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Contemporary Northwest Art Awards to Open at The Portland Art Museum
Video still: Cat Clifford, Two Chairs, 2007, 2 channel digital video, dimensions variable, Image courtesy Howard House Contemporary Art, Seattle.

PORTLAND.- This summer, the Portland Art Museum proudly presents the inaugural Contemporary Northwest Art Awards. Developed to honor emerging and nationally under-recognized professional artists living in the Northwest, this dynamic special exhibition of recent and new work by the award recipients — Dan Attoe, Cat Clifford, Jeffry Mitchell, Whiting Tennis, and Marie Watt — is at the core of the Museum’s summer program. The exhibition presents a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the diversity of contemporary art thriving in the region and to gain a deeper understanding of the artists’ concerns and creative practices.

The Contemporary Northwest Art Awards celebrates the quality, innovation, and professional practice found among this group of five artists. Their achievements are recognized with an award, a cash prize, and a featured space within the special exhibition. This year’s collection of thought-provoking works — from existential narratives in oil, graphite, and neon to stop-motion animation referencing the pioneer dream — underscores the Museum’s long-time commitment to celebrating, exhibiting, and collecting art of the region.

During the exhibition’s opening, one artist will receive the $10,000 Arlene Schnitzer Prize, named in honor of philanthropist, longtime regional arts advocate, and Museum Life Trustee Arlene Schnitzer.

Dedicated to engaging the visual arts community in the greater Northwest, the Museum invited a wide range of arts professionals to nominate artists in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming for awards, based on the quality, innovation, skill, and relevance to community or global issues. After receiving 259 nominations, the Museum invited the nominees to submit materials. Curator Jennifer A. Gately and guest curatorial advisor James Rondeau, Curator and Chair of the Art Institute of Chicago's Department of Contemporary Art, reviewed the nominees’ work and selected 28 finalists. Gately then conducted studio visits with the finalists before announcing this year’s recipients.

The 28 finalists: Dan Attoe, Gretchen Bennett, Joshua Berger, Buddy Bunting, Cat Clifford, Judy Cooke, Claire Cowie, Marc Dombrosky, Ellen Garvens, Jesse Hayward, Mary Henry, Fay Jones, Michael Knutson, James Lavadour, Margie Livingston, D.E. May, Jeffry Mitchell, Seth Nehil, Richard Notkin, Geraldine Ondrizek, Joseph Park, Akio Takamori, Whiting Tennis, Storm Tharp, Oscar Tuazon, Laura Vandenburg, Marie Watt, and Robert Yoder.

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