The Big: Art Center East's Annual Open Exhibit

Community Ensembles

down, finger, hand iconThe Big Application

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 community arts programming at ACE.

The 2021 Annual Open Exhibit will run from December 3rd, 2021 - January 29th, 2022.

What to Expect

The Big: Annual Open Exhibit is an art exhibit at Art Center East in La Grande, Oregon. The exhibit runs December 3, 2021 - January 29, 2022, with an opening reception on Friday, December 3rd from 6:00 - 8:00 pm and a closing reception on January 14th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm (current COVID restrictions apply). 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 27, 2021.
Artworks will not be accepted without completed submission. 

Artwork drop-off period: November 24, 26, or 27 during ACE business hours (Wed-Fri 12-5pm and Saturday 10am-2pm)

Artwork drop-off by appointment only (bookme site) or call (541-624-2800) to schedule: November 1 - 20, 2021. Artworks dropped off without an appointment during this period will not be accepted / until appointment is scheduled. 

Submissions or artworks will not be accepted after November 27, 2021 at 2:00 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 27, 2021. 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: $20.00. 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. 

3a) Deliver your ready-to-display piece(s) to the ACE gallery - 1006 Penn Avenue, La Grande, Oregon during ACE regular business hours November 24, 26, & 27 or by appointment-only November 1 - 20.

3b) Mail your artworks to the ACE gallery - PO Box 541, La Grande, Oregon with an anticipated delivery date between November 1 - 20 and please email Gallery Director, Jennifer Durr: [email protected] with tracking number.

3c) Should we 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. Submissions unaccepted can be collected Saturday, December 4 during ACE business hours 10am - 2pm.

4) Attend the free opening reception, Friday, December 3rd from 6-8 pm and closing reception, Friday, January 14th from 6-8 pm (current COVID restrictions apply) & share the virtual exhibit tour on your social media platforms. 

5) Collect your unsold piece February 2 - 5 during ACE regular business hours (Wed-Fri 12-5pm & Saturday 10am-2pm). Please note that payouts for works sold will be sent out by the 5th of the following month. Don't forget to pre-order your reception refreshments here

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% non-members.

WIN A PRIZE! - A few lucky artists (selected by our 2021 artist judge, Robert Anders) will go home with a cash prize:

Best in Show Award: $300 - Debra Otterstein for "Raven's Call"

Best Two-Dimensional Award: $200 - Damian Garcia for "The Death of My Own Kind"

Best Three-Dimensional Piece: $200 - Una Walker for "Chair #2"

Best Creative Glass Award (hot and warm glass processes): $100 sponsored by Bird Dog Glass - Jason Walker for "You're Mine" (spider & frog)

Outstanding Jewelry Award: $100 - Phoebe Smith for "Ocean Jasper"

Best in Fiber Award: $250 sponsored by Knitkabob - Jo Cowling for "Birds of Union County"

Fred Hill Best Photography Award (self-printed artworks): $100 - N/A

Commercially Printed Photography Award: $100 sponsored by Cook Memorial Library of La Grande - Teresa Stearns Uriarte for "Sunrise and Wildflowers"

People's Choice Award: $100

Art Center East Honorable Mentions

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!

About the Judge

Robert Anders was born and raised in Southern California. He studied fine art and graphic design throughout the 1970s at Mira Costa and Palomar Junior Colleges and San Diego State University. After relocating to Golden, Colorado, Robert further developed his mastery of sculpture, printmaking and studio ceramics at the University of Denver. 

An accomplished multi-media artist, Robert owned and operated the Atelier Colorado in Denver, Colorado, from 1978-1992. He has collaborated with numerous renowned artists and participated in personal exhibitions of fine art with major galleries in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Boulder, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and New York City. 

Robert’s broad artistic interests and approaches move fluidly throughout the various mediums of sculpture, painting, and printmaking. Robert’s work is held in private collections internationally. He now resides in Baker City, Oregon. 

Community Ensembles