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Bower Center for the Arts Announces Curry Bower Exhibit Winners!

The 7th Annual Edna Curry/John Bower Exhibit just opened at Bower Center for the Arts. This exhibit honors the Center’s primary benefactors and to that end is a non-exclusionary exhibit, meaning that there is no jurying process, and it is open to artists of all levels of experience. Each year the artwork entered is exciting and diverse and this year is no exception.

Richard Pumphrey, artist and former long-time art history and studio art professor at the University of Lynchburg, judged the more than 130 artworks by 48 artists in the exhibit this year. Pumphrey is known as an impassioned designer and for creating stained glass windows, and especially, many types of sculpture.  In addition to exhibitions, his sculptures include installations of portrait busts in numerous consequential settings, including the National D-Day Memorial, East Tennessee State University, Virginia Military Institute.  His body of monumental woodcarvings and steel pieces, entitled THE COMPROMISED SERIES, addresses atrocities committed against Afghani women by the Taliban.  Each work’s significance is achieved through its design, scale, and use of media. His past commissions vary in media and include stained glass, clay, wood, and steel. 

His background has served him well as a judge and he says he is equally energized by non-objective work as well as representational, by conceptual as well as abstraction. The common denominator in the expressiveness of all work should be a manifestation of impeccable design, evidence of the maker’s unique perception, and a selection and handling of media that contributes to defining the overall consequence of the work. 

Pumphrey selected the following for the 2021 awards: Best in Show: Brotherhood by Barry Koplen, Danville VA; 2nd Place: Pufferfish by Linda Watkins, Boydton VA; 3rd Place: Before the Journey by Susan Talbot-Elliott, Lynchburg VA; Award of Merit: Spider Hunting by Amy Burczyk, Lynchburg VA; Award of Merit: Still Life by Karen Covey, Lynchburg VA; Award of Merit: Wearing Iron Oxide by Susan McCoy, Lexington VA; Judge’s Recognition: Body of Work - Choker, Imminent, and Worry by Whitney Brock, Roanoke VA; and Judge’s Recognition: Body of Work – Touched by Time, Agate Series #4, and Shadow Play #4 by Patricia Carr, Roanoke VA. Pumphrey noted that the award selections were made for their exemplary integration of concept, craftsmanship, and design among many, many nice works, and encourages  visitors to the exhibit to slow down to observe and think about what makes each work special, about why some works are more successful than others. He says” You don’t have to be an expert to recognize quality … it’s not about likes and dislikes, it’s about the quality of expression.”

The exhibit will be available to see in person through Saturday, March 13 during current public hours, Wednesday, and Friday, 11am-2pm and Saturday, 11am-3pm. Anyone not able to visit in person may see all the artwork on Bower Center’s website. If you come in person, please be sure to get a ballot to vote for your favorite in the People’s Choice voting. And there is the Scavenger Hunt – find various things in different works … pick up a scavenger hunt list at Bower when you visit the exhibit at 305 N. Bridge Street in Bedford VA or participate online at

Artists will find information for upcoming exhibits on the Center’s website,  Calls for Artists are available to download and online entering is open. Check the options and select from: Masquerade, It’s Hip to Be Square, Bower Center’s 9th Annual National Juried Exhibition (all media), and the 2nd Biennial Bower Center Fiber Arts National Juried Exhibition. 

Bower Center is located at 305 N. Bridge Street at the intersection with Bedford Avenue in Bedford.  Check the website at for information regarding all the exhibits, winter/spring classes for youth and adults, Homeschool programs, yoga and more.

Bower Center for the Arts is a 501c (3) organization offering opportunities for the community to gather, foster creative expression, connect, learn, and gain confidence through the process of making and enjoying art.