Art Machine Features Student Art at the Northern Kentucky Salon Des Refuses

The exhibition opens February 5th and will be held at three venues including: Bellevue's Sigra Gallery 205 Fairfield Avenue, Covington's Artisans Enterprise Center at 25 W 7th Street and Art Machine Inc.'s new studio space located at 1032 Saratoga Street, Newport.

Jennifer Baldwin, Executive Director of Art Machine Inc., has been the organizer for the Scholastic Art Awards in the Southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky/Southeastern Indiana region for the last 16 years. The event’s opening famously attracts over 2,500 visitors and hosts works submitted by art students from all Middle Schools and High Schools in the region, where only a handful of students are then chosen to participate in the National Award ceremony held at Carnegie Hall, New York City. More than 77,000 teenagers across the nation in grades 7-12 participated last year, submitting over 100,000 works to be reviewed by creative industry professionals. Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky/Southeastern Indiana's youth claims approximately 500 of the total submissions (45 Portfolio nominees and 150 individual category entrants)


Largely due to the disparity in Arts program support between schools in Greater Cincinnati and schools in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati being the better supported of the two, Northern Kentucky teens have historically become relatively under-represented in the Scholastic Art Awards. Arts teachers from the region are skeptical to get their students to participate because competition is fierce.  Add the fact that fewer schools in Northern Kentucky participate because "the amount of time and effort it takes to put together portfolios and individual categories, coupled with year-on-year rejections" decreases the number of Northern Kentucky young artists who could benefit from this program.

All this is about to change, thanks to Jennifer Baldwin's collaboration with City Arts and Community leaders across the river.

Three cities including Bellevue, Covington and Newport, have banded together to host a collective Tri-City Salons des Refusés. The Salon des Refusés, French for "exhibition of rejects", is generally an exhibition of works rejected by the jury of the official Paris Salon, but the term is most famously used to refer to the Salon des Refusés of 1863. During this time, Paris was a breeding ground for artists of all forms. Any artist who wanted to be recognized, at that time, was required to have exhibited in a Salon, or to have gone to school in France. Being accepted into these Salons was a matter of survival for some artists; reputations and careers could be started or broken, based solely upon acceptance into these exhibits. Many critics and the public ridiculed the refusés, which included such now-famous paintings as Édouard Manet's Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) and James McNeill Whistler's Girl in White. Today by extension, salon des refusés refers to any exhibition of works rejected from a juried art show.

The Tri-City effort is using the idea of the Salon to boost the promotion of talent seen in Northern Kentucky and to provide an additional incentive to encourage youth and art teachers to submit to the Scholastic Art Awards. The Salon will also provide a means by which their efforts will have an increased opportunity for recognition, as well as give the local public a chance to become familiar with the Scholastic Art Awards program.

The Northern Kentucky Salons des Refusés will show one piece of unselected artwork by every Northern Kentucky area student who submits to the Scholastic Art Awards this year. "This is a great opportunity to give these kids exposure to a professional art environment and also to the public who can see just how much artistic talent Northern Kentucky is harboring." Says Natalie Bowers, Arts District Manager, City of Covington.

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