Niles native calls for photography submissions

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — A Niles native is calling for photography submissions.

The Judith Racht Gallery, 13689 Prairie Road, Harbert, is hosting an event it is describing as “ArtPrize for Photography.” Through the months of May and June, the gallery, owned by Niles native Judith Racht, will be accepting photography submissions for a gallery opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, July 3. The gallery will then be viewed and open to the public through July 29.

Photography critics will view the artwork between July 26 and 29. The Judith Racht Gallery will host its closing ceremony 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31, to announce winners and present monetary awards.

“This is something new that I’ve never done before,” Racht said.

Racht said that due to COVID-19, she has not been able to host other large, annual events at the gallery.

This collection and competition, she hopes, will drive community conversation beyond the pandemic to encourage photographers of all skill levels and ages to show what they see.

“People have been sending me photographs of places they’ve been going to, and interesting photographs of where they are,” Racht said of what inspired the event. “I thought, maybe we could all learn something.”

The photographs will be reviewed by a member of Columbia College Chicago’s photography department. There will also be prizes for People’s Choice awards as well as Curator’s Choice awards.

It is $40 to enter work into the gallery, and all submissions must be installation-ready and for sale.

“The more applicants, the larger the monetary prizes,” said a release from the gallery. “We must have at least 100 applicants to make this work.”

Racht moved to the Niles area when she was 14 years old, and she was an educator in the area. The Judith Racht Gallery is celebrating its 35th year this summer.

“I’m encouraging kids and everybody [to enter,” Racht said. “I get a lot of kids in the gallery. I really encourage them to come [experience art].”

She hopes to see photographs submitted by residents all over the region, and to see them in the gallery. She said most of her clients are careful about wearing masks and with an increase of people getting vaccinated, she timed the gallery events accordingly.

“I thought this would be a good time for everybody to get together and talk about their photographs, and have some ‘art talk’ instead of ‘COVID-talk,’” she said. “I thought this would be a really fun thing to do.”

Racht encouraged anyone with questions about submitting photographs to get in touch with the gallery at (269) 469-1080.

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