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College’s National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show Attracts Nation’s Artists for Over a Half-century


Article by: Melinda Eddleman

His vision has lasted more than 50 years. In fact, the late Joseph A. Cain, who served as a professorand chair of the Art Department at Del Mar College (DM), dreamed of an exhibit in the 1960s that would attract artists from all over the country to showcase some of the nation’s best work.

That dream continues more than a half-century later as the DMC Art and Drama Department hosts an opening reception for the 52nd Annual National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show next Friday, Feb. 16, featuring two- and three-dimensional pieces.

The show opens with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Joseph A. Cain Memorial Art Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Center on Del Mar’s East Campus on Ayers Street. The opening includes live music, hors d’ oeuvres and a cash bar. For more information about the reception or the national art show, call the DMC Art Office at 361-698-1216. 

This year’s juried exhibit attracted 197 entries, including 114 drawings and 83 sculptures submitted by 117 artists representing 23 states.

The task to narrow those entries down to the final exhibit was challenging according to this year’s juror, Dora Natella, associate professor of sculpture at the E. M. Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University South Bend. Natella selected 28 drawings and 24 sculptures for the 2018 exhibit, which represents 39 artists whose works made the national show.


I enjoyed looking through the variety of abstract and non-figurative artworks, and I marvel at the imagination of the artists. It was equally enjoyable to view all the various expressive interpretations of figurative and representational subjects. Even though fewer artists submitted works in these genres, their efforts were equally commendable.
Dora Natella, Sculptor and 2018 Juror of the DMC National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show

She added, “As I narrowed down my choices, I was drawn to artwork that is evocative, mysterious, and intellectually compelling, where form and content come together to generate meaning and transcendence.”

An accomplished artist in her own right, Natella has participated during the College’s national art show in the past as well.

Raised and educated in Italy, Natella studied sculpture in the classical tradition at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples. She moved to the United States in her 20s for advanced studies in bronze casting techniques and the opportunity to immerse herself in a new culture with fewer direct connections to a classical past.

Natella’s artwork has been widely exhibited in many venues across the United States, including the most recent juried and invitational shows in South Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Additionally, her sculptures have won many awards and are part of several private and public collections in Merida, Venezuela; Rome, Italy; and the United States.

While on campus earlier this month, Natella selected purchase awards for the College, which exhibit coordinators will announce during the reception. Every year, Del Mar purchases a few pieces and adds them to its permanent collections, one of which is housed with the Art Program and displayed in Cain Gallery from time to time and the other in the William F. White, Jr. Library in the fifth-floor gallery.

Art collectors may also purchase many of the exhibition pieces.

Overall I feel that this is a remarkable and stimulating exhibition that addresses a broad range of formal, conceptual and technical directions.
Dora Natella, Sculptor and 2018 Juror of the DMC National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show

Take the opportunity to see some of the country’s best artists’ work. The show runs through May 4 with gallery hours scheduled 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. until noon on Fridays.

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.