-By Arnie Fenner

The Midland Theater in Kansas City. A Historic Landmark built in 1927,
it is a sumptuous venue for the Spectrum awards ceremony

Saturday night the awards for Spectrum 21 will be presented at a ceremony held in conjunction with Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. There will be fun, there will be camaraderie, there will be entertainment, but above all there will be a celebration of the community. Regardless of who receives an award or recognition, the awards ceremony is about all of us, for all of us.

Recently I watched a very good series of documentaries on the BBC about the history of science fiction: they talked to lots of actors and lots of writers and even a few productions designers…but not a single we-can-draw-your-idea-for-you artist. Not one. Gale Anne Hurd gave some nice props to H.R. Giger, but the rest of the arts community were…anonymous. Including the artists whose works were used to illustrate some of the books and films and themes they were talking about.

Above: A couple of ads I put together pointing out the importance of artists. Now that movies are digital, I’m going to have to come up with something other than a film strip to get the message across.

People treat us the way we teach them to treat us.

That’s why Spectrum came about in the first place: to help artists get the credit they were due. I had done these ads awhile back (and these are only two of a batch) just to remind people that art is in every aspect of our lives and that it’s artists who create it. I like all of the various awards: the Hugo, the Eisners, the World Fantasy Awards, and of course the Chesleys, but they’re all piggybacked onto other shared awards or events and I’ve always believed our field deserves something that’s for us. Exclusively.

So we’ve been doing the awards ceremony for the last couple of years with a bit of glamour to give the creators an evening in the spotlight. We could’ve easily arranged for a room in the convention center or in one of the hotels to hand out the awards…but where’s the fun in that? Where’s the giving back, where’s the investment in an ideal? Spectrum has always been about the artists and the arts community and that’s why we’ve chosen to pull out the stops, one night a year, and give the artists the recognition they should have.

Honestly, it makes me feel good. And this year will mark the completion of the transition from Cathy’s and my tenure as Spectrum‘s directors and John Fleskes’ assumption of the position and the responsibilities.

We can live vicariously through the activities of others (and increasingly through the Internet) or retreat into like-minded enclaves and “members only” social media venues. Or—and this is my preference—we can live our lives directly and “out loud” and be an active part of our family.

I sincerely hope you’ll join us this weekend. Because, frankly, the awards ceremony is a symbol, a call out to the public, that we’re here. These are the artists that create what we watch, what we buy, what excites us. What moves us. What we wear, what our cars look like, what our entertainment looks like, what we decorate our homes with.

And that’s something to celebrate.

So…a reminder of this year’s Spectrum 21 award finalists:

Anita Kunz — Little Monsters
Victo Ngai — A Tiger Beer Chinese New Year
Gabriel Verdon — Hiversaires
Kent Williams — The Criterion Collection Lord of the Flies
Shu Yan — Go Into the Gate

Nicolas Delort — The End of the Road
Scott Gustafson — Little Sambha and the Tiger with the Beautiful Purple Shoes with Crimson Soles
John Harris — Fire: the Road Beside the Wall
Petar Meseldzija — The Golden Apple Tree 1
Kirsti Wakelin — Dreamboats, Lilies, Koi and Chang Kuo-lao

Thomas Campi — The Red Door
He Jie Mona — All Corners of the Country: The Lost Buildings  #4
Goni Montes — Clive Barker’s Next Testament #6
Mark A. Nelson — Seasons, page 1
David Palumbo — No Good Deed

Concept ArtJaime Jones — Black Zero Interior
Vance Kovacs — John Carter Punches a Thark
Brian Matyas — Messenger Girl
Theo Prins — Kite City 2
Theo Prins — Refugees

Jessica Dalva — Don’t Mind Me
Colin and Kristine Poole — Hot Diggety Dog
Forest Rogers — Goblin Spider
The Shiflett Bros. — Vertical Man-Tank, 1892
Shaun Tan — Grimm Tales: Thousandfurs

Nicolas Delort — Rumor of Angels
Bill Mayer — Fragile Planet
Tran Nguyen — The Insects of Love
Yuko Shimizu — Hair Tree
Luo Xin — Recall

Ed Binkley — The Hag Griselle Pays a Visit
Bill Carman — Shared Eyewear
Donato Giancola –  Huor and Hurin Approach Gondolin
Justin Sweet — Blacksea
Rebecca Yanovskaya — Ascent of Man

Audrey Benjaminsen — Lady of Light
Jean-Baptiste Monge — Ode to the Moon
Yukari Masuike — Riding Horse on the Freezing Day
Omar Rayyan — The Long Walk Home
Annie Stegg — Lilaia the Naiad

The winners? Check back next week!

Irene Gallo will be presenting the awards in the book category.