FARMINGTON — For the second year in a row, Four Corners area artists have been invited to participate in an art exhibit spread through Farmington's historic downtown.

The exhibit, called People's Choice, was inspired by ArtPrize. ArtPrize, created by Rick DeVos, takes place over 19 days in the downtown area of Grand Rapids, Mich. That exhibition features a $200,000 award.

Currently, the People's Choice Committee is working with the Farmington Downtown Association and Three Rivers Art Center for this region's second annual "People's Choice."

While Farmington's awards will be much smaller, the People's Choice Committee hopes to give cash prizes. Last year, the winning artist received a $1,000 prize.

"Majestic Red," a mixed media by Tina Farrow, was displayed during last year’s People’s Choice exhibit.
"Majestic Red," a mixed media by Tina Farrow, was displayed during last year's People's Choice exhibit. (The Daily Times file photo)

Businesses in the historic district of downtown Farmington are invited to participate by providing space to display the art.

The exhibit begins March 14 and ends during the Spring Art Walk on April 4.

Artists residing within a 100-mile radius of Farmington are invited to submit one piece of art work to be shown. Art is selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. The number of slots available depends on how many businesses choose to participate and has not yet been announced.

Committee member Janet Burns said this makes the competition less intimidating. In many shows, the art is selected by a jury.

"It's never fun to not be selected," Burns said.

Burns said the selection process for the "People's Choice" exhibit is an equalizer.

"One of the important parts of doing art is having people see it," Burns said.

The show also decreases the intimidation factor for people who are not comfortable going to art galleries, Burns said. Instead, these people can go to restaurants and businesses in the downtown to see the art.

Burns said this not only helps the art community. It also helps the downtown by encouraging people to stop by downtown venues.

"The downtown could and should be the heart of the town," Burns said.

She said the art walks have shown that there's a sense of community not found at the mall.

"There's a place for the mall, but it's not the only thing," Burns said.

Over the course of the three weeks the art is displayed, the public will have an opportunity to view the art and vote for their favorite pieces. Cash prizes are awarded for the top five winners.

In addition, 20 San Juan College art students will be invited by faculty to enter a student category, which will also have a cash award. Last year, Beau Betoni won the student award for his ceramic wine vessel.

One new addition to this year's competition is a juror award. The committee selected Maureen May as the juror.

May is a painter, printmaker, actress and community activist in Durango, Colo.

"I have seen her work over a long period of time and know she is very respected in the art community," Burns said.

Burns said the committee chose a Durango artist because she would be able to attend and view all the art, but she would also have enough distance from the community and its artists to be able to fairly judge the show.

Last year's exhibit featured 67 artists displayed at 15 downtown businesses. Sponsors also contributed to the prize money.

The committee hopes to have even more venues and artists this year.

"I don't see any reason it won't be bigger and better than last year," Burns said.

GET INVOLVED

Businesses: Businesses in the historic downtown district that would like to participate can call 505-599-1419 or 505-360-0147 for more information.

When: Time and date goes here

Artists: Pick up a prospectus with criteria for submitting at Three Rivers Art Center, 109 N. Allen Ave., or email hgrover@daily-times.com

Where: Location goes here

Sponsors: Anyone interested in sponsoring the event can call 505-360-0147. The donation is tax deductible.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.