.

Time to play 'curator for a day' at Ulrich

3:20:18 PM CDT - Thursday, March 02, 2006

By Shannon Littlejohn

As evenings of artful camaraderie and competition go, it would be tough for the Wichita community to top the Ulrich Museum of Art's New Art Event.

Now in its fifth year, the party that invites all of Wichita to vote for their favorite among the Ulrich's latest art acquisitions is coming right up.

"It's an event that people really enjoy," said Katie Geha, curator of modern and contemporary art for the Ulrich.

The March 11 evening will be a relaxing and fun way to learn about the new art, and enjoy cocktails (for the over 21) and hors d'oeuvres.

"It's really exciting to know that there's no other place in Wichita where you're going to see this kind of contemporary art the new art that's happening right now," she said.

The New Art Event helps highlight and promote the Ulrich's acquisition program, which is funded through a restricted endowment for acquisitions only, and is central to its mission of acquiring and displaying contemporary art, according to Ulrich officials.

It also helps support the teaching program of Wichita State's School of Art and Design. Although tickets for the public are $30 for Ulrich members and $40 for nonmembers, WSU students are charged only $5 for attendance.

As with much of contemporary art, the nine pieces on display will "make you think a little bit," said Geha, who is the official hunter and gatherer of contemporary art for the Ulrich. As such, she travels extensively to check out exhibits of some of the most cutting-edge artists in the art world.

Six artists are represented in the Ulrich's nine new acquisitions, five of which are photographs. Two of those are by Nan Goldin, one of Geha's favorite photo artists. There is also an etching by renowned sculptor Richard Serra.

Geha is particularly pleased with two ceramic pieces by separate artists.

"It's really important, because we have a great ceramics program at WSU," she said.

The New Art Event is all about democracy, too: Not only can you vote on your favorite piece but you can also campaign against those you don't like. The top vote-getter will get its own special label identifying it as the 2006 New Art Event winner.

The 2006 New Art Event preview party runs from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Ulrich Museum of Art. The cost is $30 for members, $40 for nonmembers and $5 for WSU students. Reservations can be made at 978-3664. Works will be on view through Sunday, March 19. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.



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