by Arnie Fenner

I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that the deadline for mailing entries to Spectrum 20 is coming up at the end of the week, January 25.

Greg’s excellent post a little while back about the reasons for entering art competitions were succinct and expressed much more clearly than anything I’ve said through the years. Whether it’s Illustrators, American Artist, Graphis, Communication Arts, or Spectrum, it is a simple fact that not everyone likes the idea of competitions and not everyone chooses to participate: those are personal feelings and choices and hard to argue with.

When it comes to Spectrum, I believe that those who do take part, regardless of the results, are voicing their support of our field. I believe they’re investing in the future and reaching out to—and creating—new audiences. As Cathy and I wrote in the introduction to the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live commemorative book last year, Spectrum began as an act of frustration and defiance. “Fantastic Art” and the people who created it were routinely being excluded from the other art annuals of the day (unless the fantasy aspect was used ironically or as social commentary) and the works themselves were dismissed out of hand (if not openly derided as “kid’s stuff”). We thought, “If you don’t want to let us come to your party, we’ll have one ourselves.”

Twenty years later, Spectrum arguably has the highest circulation of any juried art annual produced in the U.S. today, has achieved international recognition, has one of the highest profiles in the market, and has been the subject of two of the largest fantastic art museum shows that have ever been mounted. Spectrum became—as was always intended—an umbrella under which all artists are welcome. Long-time pros, newbies, traditionalists, digital creators, sculptors, illustrators, gallery painters, photographers, comics artist: credentials or nationality or how an artist creates or for whom they create has never been as important as the work itself and the intellect behind it.

I’m not bragging. We didn’t make Spectrum a success. You, the arts community, did. You and the readers who responded to what you do. All we did was organize the party: it’s the people who came that made it fun.

Spectrum (and by extension Spectrum Fantastic Art Live) is about craft, imagination, and, perhaps most importantly, inclusion. So, obviously, for our 20th anniversary we hope everyone will join us to help make this competition and subsequent book the best one ever.

Until volume 21, that is.