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The Austin Visual Arts Awards

Clear a place on your mantle for a 'Fearing'

By Robert Faires, Fri., Dec. 4, 2009

In recent years, awards for cultural achievements may have been breeding like bunnies on the national scene, but on the home front here, they're still almost as scarce as double-digit afternoons in August. Let's see, we have the B. Iden Payne Awards for theatre, the Austin Improv Collective awards, the Austin Fashion Awards, the American Institute of Architects Austin Honor Awards. the Austin Critics Table Awards, this paper's Austin Music Awards, of course, and for local creative work, that's pretty much it.

Well, this week you can add one more set of honors to the list as the Austin Visual Arts Association inaugurates the Austin Visual Arts Awards. These new prizes recognize artists in specific categories (two-dimensional art, three-dimensional art, photography, and new media) and at different stages of their careers (early career, lifetime achievement, and somewhere in between: The Collectors Circle Award honors a career artist who consistently creates outstanding series of works), along with awards for outstanding arts patronage and service to the arts. The awards themselves are bronzes designed by sculptor Bob Coffee and will be nicknamed "Fearings" in honor of longtime Texas artist Kelly Fearing, who will receive a Lifetime Achievement award along with memorial honors for the late Robert Dale Anderson and Michael Frary.

Nominations were solicited from a range of museums, galleries, studios, and professional associations throughout the area. Artists receiving multiple nominations had their names forwarded to a selection committee made up of representatives from 12 organizations (including your humble correspondent from this paper), with committee members scoring each finalist independently. The artists with the highest scores will be recognized with awards at a ceremony to be held this Friday, Dec. 4, at the Austin Museum of Art – Downtown. AVAA President Bill Keese will emcee the event, and to make the evening artistically complete, a new work of art will be unveiled: a temporary, site-specific installation about wind that AMOA commissioned from Christina Venson. See you there!

The Austin Visual Arts Awards will be held Friday, Dec. 4, 7pm, at the Austin Museum of Art – Downtown, 823 Congress. For more information, call 922-3104 or visit www.avaaonline.org.

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