or more information about the First Show After 55 art exhibit, call 761-1278. Kathleen D. Bark is managing editor of The Best Times, a news magazine for mature Memphians.

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