Critical Mass 2 & artspace are projects of the
Shreveport Regional Arts Council.




Critic Series continues with national critics judging Critical Mass 2 exhibition and art competition at artspace

For further information please contact:
Pam Atchison, SRAC Executive Director
(318) 673-6500;
Megan Porter, artspace Exhibition Director
(318) 673-6535;
Casey Jones, SRAC Marketing Director
(318) 673-6500;

         The Shreveport Regional Arts Council annual Critic’s Series returns to artspace with new surprises and expanded cash prizes as Northwest Louisiana’s literary, performing and visual artists compete for the “Best of Show” title and awards in Critical Mass 2.

     The Critical Mass 2 Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony is Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5 p.m. in coolspace @ artspace. That evening, three nationally acclaimed critics will review the exhibited work of some of Northwest Louisiana’s most talented artists and name a “Best of Show” winner in each category of Literary, and Visual Arts, while selecting finalists to compete – in a live performance – for the “Best of Show” in Performing Arts. The Critics have been selected through a curatorial process lead by nationally renowned critic Robert L. Pincus, Ph.D.  The Series is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

     The Opening Reception, Critique and Awards Ceremony are open and free to the public of all ages. Complimentary tasty treats and a Cash Bar is available.

     More than 100 Northwest Louisiana Artists have submitted works for exhibition and critical review.  All Artists registered on the NWLA Artists Directory were invited to submit one work for consideration at the CRITICAL MASS 2 Exhibition.
The critics for this year’s Critical Mass 2 are David L. Ulin (Literary), Anne Marie Welsh (Performing Arts) and Susan C. Larsen (Visual Arts).  On Thursday, February 13, the three critics will give a public critique and award the “Best of Show” winner from their designated discipline.  Welsh and Ulin will present via Skype.

     The artspace Critic’s Series was developed three years ago when the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Rocco Landesman, made a visit to Shreveport to announce a major grant award that would jumpstart the planning and vision process for Shreveport Common.  In an effort to ensure that the NEA Chairman would “see” the NWLA Arts Community, a last minute Exhibition opportunity, IMPROMTU, was created at artspace. During the series, IMPROMPTU critic Robert L. Pincus, Ph.D., former critic for the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Tribune, met with area artists who urged that a system of formal critique could advance professionalism in the Arts in Northwest Louisiana.

     In early 2013, art critic Lauren Buscemi of San Diego, California visited Northwest Louisiana and critiqued Critical Mass, naming visual artist Joshua Chambers “Best of Show”.  As a part of his winning, Chambers was awarded a solo exhibition at artspace.  Buscemi returned for the Opening Reception for Chambers exhibition “YOU, ME & EVERYTHING IN-BETWEEN” in July 2013 to give a live, public critique and a written critique.

     “The critic’s response to my work affirmed good practices and process that I had established in my work. It was nice to hear such a positive interest expressed by someone from outside our area, and who is so knowledgeable about contemporary art,” said Joshua Chambers, 2013 Critical Mass Best of Show winner. “In addition, building a connection from outside entity has encouraged me to expand my areas of application for both gallery representation and general exhibition.”

The Awards

     One Literary artist named “Best of Show” will receive a $2,000 cash prize, an advertisement in a national Literary publication, and the Literary critic’s written review of the artist’s work will be published in local/national literary art publications/websites. Additionally, artspace will either publish a small booklet of works, or create an exhibition of works to be displayed as a coolspace exhibition.

          One Visual Artist named “Best of Show” will receive a $2,000 cash prize, a solo exhibition at artspace in Summer 2014, a ¼ page advertisement in the national publications ART NEWS and ART IN AMERICA magazines. The critic will also return for a public “Critic’s Talk” reviewing the work, explaining the elements of a strong review, and sharing conversation with the artist. The Visual Arts critic will submit a written review of the solo exhibition that will be published in local/national visual arts journal.   

     Up to five Performing Artists, or Performing Arts Organizations will be named finalists and will be invited to produce a 30 minute performance to be shown, live, during the summer.  From the live, finalists, a “Best of Show” performance will be selected to receive a $2,000 cash prize.  The Critical Mass 2: Finale Live Performance is Wednesday, August 6, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. (venue to be announced). The Performing Arts Award Ceremony and Critics Talk are Friday, August, 8, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at artspace.  Anne Marie Welsh, the Performing Arts critic, will write a critique that will be published in local/national performing arts publication/websites.

          “The best thing about Critical Mass is that no other show that I know of in North Louisiana gives an audience the opportunity to see such a wonderful menagerie of regional artists exhibiting their best work all in the same space at the same time.” Chambers said.
     The Critical Mass 2 exhibition continues from February 14 to March 22 with free admission during regular artspace business hours.

Critics Talk

     On Saturday, February 15, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at artspace, Welsh and Ulin will host a public Critics Talk. During the open discussion, the critics will speak in depth about the art of critiquing and select art works showing in Critical Mass 2. 

Northwest Louisiana Juried Roster Artist Review

     Ulin, Welsh and Larsen will also critique Artists on the Northwest Louisiana Artists’ Directory who have requested to join the Northwest Louisiana Juried Artists Roster.

     The Juried Roster Artists are professional artists in the region with strong bodies of work, and decided upon by designated out-of-area critics twice a year. Artists must be on the NWLA Artists’ Directory to be considered and must request Roster review by February 15, 2014. 

About the Critics

     David L. Ulin is book critic, and former book editor, of the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of "The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time," "The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith," and the novella "Labyrinth." He is also the editor of three anthologies: "Cape Cod Noir," "Another City: Writing from Los Angeles," and "Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology," which won a 2002 California Book Award. His next book, a collection of linked essays on walking in Los Angeles, will be published in 2013 by the University of California Press.

     Anne Marie Welsh, Ph.D., RYT is a veteran dance and theater critic, author, editor and writing teacher whose work has appeared in newspapers coast to coast, magazines, literary journals as well as academic and trade books.
Welsh began her career as dance critic and arts writer for the Washington Star in the nation’s capital.  For 25 years, she served as chief dance critic, and then theater critic for the San Diego Union and Union-Tribune where she wrote more than 5,000 reviews, features, profiles and essays. She co-authored The Longman Anthology of Contemporary Drama, Shakespeare: Script, Stage, Screen, and the handbook Evaluating Plays on Film and Video. She has taught courses on the history and criticism of dance and theater at The Smithsonian Institution, for U.S. State Department cultural affairs officers, and at several universities including a 12-year stint at the University of California, San Diego.   Welsh has also published six non-fiction works (Scholastic, Time for Kids Books) for young readers. She continues to write regularly on the performing arts for the Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. Her first work of fiction, StillBorn, won last year’s San Diego Book Award for best unpublished novel.

     Anne Marie holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English literature and drama, and is a graduate of the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts, certified as a teacher by the Yoga Alliance. A resident of La Jolla, California, she is also the proud mother of sons Adam, Martin and Casimir Morawski.

     Susan C. Larsen is a critic and art historian currently living in Maine.  She has been Curator of the Permanent Collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art, professor of art history at the University of Southern California and collector of artists' papers for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.  She has written articles and reviews for such publications as:  Art in America; Art News; Artforum; Art International; the LAICA Journal; MS. Magazine.  Her essays have appeared in many museum catalogues concerning the art of:  Walter Ingliss Anderson; Charles Biederman; Vija Celmins; Richard Diebenkorn; George Herms; Edward Hopper; John McLaughlin; Wayne Thiebaud; Cy Twombly and many others. 

     She has specialized in the history of abstract art in America but has also done substantial work on the art of outsiders on the West Coast.  At present she is consulting curator for the Clinton Hill/Allen Tran Foundation in Rancho Mirage, California.
    For more information about Critical Mass 2, visit or call artspace at (318) 673-6535. For information about the Northwest Louisiana Juried Roster, call Vickie Marshall at (318) 673-6500.

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