Art on the Plateau: Artist Gary LaTurner on Winning 1st Place, Entering Juried Shows, and More

Artist Gary La Turner of Bonney Lake shows his work in prestigious art show and discusses the value of entering juried shows.

Winning 1st Place is a Big Deal in the Art World

Three of professional artist Gary LaTurner’s paintings were accepted to show in the prestigious Eastside Association of Fine Arts (EAFA) juried show “Carnival.” The painting Visual Concert and two others he submitted are being shown January 7 to March 1st at the EAFA exhibit gallery at the Seattle Design Center. His other painting titled Changing Seasons won First Place in the 2012 EAFA Member Juried Exhibition. Many artists enter juried exhibits while often very few are accepted. Frequently artists fear rejection and find entering shows to be daunting.

“I have worked in the arts most of my life,” says LaTurner, who has taught art and exhibited his own work in juried shows over the years. LaTurner uses pencil, watercolor, oils, acrylics, and oil bars to create abstract expressionist paintings and drawings. He paints figures, portraits, and landscapes. He works plein-air, as well as in his home studio in Bonney Lake. “Most of my artwork is inspired by nature with a twist of creative observation and interpretation.” LaTurner has long understood the necessity of marketing his artwork and has sold nationally and internationally. LaTurner currently exhibits his art works at two galleries in Washington: the Proctor Art Gallery in Tacoma and Gallery-One in Ellensburg. Recently he placed several works for sale at a local Enumclaw shop, CCs Collectibles & Antiques on Cole Street. LaTurner is a frequent exhibitor at the Eastside Association of Fine Arts Gallery at the Seattle Design Center, and at the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters Gallery.

Entering juried shows builds recognition

“For artists who are just beginning their career, juried shows can be frustrating. Sometimes your work is accepted, and sometimes not,” says LaTurner. Yet, being accepted in a prominent art show is often a game changer for serious artists. “As artists build their careers, entries in juried art exhibits and other opportunities to show their work are important in building a resume and achieving access to gallery representation. Every artist is not looking for public acceptance or even public awareness, but for those who are entering juried shows, it is a positive way to address the public.”

Recognition can raise the value of the artwork and open doors to galleries and art dealers. It can also bring invitations to show work in solo exhibits. “For many the acceptance in a juried show is validation of their work and often an inspiration to continue. The acceptance in a juried show is a commendation and a recognition by peers that states the artist is creating substantive and meaningful work. The exhibits are very competitive in nature and winning an award is a special benefit and recognition for the artist.”

Lifetime career as an arts educator

Gary LaTurner, grew up in Spokane, received his M.A. in Education from Eastern Washington State University. and moved to Western Washington to begin his teaching career. Now, he is a familiar face in the Plateau art scene, serving as the City of Enumclaw Cultural Programs Coordinator.

“Having been a teacher for many years, the role of Cultural Programs Coordinator has given me the opportunity to continue my arts educator role. The role demonstrates the City of Enumclaw’s desire to support the arts and enhances the lives of those who live in the community.”

Since 1998 when the city’s art program was initiated over 180 artists have exhibited. As such, La Turner has the experience of being not only judged, but the tough job of being a juror. In his role as Cultural Programs Coordinator, La Turner juries artworks for showing in the Gallery at City Hall in Enumclaw. He writes the detailed descriptions about the works of the selected artist (s) which are often read in local newspapers, the City of Enumclaw website, and other local publications like the Enumclaw PATCH.

“The gallery continues to be predominately an entry-level gallery, giving new artists an opportunity to show their work. For many it’s their first gallery exhibition. The community is very fortunate to have many high quality artists who are willing to show their work at Enumclaw City Hall.” To read more about LaTurner, check out his work on his website at www.garylaturner.com.


By Gary LaTurner

(At first I was only intending to blog about LaTurner’s accomplishments as a visual artist. But I appreciate this artist’s deep commitment to community and arts education. While questioning LaTurner for this blog, he supplied me with his perspective about the work of the Arts Commission in Enumclaw and what his job entails. I could not help but offer you his perspectives, as he explained them, because what he does has a positive impact on the growth of Enumclaw. I think it is interesting enough to share with you his exact words.)

“The commission is a seven-member committee appointed by the mayor. It began as a group of artists and community members interested in the arts. They created performing arts programs and in about 1995 became interested in creating a juried art exhibit. With so much interest in the arts the City of Enumclaw created an arts commission with funding for a part-time city liaison to manage and budget activities. The City Arts Commission is more than thirty years old. The level of funding for an arts manager has fluctuated over the years with budget constraints. The Gallery at City Hall was created by DeNae McGee in 1998 and has continued since that time. Given the history of one exhibit each month, the City of Enumclaw and 4Culture of King County have hosted one hundred-eighty individual exhibits.

My role as Cultural Programs Coordinator is important to me as an artist/educator.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet and support many of Enumclaw’s local artists, painters, actors, dancers, and musicians. As program coordinator, I’ve acted as the liaison between the City of Enumclaw and the Arts Commission. Our monthly meetings provide an interaction between the city and the community. Our discussions include all aspects of the city’s involvement with the arts.

I have worked collaboratively with the local school district in applying for and receiving funding to support arts education from 4Culture of King County and from the Washington State Arts Commission.  Our work includes the creation of a comprehensive, sequential, and articulated elementary art program for the Enumclaw School District. In addition to that, we were able to provide funding for professional development in the arts for many elementary teachers.

One of the other things I've been able to do is bring important artists to the community in special exhibits e.g. John Grade's Cleave, a sculpture that was constructed at JJ Smith Elementary for a month-long exhibit. That piece then traveled to Japan, Ireland, and many other countries.  John Grade is one of the truly important artists of our time.

The Cultural Programs Coordinator also works to preserve and protect historic buildings and build relationships with community groups and to promote a variety of cultural activities. Currently I am assisting with the City’s 100th Centennial Celebration on a film project and other visual presentation tourists and residents will enjoy. ”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gary D. LaTurner January 02, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Susan: Thank you so much for telling a bit of my story and for supporting the arts on the Plateau. Here's to you! Gary LaTurner
Susan Etchey January 03, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Gary, it was a pleasure interviewing you. I am interested in writing and advocating on behalf of all artists on the Plateau who are making our world a more interesting garden of surprise and delights. We are fortunate to have so many gifted people.
Mary Janosik January 03, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Congradulations, Gary!! Your submissions are incredible and the 1st place piece deserved the prize!! Thank you for all you do to incourage other artists, including me. You are a treasure to this community!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »