Best in Show: Ceramics sculpture “Untitled 1” by Yelena Petroukhina

Yelena Petroukhina’s ceramics sculpture “Untitled 1” has been honored with the top award of the 2021 Irene Rosenzweig Biennial Juried Exhibition. The awards were announced during the opening reception at The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC) on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Juror Deidre Argyle, assistant professor of sculpture at Missouri State University, presented the six awards during the opening reception:

  • Best in Show ($1,000):Yelena Petroukhina of Little Rock, for “Untitled 1,” ceramics
  • First Place ($500): Nabil Gonzalez of El Paso, Texas, for “Lost,” charcoal drawing and monotype on mulberry paper, set of 15 6-inch circles
  • Second Place ($200): Samantha Rosado of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for “Golden Hour (¡Gay Creatures Welcome!), oil on canvas (the strike-through is cq)
  • Merit Award ($100): Erika Jaeggli of Dallas, Texas, for “Boedeker Painting 5,” dust and dirt found at an abandoned 100-year-old former ice cream factory, on canvas
  • Merit Award ($100): AnneMarie Johnson of Irving, Texas, for “Compassion: To Suffer with Another,” charcoal, conté, graphite, and ink on panel
  • Merit Award ($100): Alejandro Ramirez of Robstown, Texas, for “Golden Boy,” oil on canvas

There is also an opportunity for ASC to purchase exhibition pieces to add to its permanent collection.

Born and raised in Bryansk, Russia, Petroukhina lives in Little Rock where she teaches art at Horace Mann Middle School. She is a 2006 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She recently showed a selection of her ceramics, paintings and mixed-media pieces at ASC in “Defining Home: Mixed Media and Ceramics of Yelena Petroukhina.” Her website is

The Rosenzweig exhibition welcomes submissions from artists in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Artwork in traditional forms are accepted: Paintings, drawings, original prints, fiber art, ceramics, sculpture and photography.

ASC received more than 350 submissions, from which Argyle chose 37 pieces for the exhibition.

“It was a wonderful experience to see the diversity of work in the mid-South region,” Argyle said. “While selecting work for the exhibition, it became clear that many artists were dealing with subject matter centered around place, time and memory. I chose works for this exhibition that reflected the region’s present and past, and its social and geographic history.”

She continued, “It was important to me to include a range of works that covered a breadth of concepts and topics within the theme of the exhibition and that also represented a large variety of media and technical approaches in the production of the work. The work included in the exhibition speaks to the daily social fabric of the region through personal narrative, landscape, social and political themes expressed in the artworks.”

The biennial exhibition began with a gift from the Irene Rosenzweig Foundation in 1992. Born in Pine Bluff in 1903, Rosenzweig was a noted scholar and teacher. She earned a doctoral degree from Bryn Mawr College, studied in Rome, and was fluent in six languages. Rosenzweig tutored President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s family members during their time in the White House. She died in 1997.

In addition to the Irene Rosenzweig Endowment Fund, the exhibition is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts. The reception was sponsored by ASC’s volunteer group Art Krewe and M.K. Distributors.

The exhibition is on view in ASC’s William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Admission to ASC’s galleries is always free.

About ASC

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC), 701 S. Main St. in Pine Bluff, is accredited with the American Alliance of Museums. ASC presents programming in the visual arts, performing arts, and the sciences through exhibits, performances, classes and local partnerships. Gallery admission is free. ASC is open Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Support for ASC is provided in part by the Arkansas Arts Council —  a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission, and the City of Pine Bluff. For more information, visit or call 870-536-3375.

Featured image: “Lost” by Nabil Gonzalez of El Paso, Texas, took First Place in the 2021 Irene Rosenzweig Biennial Juried Exhibition