National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition
Submit Your Work
Sculptors from across the nation are welcome to submit an application for participation in the 13th Annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition. Up to 14 sculptures are juried into the exhibit and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $19,750. The application period for 2018/19 is closed (deadline: February 25, 2018). Call the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843-740-5854 for more information, or to be added to the application mailing list for 2019/20.
2018/19 Competition & Exhibition
Where & When
North Charleston Riverfront Park
1001 Everglades Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29405
Viewing times: May 1, 2018 – March 24, 2019, public park open daily
Free admission & parking
Award acknowledgements: Wednesday, May 2, 2018 – 6:00-8:30pm (Charleston Area Convention Center Exhibit Hall A, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston, SC 29418)
Sculpture artists from across the nation were invited to participate in the 13th annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition. Thirteen sculptures by artists from ten states were juried into the exhibit. Awards for Best in Show, Outstanding Merit, and Honorable Mentions will be determined by the juror once all pieces are installed. Organized by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department and presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Fest, this unique exhibition offers established and emerging artists the opportunity to display their inspiring and extraordinary sculptures throughout the picturesque North Charleston Riverfront Park, set along the banks of the Cooper River. An estimated 50,000 people visit this public park annually to enjoy the amenities located in the heart of the city’s arts community.
About the Juror
We are pleased to announce the juror for this year’s exhibition is Lilly Wei, New York-based independent curator, writer, journalist, lecturer, and critic. Wei has written for dozens of publications here and abroad and is a longtime contributor to Art in America and a contributing editor at ARTnews. She is the author of numerous artists’ catalogues and monographs and has curated exhibitions in the US, Europe, and Asia. Wei lectures frequently on critical and curatorial practices and sits on the board of several non-profit art institutions and organizations including AICA/USA, Bowery Arts & Sciences, and Art Omi International. She was a former board member of Art in General, and is a fellow of the CUE Foundation. Wei was born in Chengdu, China and has an MA in art history from Columbia University, New York.
I would like to begin by congratulating all the artists in this wonderful exhibition and wishing you much success. It is never easy to choose and even more difficult to select just one “best in show,” and one “outstanding merit” but it is good that a few others can be singled out also. I would further state the obvious, that these endeavors are inevitably subjective, influenced by the juror’s own inclinations and criteria, conscious and unconscious. I would add that these are my readings of the works, not necessarily those of the artists although that is what art should do—evoke myriad responses from its viewers.
That said, Joni Younkins-Herzog’s Vuida earned “Best in Show.” I very much liked its playfulness and a subversive feminism that quickly shifted into the feminist, as the flower became a trumpet of sorts, a loudspeaker, perhaps, that says that flowers, (and women) should speak out, boldly broadcasting messages that need to be heard. She upends a traditional still life vanitas motif about ephemerality into something more political, activist and of the moment.
For “Outstanding Merit,” I selected John Ross’s Yellowfish for its kineticism and its reference to modernist sculpture, this time abstract in mode but implying a sense of figuration in its proud upward stance. I liked the expert balancing of its bright red and blue forms and its use of movement, both actual and metaphoric—it inspired confidence, optimism, and well-being backed against a gloriously high sky. And I like the title that slyly includes a color that is nowhere present in the work but is implied as an ingrained part of the modernist lexicon.
The three Honorable Mentions are as follows:
Charlie Brouwer for “Hallelujah,” his ambitious, ultimately jubilant structure. It seems to offer an escape from isolation, enclosure, and a claustrophobic overly simplified, grisaille domesticity, maybe domestic policy, the tall, thrusting ladders suggesting a way to break out and construct other proposals for our complicated, fractious present.
Lena Daly for “Battery No. 1,” the most subtly colorful and painterly work among these five sculptures. Again, it is a geometric form that does double-duty as an actual object, in this case, a utilitarian battery but in a lovely, gay robin-egg’s blue—not its usual hue. The surface seems to have suffered corrosion but of a kind that transforms it into an abstract painting, more or less, since it also has implications of maps, landscape, tightly integrating sculpture and painting.
Hanna Jubran for “Moonlight Sonata,” his intricate intertwining of forms seems delicate enough to be paper instead of metal, the light sparkling across its metallic surfaces animates the structure, as if caressing it with a ripple of air or breath and recalls the modernist adage that states: all art aspires to the condition of music. Indeed, the light seems to be playing the sculpture like an instrument, the sound almost audible.
-Lilly Wei, 4/30/18
For those who want to learn more about the sculptures in the National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition from the artists themselves, download a mobile audio guide on the free app, OtoCast. Users can select “North Charleston, SC” from the list of active tours to begin a self-guided audio tour through Riverfront Park. The app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Titles/Artists/Awards – 2018/19