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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

FL3TCH3R Exhibit features socially and politically conscious art

Art by Gigi Gillen
Art by Gigi Gillen
Additional photos below »

October 31, 2018

“Basically, if news headlines were above-the-fold in the past year, there is a chance an artist submitted work for the ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ referencing those events,” says Randy Sanders, director of the Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee.

The sixth annual “FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social & Politically Engaged Art” at ETSU’s Reece Museum features works in varied media that “explore current trends, hopefully to serve as an avenue or agent for societal transformation and exposure of social and political points of view,” the exhibit website says.

The “FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Socially and Politically Engaged Art” was established in 2013 by ETSU art professor Wayne Dyer and attorney Barbara Dyer in memory of their son, Fletcher, and graphic designer Carrie Dyer in memory of her brother, an ETSU bachelor of fine arts senior in graphic design who passed away in a motorcycle accident in 2009 at age 22. Fletcher “liked to make people think by pushing their buttons,” and much of his work was focused on issues that concerned him, Wayne Dyer says.

As a result, the “FL3TCH3R” international juried exhibit focuses on art that illustrates social and political topics, and helps fund the annual Fletcher H. Dyer Memorial Scholarship for an ETSU Art and Design student. The 2018 exhibit is on display at East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum through Friday, Dec. 14.

“The new work entered is tremendously exciting representing many different styles and numerous modes of expression,” co-director Wayne Dyer says. “We look forward to the mix and combination that this team of jurors will incorporate into their selection for the 2018 exhibit.”

This year’s jurors, Larry Millard and Cheryl Goldsleger, selected exhibit pieces from 376 artworks by 140 artists in media including fiber, jewelry/metals, painting, photography, digital, sculpture, printmaking, video, graphic design, ceramics and 2D and 3D mixed media.

“This year’s entries have been phenomenal and inspirational, dealing with many of the current concerns that all of us have expressed socially and politically,” says Barbara Dyer, co-director of the exhibit. “In many ways, I see the ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ as a historical documentary regarding artists’ concerns in this day and time worldwide.”

The exhibit keeps growing, Brenner says, now encompassing two galleries, and the number of 3D and 2D works increased this year. In addition, the awards continue to expand this year, with the addition of a new award, in memory of former Art & Design faculty member and chair Jack Schrader. “FL3TCH3R Exhibit” awards now total nearly $1,000.

“‘FL3TCH3R’ is generating quite a bit of interest these days with visual artists,” says art professor Anita DeAngelis, who directs Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU, a co-sponsor of the exhibit. “Entries come in from literally all over the world at this point. We’re so fortunate that Barb and Wayne and their daughter, Carrie, have put so much effort into this unique exhibition opportunity for artists who want to speak to contemporary issues.”

One of the highlights of the fall exhibition is Thursday, Nov. 1, starting with the jurors’ talk at 5 p.m. at Reece Museum. The 2018 awards ceremony and reception follow at about 6 p.m.

In addition to the jurors’ talk and awards, the “FL3TCH3R Exhibit” also provides additional opportunities for conversation through discussions and other activities, Brenner says. Collateral events are posted at under exhibitions as they develop.

“One of the things that sets ‘FL3TCH3R’ apart is that while the main focus is social and politically engaged art, it is very general and open to so many possible artistic avenues,” Brenner says. “We never know what we’re going to get. Even if we know the juror, sometimes the jurors will surprise us.

“Whatever the selections, though, we know that ‘FL3TCH3R’ gives you the zeitgeist of what artists are thinking about politically and socially at the time, and it’s always relevant.”

For more information on Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, visit

Topics: Art, Exhibits

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