Albrecht-Kemper Museum Celebrates 50 Years of Membership Exhibitions

2023 Membership Exhibition

1975 Flyer for the 1st Annual Membership Exhibition Opening.

On Jan. 12, 2024, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art will premiere its 50th Annual Membership Exhibition. This regional tradition began on Feb. 5, 1975, when the then-Albrecht Art Museum exhibited 104 works by 58 artists. The community support and enthusiasm from artists makes this exhibition the most eagerly anticipated every year. In 2023, 105 artists from across the region shared 187 artworks. To celebrate this milestone, the AKMA will be looking back at the history of this key program and recognizing the early artists of the exhibition, including well-known St. Joseph and Kansas City artists like Dorothy Wenz, Gertrude Freyman, Don Andorfer and Janice O’Quinn. This year’s show will be featured in the Thedinger Gallery and will have an extended exhibition period. Work will be on view until April 14, 2024.

The core of the exhibition has remained the same from the beginning: Any member of the museum, no matter their artistic experience, may enter two recent artworks. Over the years, the number of categories has grown and changed; watercolor painting is separated from oil and acrylic while ceramics are now separated from other sculpture. The two most recently added categories are digital art and fiber arts, bringing the total to 10. Artists began receiving awards in these categories in the late 1980s. The 2023 Best of Show Award winner was Jim Lawrence with his honest, straightforward portrait Charlotte.

The opportunity to share their work with the community draws artists of all skill levels back year after year. This exhibition’s continued growth and popularity fulfills one of the key missions of the AKMA: nurturing regional artists. By focusing on recent works, the exhibition reflects the vibrancy of each artist’s current practice and points toward the future. The museum staff is excited to see artists whose skill and confidence grows with each new exhibition. Consistently strong artwork and winning awards has led to many of the exhibiting artists later holding solo and small group exhibitions at the museum.

The Annual Membership Exhibition is open to anyone who is a member of the museum. Entries will be accepted in early January. Information and entry forms are available on albrecht-kemper.org. The exhibition will be on view from Jan. 13, 2024, through April 14, 2024.

Financial assistance provided by the St. Joseph, Missouri Visitors Bureau.

–Megan Benitz

CategoriesArts Consortium

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