Artlink hosted its Juried Exhibition in a temporary gallery space at Park Central Feb. 7, and while the event has been held for 19 years, the focus wasn’t on the past but on a promising future.

The exhibition, presented by True North Studio, invited artists to submit work, and be shown if chosen by a panel of three jurors, Lisa Sette, owner of Lisa Sette Gallery, artist Gennaro Garcia, and Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator of SMoCA. From 151 submissions, 30 works of art were chosen of all different media. Three cash awards were given, with $750 second runner-up going to Kit Abate of Tempe for “Four Feet on the Ground” and the $1,500 first runner-up award going to Christine Cassano for “The Gravity of Correspondence.”

The $5,000 first place was awarded to Antoinette Cauley for her painting, “Excuse Me, I Have On Too Much Jewelry.”

Antoinette Cauley. Instagram @antoinettecauley

Antoinette Cauley with “Excuse Me, I Have On Too Much Jewelry.” Courtesy @antoinettecauley

For Cauley, the award validated everything she has worked on since she quit her day job at the Boys & Girls Club three years ago.

“I’ve literally spent the last year really focused and in my studio just working,” Cauley said. “I’m just sitting here questioning like ‘Is this really good? Did I do the right thing?’ To step out tonight in this gallery full of these amazing artists and to be validated by them it’s so reassuring about my future.”

Cauley works with young girls and re envisions them as rappers. One of her main focuses is girl empowerment. She said you don’t often see portraits of little girls of color hanging in museums and galleries. Her entire collection is girls of color ages 5-10. Two of the three girls in the portrait were in attendance at the exhibition Thursday.

“The fine art world is non existent in the black community and it’s one of my goals to be that representation, and to integrate that into the community to help to build up that next generation of artists,” said Cauley.

Cauley said that winning, in a gallery space as big and different, was an amazing feeling. The space was provided by Park Central to Artlink, with temporary walls and lighting brought in just days before the exhibition opened.

Juried Exhibition installation. Photo by Peter Deise courtesy of Artlink.

Works in progress. Juried Exhibition installation. Photo by Peter Deise courtesy of Artlink.

Bobby Zokaites, another featured artist in the exhibition commented, “I do large scale public work. It’s rare that I get to spend time at an event like this. And that actually feels great because I get to move art forward.”

Attendee Mijo Mario said he didn’t know what to expect coming to an art show for the first time in many years. He said he was pleasantly surprised with all the different visions. “It’s really special what Artlink is giving us now,” Mario said. “They’re really giving us great networking opportunities with things like this.”

See Antoinette Cauley’s collection of works in her first solo show “Ain’t Nobody Prayin’ For Me” opening at monOrchid on Friday, March 15, during Artlink’s Annual Art Detour.

If You Go

Exhibition: “Ain’t Nobody Prayin’ For Me”

Dates: March 15 to June 7, 2019

Opening Reception: March 15, 6 to 9 p.m.

Location: monOrchid, 214 E. Roosevelt St.

Admission: Free, cash bar

Ed note: DPJ publisher Catrina Kahler is President of Artlink Inc.