Every year amid the bustle of Quilt Week and the buzz about the Dogwood Trail, the Woman's Club of Paducah continues a tradition that predates both.
The annual Woman's Club Art Show has provided a venue for amateur and professional artists for 79 years, giving many local artists their first exhibition experience.
"It's a step on the road to getting better," said Jenny Fuller, executive director of the Paducah Area Painters Alliance. "You show your work. And that's a very good venue to do it in."
Fuller said when she first entered her work in the show 30 years ago, she was "really bad" at painting. She'd picked up a paint brush to fill the hours while caring for her 1-year-old daughter at home and had never showed her work. Entering a juried show was a great way to improve her skills, she said.
"Every year, you can see the improvement of the artists that are in it," she said.
The show, which features 201 pieces of art from 120 artists, closes its two-week run at Paducah City Hall this afternoon. This year's exhibit featured 62 professional and amateur artists exhibiting 121 entries in a variety of 2-D media. The student category included 80 pieces from 58 students.
"We have the best participation from the students that we've ever had," said Wanda Moore, chairwoman of the show.
Audrey Peyton, a senior at Community Christian Academy, took home the Outstanding Student Award this year, Moore said.
Carolyn Daniels of Benton won Best of Show, while Mel Garbarck, also of Benton, took first place in the professional category. First, second and third place awards were also given to artists in drawing and mixed media, oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels. Students from kindergarten through 12th grade were awarded according to their age categories. Sandy Sasso of Calloway County served as juror.
The show typically draws entries from over western Kentucky, as well as Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee. Adult entrants pay $10 per entry and are limited to three, while students pay $5 per entry and can enter up to two pieces. The entry fees, along with charitable donations, go toward the roughly $3,000 in prize money, Moore said.
The show coincides with Quilt Week every year and is always held at City Hall. Those interested in entering next year's show can contact Moore at 270-210-7436.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.