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Stan State professor judging Lathrop Art Show
Guests at the 2017 Lathrop Mayor’s Art Show reception - photo by Bulletin file photo

Susan Stephenson, art professor at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock will be the judge at this year’s 26th annual Lathrop Mayor’s Art Show and Sale.

Entries will be accepted at City Hall on Friday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. until noon. From April 30 until May 10, the accepted artworks will be displayed in the Council Chambers and will be open for public viewing during regular business hours. Awards for the winning entries will be held during a reception for all artists on Friday, May 10, from 6 to 10 p.m.

Stephenson will pick the winners in the six main categories: oil and acrylics, watercolor, pastels and drawings, photography (traditional), photography (photo art), sculptures and miscellaneous. First-place winners will each receive a $100 cash award plus ribbon. Second, third, and honorable mention award winners will go home with ribbons as well. Artists may submit up to three entries.

Prizes though don’t end with the category choices. A unique part of this art show and sale is the involvement of community businesses and individuals who get to pick their own favorite winning selections for which they award $100 in cash.

Additionally, this popular city project is self-supporting, with the funds coming from entry fees. Artists who enter their art pieces pay $10 for each entry. On the average, the annual art show receives about 150 entries.

The coveted prize at this event is the art work selected to receive the Mayor’s Purchase Award valued at $500. The  winning piece will then become part of the city’s permanent art collection and will hang in the Joyce Gatto Art Gallery located on the north wing of City Hall. The gallery is the brainchild of the longtime Lathrop resident, herself an artist, who started the art show and sale with the help of a small crew of dedicated volunteers which included her husband, Bennie, who has served as city mayor for two terms, and retired Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Jim Monty. Even after he moved to the Foothills after his retirement, Monty continues to make the annual trip to help set up the show every year. This project was launched when City Hall was located in rented quarters of J.R. Simplot (formerly Occidental Chemical) on Howland Road.

The annual art show and sale has consistently featured distinguished artists and art professors from the University of the Pacific, Delta College, and Stanislaus State, among others as judges. Stephenson, who is judging the 2019 competition is “best known for the panoramic oil paintings she develops from direct observation, and uses sceneries from her everyday life,” transforming them through “an exploration of color and light.”

A native of Louisiana, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Louisiana Tech University and her Master of Fine Arts from Boston University where she studied with John Moore.

After living in southern New England for more than 20 years and teaching at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, she now makes her home in California and teaches in the Art Department at Stanislaus State.

Lathrop City Hall is located at 390 Towne Centre Drive in the Mossdale Landing area on the west side of Interstate 5.