During a normal year, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art’s Membership Exhibition is an annual celebration of its peoples’ work. This year, it’s an escape.

“You can come to the Albrecht-Kemper and have this individual experience, one on one with the artwork ... You can just spend as much time as you want in front of these pieces,” Jill Carlson, marketing and communications manager for the museum, said.

More than 112 pieces from 60 artists are on display at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, 2818 Frederick Ave., for its 47th AKMA Annual Membership Exhibition.

Included in the exhibit are pieces that include oil and acrylic painting, sculpture and 3D mixed media, pen, pastel and ink and fiber and textiles. While Carlson hesitates to say everyone will be pleased, there’s such a wide selection of genres that most fans of art should be satisfied, if not overwhelmed.

“I don’t want to say we’ve got something for everyone, but that’s what this is,” she said.

For the museum, the Membership Exhibition acts as both a kick off to a new year of art and a look back at how far its members have come.

“We can chart a particular artist that maybe five years ago, they were doing one thing and how they’ve been able to progress in their art making over time,” Carlson said.

During a year where most artists spent a lot of time indoors, Carlson said this year’s exhibition shows members experimenting with new media and perspectives.

“There’s been, with these times, a lot of down time to explore in different media,” she said. “There’s been quite a few artists that typically work in one media. This year, (artists) have submitted work in different (categories).”

All submissions in the exhibition are entered into categories and ranked by a panel of community arts members.

This year’s Best In Show winner went to Robert Jinkins’s “The Postmodernist’s Possum.” Other first-place winners include: Jim Lawrence’s “Self Portrait” for oil and acrylic painting; Lana Cease’s “Well Played” in watercolor painting; and Don Anderson’s “Peaceful Pasture” in photography, among others.

For artists in the exhibition, it may be the first time their work has ever been displayed in a public setting. That’s a good thing, Carlson said, as it shows the museum wants to nurture local talent. She cites the youngest entrant being 12 years old as an example.

“I think it is particularly important right now, to say ‘We live in a community that is not just saying ‘We’re going to look to the past, to artists we’ve collected in the past, but we’re looking towards the future,’” she said.

While the members weren’t able to attend the Membership Exhibition awards show in person, a virtual show will be posted on the museum’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/albrechtkempermuseumofart) tentatively by the end of the week.

While the exhibition is a different experience than previous years, Carlson said that might not be a bad thing with a smaller crowd and safety measures like masks and social distancing.

“This kind of way, you can come down here, and you’ve got all this space and all this time that you can spend to sort of develop a deeper relationship with each one of the artworks,” she said.

The exhibition will run through Sunday, Feb. 21.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for seniors and $1 for students. Museum members and children under age 6 are free. For more information about the exhibitions, call 816-233-7003.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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