Cheap Joe wants YOU

Article Published: Mar. 4, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

The local art community is preparing for the upcoming March 6 submission deadline to the ninth annual Cheap Joe's Art Contest.

The contest is open to local artists only from Watauga, Ashe, Caldwell, Avery, Wilkes and Johnson counties, and is limited to original paintings and drawings.

David Cowert, regional retail manager for Cheap Joe's Art Stuff and organizer of the contest, said that the event was a great opportunity to see work that contestants from the three age categories had prepared during the blustery winter months.

"We're always excited to do the art contest," Cowert said, "and especially after the winter we've had, it'll be great to get out and enjoy some local artwork."

Cowert said that the subjects of the artwork in contests from years past have been an eclectic mix across the board.

"In terms of theme, it's really all over the place," Cowert said. "With the adults, we see a lot of landscapes and a pretty good mix of oil, pastel and acrylic, but with the juniors and children, we get anything you can think of."

All artwork that is submitted will be displayed at the Cheap Joe's workshop attached to the store.
Cowert said that in the past, both professional and amateur artists have had their work displayed, but amateurs should not be discouraged by the presence of their professional peers. "There have been times when an amateur's work has been equally good or better than a professional's," he said.

One of the biggest draws for the artists is the prize money offered to the winner of the contest. The first, second and third place winner of each category wins a gift certificate to Cheap Joe's, ranging from $250 for first prize in the adult category to $15 for children ages 9 and under. But above and beyond the prize money is the thrill of having artwork displayed at Cheap Joe's, Cowert said.

Art will be judged on creativity and originality, the artists' mastery of their chosen medium, and the overall impression of the piece.

Awards will be presented during a reception at Cheap Joe's Saturday, March 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"There's usually a good turnout to the reception, barring bad weather," Cowert said. "We'll be serving refreshments, and it's really just fun to see everybody's artwork displayed."

The art will be on display until March 20, when the show will be dismantled. Artists are required to pick up their submissions by March 27.

The contest is also a time for artists to see what their peers have been working on. "I think it's good to get local artists together and see what everyone has been doing, even for the public," Cowert said.

Artists should note the submission deadline of March 6 at 12 p.m., and that all pieces must be dry and complete, and framed or ready to hang. Contest winners will be announced at the March 13 reception at 12:30 p.m.

For more information, contact the staff at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff at (828) 262-5459 or visit

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