The art department at Lane is encouraging students to submit their artwork for the annual Student Exhibition and the League of Innovations competition by Feb. 13.

The League of Innovations is a national art competition among 19 community colleges throughout the country. Only recently were these exhibitions combined.

“We kinda followed the footprint of what some of the other schools in the league were doing and we changed our format. So now we collect for both the exhibition and league at the same time,” Gallery Director and Lane instructor Jennifer Salzman said.

This change was also prompted by the lack of communication the league had in announcing the winners, which confused participants.

“There was no showcasing of the winners. Also, it created some confusion for the students because there were multiple collections for different exhibitions and competitions,” Salzman said.

This allows students to simultaneously submit their work to both competitions and be displayed to the community.

“It’s interesting because you may not get selected for the Student Exhibition, but it may be selected for the league and vice versa,” Salzman said.

Both of these competitions are juried events. The Student Exhibition is typically juried by a local community artist, while the league has several spectators from several different areas.

“It is a fascinating process to watch the discussions that take place,” Salzman said. “I have to reassure (students) that it’s never an easy task. I’ve seen a lot of deep thought and discussion put into every piece that’s been selected over the years.”

Usually there are 30 to 40 pieces that go into the gallery, but ultimately the juror picks how many pieces to display.

“As a gallery director, it’s always exciting because I have no idea what kind of installation I’m going to have until after it’s done,” Salzman said.

In the 2007-2008 competition, Lane student Deborah Taube won first place with a sculpture carved from African mahogany. Her prize was $500, and although someone sought to purchase the piece, she had already given it to her partner.

“I had no expectation of even being selected to represent Lane since my work is more form-based than conceptual,” Taube wrote in an email. “I was very surprised and pleased to be selected to represent Lane in the national competition.”

The competitions are open to any student enrolled at Lane, but the work must have been produced within the last 12 months. The mediums for the pieces are endless. Many submissions have included sculpture, ceramics, photography, and paintings. Recently, submitting artists have worked with video.

Second-year media arts student Karen Seaton said she plans to submit her work to the competition again this year. Last year, her photograph “Helping Hands” was featured in both Denali, Lane’s student literary magazine, and the exhibition.

“When I first came to Lane, that was my main goal: to get something in the art show. I think that pushed me from a person that lived a very negative history, and I actually pursued it,” Seaton said. “It pushed me to be better and to get to my next goal.”

Seaton explained that during her Image Communications class, her instructor told the class about this opportunity, prompting her to submit again this year. She plans on presenting more of her photography and a silkscreen project on canvas.

These competitions allow students to build confidence and experience the process of having their work in a gallery, participants have said.

“Even if you don’t get selected, just going through the process of entering your work and putting it out there is valuable. It’s a valuable experience, and it’s not an experience all college students get the opportunity to have,” Salzman said.

Applications are available in the main art office in Building 11. Students must submit their work by Feb. 13.