Freedom New Mexico: Alisa Boswell Science fiction author Michael Cassutt speaks at the Jack Williamson Lectureship luncheon Friday afternoon. Cassutt spoke about how science fiction is changing in the modern times.
Art in a variety of forms — from literature to painting — appears alive and well in Clovis and Portales.
Two major annual events are already under way — The Jack Williamson Lectureship and the Pintores Art League Spring Fling.
The Pintores Art League Spring Fling kicked off Friday by accepting submissions for the exhibition all day at Clovis Community College. Submissions will continue to be accepted from 9 a.m. to noon today in the commons area.
Art works will be on display Sunday through Thursday.
“It’s an opportunity for local artists to have a place to exhibit their art,” said Lois Snyder, president of the art league and coordinator for the event. “We have some wonderful local talent in every area of art. People are going to be missing out if they don’t come and see.”
Snyder said submissions are allowed from local professionals, amateurs and junior high and high school students and there will be six categories of art.
Snyder said last year the event drew 275 submissions and this year, she expects even more.
“Since it’s the only time of the year that we get to show our work to the public, we are really excited,” Snyder said. “It’s a great opportunity for an artist to show their work and for the public to see what a great artist they are.”
Submission rates range from $5 to $15 and first through third place cash prizes will be given for student artwork and adult artwork as well as a Best of Show grand prize for each group.
“I think it’s a fabulous opportunity for our community to share it’s talent on a visual level,” said Scott Blazek, a Pintores member. “I thought the last couple years have been great in revealing how much artistic talent we have in our area, professionally and amateur. If this year is anything like last year, people will love it.”
The awards ceremony for the event will take place 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the community college commons area.
The Williamson lectureship kicked off Thursday night with a writers reading in which Ian Tregillis and Walter Jon Williams read excerpts from their novels. On Friday, there was a question and answer workshop with guest writers and the lectureship luncheon which included talks by Michael Cassutt, Melinda Snodgrass and Connie Willis.
Willis is also the guest speaker 10 a.m. today at a Young Writers Workshop at the Portales Public Library.
Friday, Willis shared some of her experiences with fellow authors and Jack Williamson.
“Jack Williamson was one of the forefathers of science fiction,” Willis told her audience. “And inspired many young writers through the years.”
Snodgrass and Cassutt both spoke on how science fiction has become a large part of the entertainment industry and on the changes which have been seen in science fiction due to these entertainment venues.
“I have always loved science fiction stories and the finding of new worlds and new people,” Snodgrass said. “Science fiction has always been about new ideas, new worlds.”
Cassutt told his audience that he feels the success of the science fiction genre has caused many science fiction stories to become cliche. When speaking about the joining of the Eastern New Mexico University film festival with the lectureship, he said he feels some young writers and creators may bring back some originality.
“You have some lovely new concepts growing right here in Portales that are like they came right off the page of one of Jack’s books,” Cassutt said. “These projects, to me, are the equivalent of writers like Jack Williamson.”
Event coordinator Patrice Caldwell said she feels this year’s event was a big success due not just to large turnouts but to the special guest authors (Cassutt and Snodgrass) that were able to attend.
“They both had personal relationships with Jack, so they brought back some of the history of the lectureship,” Caldwell said. “But they also gave great insight into where science fiction is going in modern times.”