Art and commerce don’t often mix too much, but they will in Savage throughout the following month.

Artists throughout Savage, the metro area, and even from other states have submitted their artwork to be a part of a much-anticipated event that encourages community togetherness.

The 9th Annual Savage Juried Art Show and Competition award ceremony will be held on Sunday, April 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the McColl Pond Environmental Learning and Event Center. Following the ceremony, the art will be displayed at a variety of venues throughout Savage.

The competition and art show is a focused effort to bridge the gaps between art, business and community. Sponsored by the Savage Arts Council, the event is considered the organization’s signature event and is also its longest-running.

“The mission of the Savage Arts Council is to promote arts within the community. We are tasked with coming up with community events to make arts more available and prevalent in the community,” said Darrell Tangen, a member of the Savage Arts Council Board the past five years.

The past four years, Tangen has organized the Arts Show and Competition, and will do so again this year with the help of co-chair Tracey Sandoval. Tangen has been a photography teacher at Dakota County Technical College for over 20 years.

“This gives us a chance to be able to do more, and give back to the community,” he said.

Over the past few months, artists and photographers were offered the opportunity to submit their work to the Council in the categories of drawing, oil painting, photography, three dimensional (sculptures) and watercolor painting.

A panel of three independent judges are appointed by the Savage Arts Council based on merit and qualification to review all submissions. The judges will have determined the “best of the best” submissions by Friday, April 17.

Tangen estimates that over half of the Savage Arts Council’s members either have been, or are currently practicing artists. All members have a strong interest in the arts, and take great responsibility in selecting judges of high esteem.

The artwork that is chosen is then accepted into the show and competition, and given the chance of winning the respective artist part of $1,700 worth of prize money. The prize money is made possible in part by the Community Arts Grant, distributed by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) through the Legacy Fund.

Awards start at $250 for the “best in show” award, $100 for a first-place selection in each category, $75 for second place and $50 for third. There is also an “honorable mention” award for $25 per category, and one “community choice” award of $125.

The chosen art will be displayed around the Savage community until May 20 in businesses and venues such as Cal’s Market, Klein Bank, Cub Foods, Dunn Bros, Savage City Hall and the Savage Library.

With such a wide array of venues, Tangen said he likes the options provided to patrons in the community.

“Not all people take time out of their schedule to go and visit an art gallery,” Tangen said. “Here they can see a lot of this artwork at all these different locations.”

Eyes toward art

Artists see the event as a worthwhile way to help get their artwork seen, if not come away with some prize money as well.

“I like the competition, but it’s fun to have your name attached to something that people can enjoy,” said John Stocker, a photographer who owns PaintedSpur photography with his wife Gina. Stocker entered a submission in last year’s competition, and plans to keep doing so in the future. “Hopefully someday you can sell a few, but I do it because I enjoy creating the artwork. It’s a nice showcase of art for the community.”

Others have come to look at the event as a part of their annual schedule as a practicing artist.

“This year is my fourth year entering the show. It has now become one of my spring traditions. I look forward to seeing what is chosen by the judges — there is usually quite a variety,” said Denise Minkler Marych, a representational oil painter who has entered a submission again this year.

“Each year has been a positive experience for me, and each year the quality of the art seems to improve,” she added. “I always look forward to seeing the art displayed, especially since the show features local talent.”

Competition, potential prize money and name recognition aside, at the end of the day, Tangen says that the event is ultimately about sharing, and bringing the community together — something everyone should support.

“I think it’s just ingrained in us to be able to share our passion with people around our community, and to make it more visible,” Tangen said. “Sometimes art is a real personal experience and we don’t always get a chance to share that passion with other people. This art show really brings us together to be able to do that.”