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57th Annual National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show Opening with Reception on Feb. 17

Guest juror Barbara Simcoe giving free lecture Feb. 16; annual art exhibit featuring 50 works by artists from all over the country

Article by: Rosa Linda Reynoso and Melinda Eddleman

Selfie by Andy_Brown

The Del Mar College (DMC) Art and Drama Department’s national art exhibit features each year some impressive work by artists from all over the country. 2023 marks the 57th year for the National Drawing & Small Sculpture Show, and guest juror Barbara Simcoe’s selection of 50 two- and three-dimensional works out of 480 entries continues to meet the expectations of its founder—the late Joseph A. Cain.

The exhibit will open Friday, Feb. 17, with a free reception scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Joseph A. Cain Memorial Art Gallery in the Fine Arts Center and includes hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. But before you attend the opening reception, you can learn more about the show’s juror during Simcoe’s free lecture about her artwork, perspectives and insights as an artist on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 11 a.m. in Richardson Performance Hall.  

Both events are open to the public and located on DMC’s Heritage Campus at Baldwin Blvd. and Ayers St. (get online direction and map). The free national show will remain on display through May 3 with gallery hours scheduled Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. until noon. The exhibit will be closed the week of March 13 during the College’s Spring Break.

For more details about the Feb. 16 lecture, Feb. 17 opening reception and the national show, contact the DMC Art Office at 361-698-1216 or art@delmar.edu.

The national show attracts not only artists and their work from across the United States but also nationally- and internationally-known artists who juror the competitive exhibit. This year’s juror, Barbara Simcoe, is a professional painter and Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Most recently, her work recontextualizes images of the war in Ukraine and has concentrated on contemporary recreations of biblical protagonists and holy sites. She has also focused on nude figure studies.

During last year’s DMC national show, Simcoe’s pastel drawing, “Aggrieved,” won the Permanent Collection Purchase Prize. This year as its juror, she will announce the three prize-winning works that were selected from the 2023 unusually strong and diverse lineup.

DMC Professor of Art and Gallery Coordinator Dr. Benjamin Ogrodnik notes, “Although it’s impossible to identify a single, unifying theme across Simcoe’s selection of 50 artworks, many reflect the issues of vulnerability and intimacy that have been top-of-mind in our age of COVID-19 and international conflict.”

This year’s show features 25 two-dimensional pieces and 25 sculptures. Works range from fiber-based assemblages, ceramic portraits and 3D-printed sculptures to hand-drawn portraits of life under the still-ongoing pandemic. There is even a reclaimed mannequin showing the seven in mesmerizing patterns and color. Many works are available for purchase, and patrons can discover some unique pieces to add to their personal collections, decorate their homes and help support the arts.

“The show is a tour-de-force of contemporary art practice with a surprising breadth of materials, medium and genre represented throughout,” Dr. Ogrodnik adds.  


As for Simcoe’s 35-year career, the working artist’s research and creative activity interests include painting drawing, photography, ancient Middle East and the ancient world overall, Christian iconography, Buddhism and Jungian psychology. Simcoe explores topics of spirituality, motherhood, the environment and the creative power of women across her body of work featuring graphite and ink drawings, oil paintings and digital photographs. Stylistically, she works with realistic figuration inhabiting psychological and symbolic spaces.

In 2004, Simcoe traveled as a Fulbright Scholar to Šiauliai, Lithuania, to research and produce work on her East European heritage and the Black Madonna iconography in Orthodox Christianity. The following year, she traveled to Israel and participated in an international exhibition in Akko. Her most recent display was in the Czech Republic. She has shown her work in other European invitational and juried exhibitions, including the Albert Gallery in Krakow, Poland. Her participation in U.S. national exhibitions include the Wood Street Gallery in Chicago; the Eugene Binder Gallery in Dallas and the LaGrange Art Museum in in LaGrange, GA.

Simcoe earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing at the University of North Texas in Denton and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois Urbana. She has taught painting and drawing since 1998 and currently resides in Omaha, NE.  



About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.