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EXCLUSIVE: ArtPop Street Gallery Unveils Class of 2020

The Charlotte-based ArtPop Street Gallery announced the Class of 2020 tonight at Le Meridien, and Queen City Nerve has the exclusive first look at this year’s 20 winning artists, whose work will be plastered on billboards across the greater Charlotte area as well as on Uptown newspaper boxes and airport displays, totaling around $3 million in advertising space for the local artists.

ArtPop’s open call includes Mecklenburg and 11 surrounding counties, and this year’s call brought back 139 submissions from eight counties. “Our jurying process took more time to judge than ever this year,” said ArtPop founder and executive director Wendy Hickey. “The submissions were simply incredible.”

But alas, only 20 can make it in the end. This year’s class, the seventh since ArtPop’s founding in 2014, features artworks done in wood, glass, paint, photography, mixed media, brass and even a 19-foot paper lantern dragon, the latter being a first for ArtPop.

New this year is a scholarship program in which one high school senior will receive funding to help offset costs of pursuing their arts studies in college, sponsored by attorney Charles Everage of Hunter & Everage. ArtPop also contributes to this scholarship fund. This year’s student is Andrew Knotts of Charlotte Christian School.

Artists who have been juried in on previous year can reapply four years after they were first accepted into the program, and two of this year’s artists — Luis Ardila and Emily Andress — were part of the Class of 2015.

Another first for this year is that class includes a couple, Holly Keogh and Blaine Hurdle, both being accepted into the program separately. Just this week, Keogh was named Best Visual Artist as by Queen City Nerve readers in this year’s Best in the Nest.

Since its founding, ArtPop Street Gallery’s Charlotte program has promoted 112 artists on millions of dollars of advertising space, donated from partners including Adams Outdoor Advertising, Charlotte Center City Partners, Awedience Media, Northlake Mall and the anonymous donor that funds the displays at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

This year’s winning artists will also have the chance to participate in a two-day art business class from Artists U.

But y’all came here to see some art, so let’s get to that. Below, under each accepted piece, we have listed the artist’s name, the name of their piece and their medium. When available, we’ve also hyperlinked to their website or somewhere else you where you can see more of their work.


Nick McOwen, Mecklenburg, Photography, “Longshot”


Nancy Jo Sauser, Gaston, Dragon Lantern


MyLoan Dinh; Mecklenburg; mixed media: quilted fabric, hand embroidery, oil on canvas; “Courage”


Michele Hoffman; Mecklenburg; mixed media; “First in Flight”


Luis Ardila; Mecklenburg; oil on canvas; “Blind Combat Between Theseus and the Minotaur”


Laurie Smithwick; Mecklenburg; gelatin monotype and acrylic on paper; “Wall Dive”


Kristen van Diggelen Sloan; York; oil on panel; “Force Field 1”


Josh Henderson; Mecklenburg; digital illustration; “Charlotte Take Over”


Jamie Lucido; Mecklenburg; photography; “Afternoon Naps”


Jacob Pfeifer; Mecklenburg; glass; “Wall Flowers”


Isaac Payne; Mecklenburg; oil, ink, gesso and conte/pastel on paper and board; “Rose Colored Glasses”


Ian Wegener; Mecklenburg; wood and tinted lacquer; “Skipping Stones”


Holt Harris; Gaston; acrylic; “Blue Fish”


Holly Keogh; Mecklenburg; oil on panel; “Lagging Ahead of Time”


Emily T Andress; Mecklenburg; oil on canvas; “Aphrodite Contemplating Love”


Debra Aase-Farnum; Mecklenburg; porcelain, underglaze, glaze, gold luster; “Art Nouveau Mermaid”


Brenda Pokorny; Iredell; glass mosaic; “Peace Mandala”


Blaine Hurdle; Mecklenburg; hand-wrought brass; “Pretty When The Wind Blows”


Ashley Graham; Mecklenburg; digital photography and photoshop; “The Drummer Boys”


Andrew Knotts; Mecklenburg; acrylic, sharpie, collage, on canvas; “Slothfull”

Want to help support the ArtPop Street Gallery mission to promote local artists’ work and make art accessible to our community? You can do that here.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for this terrific article about the ArtPop Class of 2020. Congratulations to all the amazing artists! As a correction, the student Andrew Knotts is actually a senior at Charlotte Christian School, not Charlotte Catholic.

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