Last updated: April 24. 2014 7:24AM - 317 Views

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PICKENS — The Pickens County Museum’s 35th annual Juried South Carolina Artist’s Exhibition will open to the public with a reception and awards ceremony from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 26.

The announcement and presentation of awards will take place at 7 p.m. The competition was open to all artists working in any medium, 18 years of age or older and living in South Carolina. The exhibition will remain on view until June 12.

The Juror for this year’s competition was Clark Whittington, an artist and the creator of the Art-o-mat — retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. After moving to Winston-Salem, N.C., Whittington was setting up a show at a local venue and he used a recently banned cigarette machine to create the first Art-o-mat.

The show opened in June 1997 and the original machine was installed along with 12 of his assemblage paintings. Scheduled to be dismantled in July 1997, the owner of the space asked that the machine stay permanently.

Whittington felt that the machine would create a conflict in the space unless it was open to artists in the community. She then introduced Whittington to a handful of other local artists and Artists in Cellophane was formed. Today, there are 90 machines around the world and over 400 artists involved. Six of the machines are featured at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Whittington spent April 11 and April 12 looking at 315 works of art representing 170 South Carolina artisans. The final selection of 113 works of art represents 94 individuals currently creating visual art in this state.

“It was an honor to be asked to be a juror for this show and to be allowed to experience what is happening culturally in your community and state,” Whittington said. “When entering the space, I was immediately overwhelmed with the quantity of submissions. Shortly after, I was overwhelmed by the quality until eventually pulling myself together.”

The Pickens County Museum of Art & History, located 307 Johnson St. in Pickens, is funded in part by Pickens County, friends and members of the museum and a grant from the S.C. Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Call 864-898-5963 or visit www.pickenscountymuseum.org for more information.

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