Mystery Art returns to the Kemp Center for the Arts

Amateurs and accomplished professionals have the chance to see their works displayed side by side at the Mystery Art Exhibition. The Kemp Center for the Arts, located at 1300 Lamar, will host the exhibit from September 30 through October 21. The Mystery Art exhibit is unique to other art installations because submissions are open to everyone and will remain open until September 8. The artwork is displayed without the artist’s name, adding to the intrigue of the event.

Kristen Conrady Shiplet, development coordinator for the Kemp Center for the Arts, said the exhibit typically receives between 175 and 250 submissions. She added that the event increases accessibility to creating and collecting art.

“Any artist can participate, from the seasoned professional to the absolute beginner. We have all ages, babies doing their handprints in the paint, we already had someone 100 in the exhibit so all ages are encouraged to come in, all skill levels,” said said Shiplet. She later added, “It’s a good opportunity for someone to see their work hung, and they don’t know if the piece hanging next to them is professionally done. [or] by a child. It simply gives artists the opportunity to see their work hung professionally to inspire them to keep creating.

In keeping with the theme of local awareness and appreciation of art and artists, most events associated with the exhibition are free to the public. The first event is a dinner and exhibition preview on September 30, for which tickets will go on sale soon. The gallery will open to the public on October 1. Planned free events include a launch party and artist reception on October 6, collaboration with the Wichita Falls Poetry Society for a poetry reading on October 13, and a final and closing reception on October 20. which will also feature a live auction.

The 2021 Mystery Art Exhibition featured 250 original works of art.  The event typically receives between 175 and 250 submissions.

Shiplet said the auction gives art collectors of all experience levels the chance to expand or start their collections, with the one caveat that buyers don’t know which artist they’re buying from.

“That makes it very accessible for a first-time art buyer. You can bid on things in the auction at a price you’re comfortable with, and you can start developing your aesthetic or your style with whatever interests you,” Shiplet said.

Submissions for the exhibition must be in 8 x 10 format for paintings or 8 x 8 x 10 format for sculptures. Artists can submit up to two entries for the exhibition, and the best pieces in each category are eligible for cash prizes. The categories are abstract, animal, floral, landscape, portrait, still life and symbolism. Additional information and guidelines for submissions can be found at https://www.artscouncilwf.org/mystery-art.

Christopher S. Washington