Combined prizes of $1,700, reportedly the largest awards ever offered in the county, have lured local artists to exhibit and compete in this weekend's Carbon County Art League Show.

From noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 at the Anita Shapolsky Foundation Gallery, 20 W. Broadway in Jim Thorpe. The Carbon County Art League Art Show invites the public to view 139 original pieces of artwork from 45 local artists. An artists' reception and judging will be held from 2 to 5 p.m., with awards being presented at 4 p.m. The reception, an opportunity to meet the artists, is open to the public.

"This is our 32nd annual Art exhibit," explained Earlene Russell, president of the Carbon County Art League, as she was arranging details for the show and reception. "Right before any big event, the person that feels responsible for it gets nervous and hyper. That describes me at this particular moment. My brain is going in 20 different directions: Where is everything going to hang? How is the reception is going to be? What's going on the table? How much wine do we need to buy?"

"This is the most prize money that we have ever offered," she continued. "There are six categories: oil, acrylic, watercolor, sculpture and mixed media, photography, and works on paper. In each one of these categories there will be a first, second and third place. First place will receive $125, second place will receive $75, and third place will receive Honorable Mention.This year's Best of Show will be awarded $500."

The prize money, the rental of the building and the cost of refreshments are paid for by an exhibition fee by the artists and advertisements in the program from members of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce.

Russell was busy setting up for the exhibits, receiving artwork from 3 to 7 on Thursday and from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, after which two amembers of the League who previously had galleries, Steve Kager and Andy Colazzo, began hanging the show according to the categories. Artists' registration for the event began in late March.

"We do not have juried show." Russell noted. "We do that on purpose because we believe that anyone who wants to show their work should be allowed to show it. When you have a juried show someone is judging it before it is judged."

"Every piece of artwork in the show is for sale. It will be priced according to what the artists believes what they are worth and the price will be next to the art. The artwork will be listed in the program with the artist's name, title and price."

The show is our biggest event. This is our second show of the year. We were invited to do a show at the Mahoning Valley Nursing Home. It was appreciated by the residents. We will have a show at the Hampton Inn on the first weekend of Fall Foliage in October."

"The Carbon County Art League wants to make people in the county aware of the arts, and aware that if they want to get in touch with fellow artists, that we are here and our doors are always open."

"It's going be a good show," said board member Dave Lautt. "I have a good feeling for it. I'm curious so I like to set up and be the first one to see the artwork."

"It's nice to see what other people are creating and working on," Russell said. "Last year we had almost 300 people walked through the show."

The Carbon County Art League meets the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Penn Kidder Senior Center. At each meeting, there is an artwork demonstration. Guests are invited.