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Mobile Arts Councils galleries are now hosting 5, an art competition honoring student artists. An awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. Twelve students from the University of South Alabama participated in the competition.

“Several years ago, artist and teacher Wanda Sullivan, assistant professor of fine arts at Spring Hill College, suggested that MAC organize an exhibition of work by students from the area’s five colleges and universities,” MAC Program Director Lucy Gafford said. “The result was Take 5 in April 2008, and its success convinced us to make it a biennial event. We retitled it, simply, 5, and this year, we present our sixth exhibition.”

Students from the area’s local universities submitted artwork for the competition and it is currently on display.

“Entry was open to any student – not only students studying art – enrolled during any part of the 2017 -18 academic year at Bishop State Community College, Coastal Alabama Community College, Spring Hill College, the University of Mobile or the University of South Alabama,” Gafford said. “Our goals for the 5 competition are to give students the opportunity to participate in a juried exhibition, provide a professional public setting for them to showcase their work, and bring together the diverse talents exhibited by all five Mobile-area schools.”

In order for the artwork to be displayed, it had to go through an initial round of judging.

“Students submitted images of their entries digitally to us months prior to the competition, along with a $20 entry fee to pay for the judge and towards prize money,” Gafford said. “From the 90 works submitted, Judge Wendy DesChene of Auburn University chose 60 pieces by 34 artists: three from Bishop State Community College, 10 from Coastal Alabama Community College, six from Spring Hill College, three from the University of Mobile and 12 from the University of South Alabama.”

Gafford was impressed by USA students’ work.

“The students have very impressive work, and a wide range of mediums used – from glass sculptures to oil paintings and illustrations,” Gafford said.

Gafford has a personal reason to favor USA artwork.

“I’m a little biased when it comes to discussing USA’s visual arts programs, since I’m a USA graduate with BFA degrees in Painting and Sculpture,” Gafford said. “I think USA has a fantastic visual arts program with a very talented and fun staff of professors. I would recommend it to anyone!”

The exhibition will offer financial rewards.

“The exhibition will hang in our galleries from Monday, April 2 through Friday, April 27, with a reception and awards ceremony during the LoDa ArtWalk on Friday, April 13 between 6 – 9 p.m,” Gafford said. “Prizes, including cash and gift certificates, will be awarded the evening of the reception. Prizes are provided by Ashland Gallery, the Mobile Art Association, and the Mobile Arts Council. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays and it will be open on Saturday and Sunday during the SouthSounds Arts and Crafts Market hours.”

MAC galleries are at 318 Dauphin Street. To find more information, visit

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