Community Ensembles


Art Center East (ACE) invites you to enter your artwork into The Big: Art Center East's Annual Open Exhibit. Entries are eligible to win cash prizes, awarded at the judges' discretion. The People's Choice cash award will be selected by those attending in person or via online voting during the duration of the exhibit. Artists throughout the greater Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and beyond) who are 18+ years old are invited to submit their work.

This annual art exhibit serves multiple purposes: it invites Eastern Oregon & other NW artists to celebrate the arts, creates awareness of the value of arts in our communities, and raises funds for Art Center East’s Gallery Program.

The 2023 Annual Open Exhibit will be on display from December 1, 2023 - January 27, 2024.

What to Expect

The Big: Annual Open Exhibit is an art exhibit at Art Center East in La Grande, Oregon. The exhibit will be on display from December 1, 2023 - January 27, 2024, with an opening reception on Friday, December 1, 2023, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm and a closing reception on Friday, January 26, 2024, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. And thanks to John J. Howard & Associates Realty of La Grande, a virtual tour of the exhibit will be featured on our website for the duration of the exhibition.

Open electronic submission period: September 1 - November 22, 2023.
Artworks will not be accepted without completed submission. 

Artwork drop-off period: November 1 - November 22, 2023, during ACE regular business hours (Wednesday - Friday from 12:00 - 5:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm)

Submissions or artworks will not be accepted after November 22, 2023, at 5:00 pm.

About our Gallery Space

The exhibition gallery space is upstairs in a restored 1913 Carnegie Library building. Great care is taken in displaying all work to its best advantage. As a non-profit organization, we take pride in running a professional exhibition program on a modest budget. 

What to Enter

Artists may submit up to three original, gallery-ready pieces in any artistic medium. Please note that ACE will not accept pieces that have been exhibited at a prior Annual Open Exhibit or that are older than three years. Have questions about whether your piece is a good fit for this exhibit? Contact our Gallery Director, Jennifer Durr: [email protected] (541) 624-2800.

How to Enter

1) Select three (3) pieces that you would like to submit and prepare them for gallery display: framed with screw eyes and wire attached for wall-mounted pieces (check out this informative video on how to wire your 2D piece!); all others must be ready for freestanding gallery presentation. We will provide pedestals, but not display surfaces (such as for jewelry), easels, or other display accessories. Artworks that are not gallery-display-ready will not be accepted. Artists are welcome to enter up to three gallery-ready pieces with the guarantee of at least two pieces being included in the exhibit, as gallery space allows. 

2) Open electronic submission period: September 1 - November 22, 2023. Complete the electronic submission form, answering all required questions. ACE will not accept incomplete submissions or those delivered without an accompanying online submission form. Pay your entry fee with form submission: $30.00. The entry fee covers the entirety of up to 3 artworks.

All submission forms must be completed electronically - please contact ACE if you experience any technical difficulties (541) 624-2800. Why complete the online submission form now? It helps us know how much art to prepare for and reserves your place in the exhibit - maybe even before you make your art! Since submissions are taken on a first-come basis, we encourage you to submit your form early. 

3) a. Deliver your ready-to-display piece(s) to the ACE gallery (1006 Penn Avenue, La Grande, Oregon) during ACE regular business hours November 1 - 22, 2023.

b. Mail your artworks to the ACE gallery (PO Box 541, La Grande, Oregon, 97850) with an anticipated delivery date between November 1 - 22, 2023. Please email Gallery Director, Jennifer Durr: [email protected] with the tracking number.

*Should ACE have a high volume of submissions, ACE will limit the number of submissions per artist. In the (unlikely) event that the show fills before the final submission date, ACE reserves the right to refuse new submissions. Unaccepted submissions can be collected Saturday, December 2, 2023, during ACE business hours 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.

4) Attend the free opening reception, Friday, December 1, 2023, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm, and the free closing reception, Friday, January 26, 2024, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. Share the virtual exhibit tour on your social media platforms and tag us! @artcentereast

5) Collect your unsold art on Wednesday, January 31 or Thursday, February 1, 2024, between 12:00 - 5:00 pm. Please note that payments for works sold will be sent out by the 5th of the following month of sale.

Why Enter?

GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE! - This is a great opportunity for professional and amateur artists alike to display their artwork and gain exposure in a gallery setting. ACE will market the show regionally and locally, via press releases, print advertising, a poster campaign, social media, and at our community outreach booths.

SELL YOUR ART! - As advocates of the arts economy, we encourage artists to display works that are for sale. As with all of our gallery shows, ACE retains a commission for artwork purchased. Our commission rate is 30% for ACE members and 40% for ACE non-members. Purchase or renew your ACE membership here.

CREATE COMMUNITY! - The arts are more fun when more people are involved. We are an inclusive organization that values artwork of all kinds. We encourage you to be brave, share your voice, and come join us for the Annual Open Exhibit!

WIN A PRIZE! - A few lucky artists, selected by our 2023 judge, will be announced and go home with a cash prize during the opening reception on Friday, December 1, 2023:

Best in Show: Debra E. Otterstein "Broken Chain" $300

Best in 2D: Rebecca Curry "Bear Family Stargazes" $200 (sponsored bThe Press Room, La Grande)

Best in 3D: Denise Elizabeth Stone "Oregon Stories" $200

Best Functional Glass: Kevin Boylan "Gold Surf on Green" $100 (sponsored by Birddog Glass, La Grande)

Best Creative Glass: Scott Nearing "Goonies Treasure Fountain" $100

Outstanding Jewelry: Crystal Collier both "Midnight Magic" & "Carefree" $100
Best of Fiber: Christie Lower "Lovesense" $250 (sponsored by Knitkabob, Union)
Best in Photography: Rick LePage "Palouse Spring" $100 (sponsored by Cook Memorial Library, La Grande)
Honorable Mentions
Una Walker "Floral Stool"
Terra Leven "Decorative Berry Bowl"
Denise Elizabeth Stone "A Season in High Prairie"
Matt Fagan "Glazed Hampire"
Terri Stoltz "Alice's Door"
Erik Brandenberg "White Oak Coffee Table"
Richard Nelson "Tree's on the Ridge"


Art Center East was honored to have Peter Clark as this year’s "The Big" judge. Peter is a local professional blacksmith who is co-owner of and the sole craftsman behind Northwest Skillet Company. He is also co-founder and instructor at the newly opened Fire Arts Blacksmithing School here in downtown La Grande, Oregon.