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Arts & Culture

New MTSU ‘12x12’ Exhibit Proves Big Art Can Come in Small Packages

The U.S. artists contributing to MTSU’s latest exhibit faced only one restriction on their works: no larger than one square foot.

Prepare to be amazed at the results. Art Department Chair Jean Nagy was.

“You have a piece made from Legos!” Nagy said of "12x12: A National Juried Exhibition of Small-Scale Works of Art," which opens today, Jan. 17, at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery. It also features paintings, clay, etchings, drawings, wood, prints, photography, mousetraps and shirt collars. 

The Todd Art Gallery’s first exhibit of spring 2013 will remain open through Valentine’s Day. It’s also the fourth in the "12x12" exhibit series at MTSU since 2006.

“The artists’ response to participate has exceeded our highest expectations, nearly matching the combined numbers involved with our three previous ‘12x12’ exhibits,” said Eric Snyder, director of the Todd Art Gallery. “With nearly 500 artworks from which to choose, 71 pieces were selected for the exhibition. 

“It's a wonderful testimony to the tremendous variety of artwork currently being produced across the United States.” 

Jochen Wierich, curator of art at Nashville’s Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, served as the exhibition’s juror. An awards reception is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Todd Art Gallery, when the University Provost Award for Best of Show, the College of Liberal Arts Award, the Department of Art Award and additional awards for excellence and merit will be presented.

The art department also is planning an online catalog of the exhibit, which will include another 111 works that couldn’t be displayed because of gallery space limitations. 

Snyder noted that “12x12” is changing from its former schedule of exhibiting every other year to exhibiting once every three years. Each exhibit will continue to use the original “12x12” premise to showcase and highlight the best of fine art and graphic design produced by today’s working artists, he added.

The 2016 MTSU exhibit, “12x12: An International Exhibition of Small-Scale Works of Art,” will be open to artists from across the globe, thanks to interest expressed from as far away as Australia, Ireland and Mexico, Snyder said.

Todd Art Gallery exhibitions and receptions are always free and open to the public. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed on state and university holidays, including Monday, Jan. 21.

For more information, including parking and directions, contact Snyder at 615-898-5653 or eric.snyder@mtsu.edu or visit www.mtsu.edu/art.