TEMPLE, Texas — There's a unique opportunity to see the innovative and inspirational work of young local artists from across the Central Texas area at Temple College.
The 42nd Annual Central Texas Art Competition & Exhibition runs at Temple College's Visual Arts Complex Gallery until Dec. 2, with the contest winners announced earlier this month.
The free event is part of an unrelenting effort to provide student artists in the Central Texas area with a chance to create and appreciate local art. This year's competition, sponsored by Altrusa International of Temple and the Temple South Rotary Club, is coordinated by the Temple College Visual Arts Department.
The 42nd Annual Central Texas Art Competition was conceived more than four decades ago by Temple College Art Professor Michael Donahue.
"When I first came to Temple College we didn't have any visual art scholarships," Donahue said. "There were scholarships in music and theater."
While the Central Texas Art Competition sponsors have changed over the years, one constant has been Professor Donahue.
There's something in life you have to see to believe. As Donahue discusses his work with the competition, the cascade of colorful photos surrounding him catch the eye.
"I've been a movie extra in films," Professor Donahue said in gesturing to images of a film set on one side of the wall.
"I was in this Willie Nelson film," he says as he points to another picture.
"Here I am with Robert Duvall," Donahue said gesturing to another picture.
On another wall, another cascade of pictures, and a different hat. Again, the images are more scenic and the attire more consistent.
"I'm a park ranger every year at Little Bighorn National Park," Donahue said. "Custer's last stand."
Almost like walking down a timeline of events from movie extra to park ranger, we then come to Art Professor as Donahue gestures into the gallery where this year's entries
"It's so nice to be back with the students in the classroom."
Here, students are telling a story of innovation, inspiration, and culture.
"We've got right now hanging about 140 pieces in the show," he said.
The creative efforts of Central Texas created by students from six area colleges and universities and 34 high schools are made more profound by the originality and quality of each piece on display.
"On one side we have all of the high school work," Donahue points to a winning piece of artwork created by a Georgetown High School student.
"These high school kids are amazing. For example this is a piece. It's called Alley Cats," Donahue explained.
"I'd love to recruit her to come to Temple College."
From sculptures, paintings, and photographs, the uniqueness of the entries on display becomes more apparent with each step.
"I was amazed by this it's called Silver," Donahue said, smiling walking to another. "And this is oil paint and bees wax on a leaf."
The public can attend the 42nd Annual Central Texas Art Competition Exhibition at Temple College's Visual Arts Complex Gallery for free until Dec. 2.
For more information on this year's competition, click this link.