Hudgens Center's competition finalists to open exhibit

DULUTH — The Final Four may be long over in basketball, but the competition is just heating up over in the Hudgens Center for the Art’s Prize Visual Arts Competition.

The four finalists — Christopher Chambers of Atlanta, Robbie Land of Atlanta, Derek Larson of Statesboro and Pam Longobardi of Atlanta — open their “Finalist Exhibit” on June 8 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The $50,000 Hudgens Prize will be awarded by the jury panel based on in-person visits to the four finalists’ studios and the works on display at the Duluth venue.

The Hudgens Prize is one of the largest art awards given in the entire nation — thanks to an anonymous donor — and is open only to Georgia residents. The grand prize is $50,000 in cash and an invitation for a solo exhibition.

“This has been an exciting process,” said Angela Nichols, programming and education director at the Hudgens. “The Hudgens Prize competition is one of the biggest and most exciting things that we do as an organization, and we’re so fortunate that we are able to offer this opportunity to Georgia artists.”

All four artists will display their work in the “Finalist’s Exhibition” at the Hudgens Center through Sept. 7. Each finalist receives $1,500 cash stipend to help cover expenses relating to the exhibition.

On July 9, there is an Artists Talks with Chambers and Land. On July 25, Longobardi and Larson will give their Artists Talks. The doors open at 7 p.m. for both events with a brief informal period — the talks begin at 7:30 p.m.

The prize winner will be announced at the Hudgens Prize Award Celebration at 8 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Performing Arts Center of the Gwinnett Center.

Before the four artists could make it this far, they had to make it through a rigorous elimination process. For the month of February, three juried judges examined 370 artists’ entries until they whittled it down to Chambers, Land, Larson and Longobardi.

“I don’t envy our jury panel in making their final decision between the four finalists,” Nichols said. “Each of the finalists is an accomplished, intelligent and thoughtful artist, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know them and their work.”

The last winner was Gyun Hur of Atlanta in 2010. Hur received both national and international recognition following her receipt of the award, including selection for an Artadia Award and exhibits in Chicago and Hong Kong, and had her solo exhibit at the Hudgens in December 2011.

For more information, visit www.thehudgens.org.