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Judges Panel

Our selection panel and juried panel bring together a diverse group of curators, art professionals, and art enthusiasts.

2023 Selection Panel

Selection Panel | San Antonio, TX

Jennifer L. Datchuk

Artist & Professor at Texas State University

Jennifer Ling Datchuk is an artist born in Warren, Ohio, and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is an exploration of her layered identity – as a woman, a Chinese woman, as an “American,” as a third culture kid. Trained in ceramics, Datchuk works with porcelain and other materials often associated with traditional women’s work, such as textiles and hair, to discuss fragility, beauty, femininity, intersectionality, identity, and personal history.

Datchuk holds an MFA in Artisanry from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a BFA in Crafts from Kent State University. She is an Assistant Professor of art at Texas State University and lives and maintains a studio practice in San Antonio, Texas. She has received grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, travel grant from Artpace, and the Linda Lighton International Artist Exchange Program to research the global migrations of porcelain and blue and white pattern decoration. She was awarded a residency through the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum to conduct her studio practice at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany and has participated in residencies at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China, Vermont Studio Center, European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands and Artpace in San Antonio, Texas. In 2017, she received the Emerging Voices award from the American Craft Council and in 2020 was named a United States Artist Fellow in Craft.

Selection Panel | Davidson, NC

Lia Newman

Director & Curator at Van Every/Smith Galleries

Lia R. Newman has been the director and curator of the Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College since January 2013. She earned a BA in art history and a BFA in general studio with concentrations in sculpture and photography from Winthrop University and an MA from Duke University. Newman is responsible for curating exhibitions, developing exhibition-related programming, and overseeing and growing the Davidson College Art Collection, including the campus sculpture collection. With a specific interest in socially and politically engaged art practices, Newman’s curatorial projects have explored an array of topics from HIV to immigration. Recent exhibitions include the multi-venue traveling exhibition True Likeness, co-curated with Tom Stanley and featuring works by Deborah Roberts, Antonius-Tin Bui, Deborah Luster, Endia Beal, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Mickalene Thomas, Wendy Red Star, Sam Doyle, Gene Merritt, and others; Harold Mendez: the days of yesterday are all numbered in sum; Hiwa K: Eyes See Far, Hands Too Short to Reach; Yinka Shonibare CBE: The American Library; Arthur Jafa: Love is the Message, the Message is Death; Regina Jose Galindo: Bearing Witness, and Seeing/Saying: Images and Words, curated with Dr. Van Hillard, featuring Shimon Attie, John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Bethany Collins, Teresita Fernández, Howard Finster, Christian Marclay, Shirin Neshat, Dennis Oppenheim, José Parlá, Dan Perjovschi, Raymond Pettibon, Santiago Sierra, Hank Willis Thomas, David Wojnarowicz, among others.. Over the past ten years, Newman has helped the college acquire nearly 1,000 works of art, including significant sculptures and commissions that have helped diversify the collection.

Selection Panel | Columbia, SC

Michael Neumeister

Curator at Columbia Museum of Art

Michael Neumeister is Curator at the Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina. Since joining the museum in February 2022, he has organized Sigmund Abeles: Shades of Life and Forward Together: African American Art from the Judy and Patrick Diamond Collection. Among other projects, he is presently organizing an exhibition of postwar American abstraction.

Previously, at the American Federation of Arts, New York, Michael coordinated numerous traveling exhibitions, including the international tours of Yoko Ono: Mend Piece and Matisse as Printmaker: Works from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. His recent writing appears in the exhibition catalogue, Art and Activism at Tougaloo College (Hirmer, 2022).

Michael received his MA from the City College of New York, City University of New York, where he has also taught art history. His research interests pertain to the relationship between American art and religious belief in the 20th century and the reception of modernism in the United States. He is currently preparing an article on Florine Stettheimer’s mature oeuvre.

Selection Panel | Huntsville, AL

Scott L. Smith

Printmaker & Professor at Alabama A&M

Scott L. Smith is originally from Sandusky, Ohio. He holds B.F.A.s in Studio Arts and Art History from Ohio University and an M.F.A. in Printmaking from the University of Miami (Fla.). Scott was formally trained as a master printmaker at Vinalhaven Press and Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) where he worked with the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Robert Indiana, James Rosenquist, Jose Bedia, and Jane Hammond. As a Signature Member of the National Collage Society, Scott has been featured in more than 50 solo and group shows in the U.S. and Australia. His award-winning work is included in numerous collections including the Shack Collection (Miami), the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Southern Graphics Council Archive, the University Print Collection (Iowa State Univ.), and the Huntsville Arts Council. Two of his assemblages are featured in the book, titled, “Collage in All Dimensions,” co- published by the National Collage Society and Kent State University. Currently, Scott teaches printmaking and art history at Alabama A&M University and resides, with his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Cecilia and Delaney in Owens Cross Roads, Alabama.

Selection Panel | San Diego, CA

Yolanda Sommer

Manager of Diversity Recruitment & Partnerships at Penland School of Craft

Yolanda was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Communications. Yolanda has spent the last 10 years living and working at Penland School of Craft located in the mountains of North Carolina. Through her career at Penland, Yolanda has supported many artists at the Penland Gallery, raised funds for scholarships in the development department, and, most recently, created, organized and produced Penland’s annual HBCU Craft School Tour. The tour brings art majors from different Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Penland to for a three-day intense tour of campus tour. Yolanda is dedicated to making the world of craft more accessible for people of color.

As an artist, Yolanda has worked in clay, small metals, and textiles. She feels most comfortable working in the letterpress studio and has produced a line of greeting cards. Yolanda, her husband, and their dog Maddy have recently moved to San Diego, California where she continues to work for Penland School of Craft, remotely.

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