The international “FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social and Politically Engaged Art” at East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum never fails to reflect the social and political milieu and zeitgeist of the country and world.
The 2020 exhibition, which is scheduled to run Oct. 5-Dec. 11, will follow suit, with virtual, as well as on-ground, programming and a special award to an artist whose work reflects the Black Lives Matter movement.
“There will be no general theme for entries except social and politically engaged artworks,” say co-directors Barb, Wayne and Carrie Dyer, who established the exhibition in memory of Fletcher Dyer, senior ETSU Art and Design student who was in a fatal motorcycle accident in 2009. “But this year’s exhibit will honor Black Lives Matter.”
The 2020 juror will be Carlton Wilkinson, a Nashville-based photographer and proprietor of Wilkinson Arts.
The directors of the 2020 exhibit have issued their Call for Entries to artists through Aug. 23, with an extended deadline of Aug. 31 for an additional fee. A non-refundable fee of $40 is required for submission of up to three entries, with an additional $10 fee per artwork/title over three.
Artists should submit entries online or consult the prospectus, which can be found at www.FL3TCH3Rexhibit.com/downloads/prospectus.pdf.
A portion of the entry fees funds the Fletcher Hancock Dyer B.F.A. Graphic Design Scholarship Award given annually to an ETSU Art and Design student.
“As an artist and graphic designer, Fletcher’s passion for art was a vehicle that allowed him to mirror his passion and marry it to his concern for social and political issues through visual means,” says Fletcher’s mother Barb Dyer, a children’s advocacy attorney. “Fletcher was always curious and aware of current events. He experimented in innovative ways to create works that investigate contemporary social issues.
“The ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ aspires to honor Fletcher’s legacy by providing a venue for artists to exhibit artworks that continue the dialogue.”
Work submitted should reflect current issues that affect contemporary culture and investigate societal and political concerns. Submissions will be accepted from the categories of audio/sound, ceramics, digital, fiber, glass, graphic design, jewelry/metals, mixed media (2D), mixed media (3D), painting, performance/installation (via video), photography, printmaking, sculpture, video/film, medical/health care and other.
In response to recent events worldwide, the Dyers have added an award for artwork focusing on Black Lives Matter. “The ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ is dedicated to supporting people of color after 401 years of systemic racism,” says co-director Carrie Dyer, a graphic design faculty member at High Point University in North Carolina. “The co-directors of the exhibit denounce racist structures, constructs and daily subconscious oppression. We are working and committed to a lifelong pursuit of learning about racism and working to dismantle these systems.”
Other awards include the best-in-show awards and memorial awards established in memory of former ETSU Art and Design Chair Jack Schrader, former ETSU Vice President of Academic Affairs and arts supporter Robert J. Alfonso, and Dorothy Carson, mother of graphic designer David Carson. Additional annual “FL3TCH3R” awards are the Sammie L. Nicely Appalachian Award and the Avery Healthcare and the Arts Award.
The exhibit’s more than $1,000 in awards are expected to be announced and presented at the exhibition reception and juror talk at ETSU’s Reece Museum, on a date still to be determined, says Fletcher’s father and ETSU Department of Art and Design faculty member Wayne Dyer.
As a result of continuing COVID-19 concerns, ETSU’s Reece Museum will welcome the public, but allow no more than 10 people in a gallery at a time, requesting use of masks and social distancing, says Exhibition Coordinator Spenser Brenner. The “FL3TCH3R” awards ceremony and juror talk will have limited seating in the museum but will be shared online in some form, Brenner says.
Special programming for the 2020 exhibit will include virtual online tours of the exhibition, possible Zoom tours, online interviews with artists and social media posts, as well as a possible roundtable discussion on Black Lives Matter issues.
“The Reece Museum looks forward to collaborating with the ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ and the ETSU campus community to bring a wide variety of virtual programming to those who might be unable to visit the 2020 ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ in person,” Brenner says.
A positive and exciting aspect of “the first virtual ‘FL3TCH3R,’” Barb Dyer says, “might be that more people and artists, who cannot normally travel here for events such as the reception and awards or discussions during the exhibition, will be able to join and participate online in numerous ways.”
For more information about Fletcher Dyer, visit http://fletcherdyer.com/about.html. For more information about the exhibit and submissions, visit http://www.FL3TCH3Rexhibit.com. For more on the Reece Museum, visit www.etsu.edu/reece or call 423-439-4392.