Southeast Regional brings together art of the Southeast

LaGrange College is partnering with the LaGrange Art Museum to host the second LaGrange Southeast Regional Exhibition through April 20. Paintings, prints and drawings will be shown at the art museum, while photography, ceramics, sculpture and mixed media will be featured at Lamar Dodd Art Center.

John Lawrence, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Art and Design, said the Southeast Regional traces its roots to the LaGrange National Competition.

“The LaGrange Art Museum changed it to the Southeast Regional a couple of years ago in an effort to focus solely on regional artists,” he said. “We opted out of it at that point, but were invited back this year, and were happy to return.”

The National began in 1964 when a competitive show known as the Gardens Art Festival was organized and sponsored by the Chattahoochee Valley Art Association (later the LaGrange Art Museum), LaGrange College and Callaway Gardens. In 1974, the competition was moved to LaGrange, took the name LaGrange National and was expanded from a regional to a national show.

In 1984, the competition expanded again and displayed in two locations, the Chattahoochee Valley Art Association Museum and the Lamar Dodd Art Center of LaGrange College.

Lawrence said the exhibition serves important purposes for the college.

“First, it exposes our students to artists they may not know, and it gives them a good idea of where contemporary American art is heading,” he said. “It also gives us the opportunity, through the generosity of the Callaway Foundation, to purchase new works for our permanent collection.”

Over the years, the LaGrange National earned a reputation for its distinguished jurors. This year, David Houston, executive director of the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University’s College of the Arts, is curating the show.

“We are honored to have David as curator,” Lawrence said. “He has done remarkable things at museums around the country.”

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