A painting by Philadelphia resident Millie Howell will be included in the 40th annual Bi-State Art Competition.
A painting by Philadelphia resident Millie Howell will be included in the 40th annual Bi-State Art Competition.
It began on Feb. 8, 1974, when it was already considered the biggest event in the museum's history, and it has grown every year since.

The Meridian Museum of Art's Bi-State Art Competition, is the oldest juried art competition in the region, has returned for it's 40th year.

The Bi-State is the Museum's prestigious annual exhibit that recognizes and celebrates outstanding artistic achievement by artists.

The closing reception for this year's competition will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 6-8 p.m.

The reception is free and open to the public.

Juror Mark Grote at the presentation ceremony will announce the award winners, including the $1,000 Alliance Health Center Best of Show award, at 7 p.m.

"We're excited to be able to bring the Bi-State to Meridian again," says Kate Cherry, Museum Director. "It's an unparalleled chance for our visitors to see the best that the Southeastern art world has to offer."

Mark Grote, 2013 Juror, has served as Professor of Sculpture (since 1999) and Chairman of the Visual Arts Department (1972 - 1999) at Loyola University, New Orleans, La.

He received his MFA from Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. with a major in Sculpture and a minor in Photography.

He was a Fulbright Scholar in the early 1990's at the University of Plymouth in Exeter, England.

He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Internationally.

Fellowships, residences and grants date back to 1980.

Museums and corporations throughout the USA have collected his work.

In his artist statement, Grote emphasizes the importance place has on his work.

Juror Grote chose the works featured in the exhibit from the artists' submissions.

"I am honored to have been asked by the MMA to be the juror for the 40th Annual Bi-State Art Competition for 2013. All of the entries from Mississippi and Alabama clearly illustrate the wealth of artistic talent that both states enjoy. Selecting works for an exhibition is simultaneously enjoyable and difficult.

One has the opportunity to see exceptional works created by dedicated artists.

The challenge is the selection process for a particular exhibition. Selecting one work and not another is sometimes hard to justify, but after multiple reviews the selections become clear and focused.  I attempted to offer a balance of work representing the range of the wonderful art being produced in both states. I look forward to meeting many of the exhibiting artists at the Awards Reception on the 28th of September."

The Bi-State is open to current and past residents of Mississippi and Alabama.

The competition offers over $3,000 in awards and prizes, including the $1,000 Alliance Health Center Best of Show Award.

Sponsors for the 2013 Bi-State include Alliance Health Center, the City of Meridian, the Phil Hardin Foundation, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Riley Foundation, the Community Foundation of East Mississippi, the Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and the National Endowment of the Arts.

Artists with work in the 40th Annual Bi-State include Ann Kukor, Anne O'Hara, Barbara Parish, Brad Luke, Brad Robertson, Bryce Speed, Carolyn Busenlener, Charles Carraway, Charlie Muñoz, Christopher Payne, David Howell, Debora Myles, Don Norris, Erin Hardin, Euphus Ruth, George Ann McCullough, Glenn Sanford, Gwin Robertson, Jake Weigel, Jamey Grimes, Jason Guynes, Jerrod Partridge, Jerry R. Johnson, Jill Hammes, Julia W. Gary, Julie Plasketes, Kathie Baeuerlin, Kimberly Davis, Kyle Braund, Kyle Goddard, Lee McCarty, Lesley K. Silver, Lesley Wilson, Marc Burnette, Margaret Barber, Margaret Gluhman, Martha Carlson, Mary Katherine Blackwell, Mary Kerr, Michael Swann, Millie Howell, Nancy VanDevender, Pamela Askew , Patt Odom, Randy Shoults, Robert Gibson, Ron Koehler, Ross Turner, Sabyna Sterrett, Sadako Lewis, Shu H. Chang, Susa Nawrocki, Suzanne McClain, Tom Wegrzynowski, Virginia Rougon Chavis and Wanda Hurt Warren.

The museum is located at 628 25th Ave., and is open Wednesday - Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the Museum is free.

For more information, visit our website www.meridianmuseum.org, call 693-1501 or e-mail MeridianMuseum@bellsouth.net.