Despite pandemic challenges, DMC hosts national exhibit for 55th year

Del Mar College art exhibit.jpg
Posted at 2:48 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 15:49:31-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Del Mar College National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show was started in 1966 by the late Joseph A. Cain, Professor of Art and Art Department Chair at DMC from the early 1960s until 1980.

2021 marks the 55th event, which, thanks to the pandemic, is unlike any other installation of the exhibit. While the exhibit is set up on the Del Mar campus, because of pandemic restrictions it is not open to the public. So, the entire exhibit is available virtually.

Even last year, the college hosted the show in-person and had some events for it before the pandemic forced it online.

“We’ve had it every year, and that’s why it’s so important that we had it again this year,” said Del Mar College Art program coordinator Kerstin Dale. “I certainly hope people are taking advantage of seeing the slideshow online, and looking at the catalog online, and the jurors lecture for sure. If people were willing to watch that, that would extend the reach to our community a little bit wider. I do see some benefits to the virtual side of things, but I also am really excited for the potential of next year, people actually being able to come in and interact with the art itself here on campus.”

The exhibit is prestigious and attracts artists from all over the country to submit their pieces.

“It’s exciting to have such a reach, we try to share contemporary artwork with our students and with our community, and by having artworks with folks from California, from Maine, from Illinois, from New York, there’s submissions from everywhere. It really brings the kind of diverse selection of art objects for everybody to enjoy,” Dale said.

The exhibit also attracts artists from all over to work with the college as curators; and this year that honor was given to Baylor University professor Robbie Barber.

“It has a national reputation as a juried show, and artists are always looking for good quality exhibitions to show their work, and this particular show has always had excellent jurors. So, when I was asked to juror, I jumped at the chance, just because of the quality of the past jurors,” Barber said.

Barber was tasked with cutting down the field of 612 entries to the 58 that are shown in the exhibit. He said the process was not easy, but the parameters he looked for when judging the pieces were that they were well made, had a solid concept, and made a strong visual impact.

“The work is always so different when you see it face to face, versus a photograph, or an image online. So, it was really exciting to see the work. There were pieces there that didn’t seem quite as strong online, but when I saw them face-to-face, they were much stronger, and vice-versa, there were pieces that I thought would really pop, when I saw them face-to-face, they just weren’t quite as strong. Nothing can replace that intimate, one-on-one relationship that visual art has,” Barber said.

Barber also chose the three award winners for the year that the Art and Drama Department and DMC’s White Library purchased to add to their collections.

The winners:

  • Nate Ditzler’s “Unreal Weather” ($3,000 Joseph A. Cain Purchase Award)
  • Jeffie Brewer’s “Pink Chicken” ($3,000 White Library Purchase Award)
  • Andrew DeCaen’s “Little Kitchen Situation 7” ($1,500 Permanent Collection Purchase Award)

The exhibit will be on display through May 7 with the entire show available to see on YouTube. The exhibit catalog is available here, and Barber’s lecture, which would normally have been done in person, is also available online.

For more information about the show or Barber’s lecture, contact the DMC Art Program at