Meet the juror of the Radford City Fine Arts Show

Sue Thomas
Sue Steele Thomas with one of her paintings.

Sue Steele Thomas is a featured poster artist and her paintings are on exhibit at a museum this spring, but she is undertaking one more task. She is the juror of the Radford City Fine Arts Show.

Thomas, an alumna of the Radford University’s MFA Art program and an art professor at Virginia Western Community College, paints in gouache, which she defines as opaque watercolor. Her preferred subject matter is vintage automobiles.

“I consider automobiles to be works of art; they are moving pieces of sculpture,” she said, “An intrigue comes from the shiny shapes and reflections from ordinary objects that become unique images on the surface of these machines. I am compelled to find solutions in how to manufacture the images that are created by these reflections.”

The Classic Car Club of America Museum found her results equally intriguing and selected her as the poster artist for their June 4 event, the 2017 Experience Concours. The museum and event location is in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

In addition, her exhibition, “Automotive Elegance,” is the first new show in the combined Roanoke O. Winston Link Museum and History Museum of Western Virginia.

Both museums showcase Thomas’ years of experience as a freelance illustrator/fine artist with what she learned during her time as Radford University MFA graduate student. The program challenged her to grow as an artist, strengthening her abilities and allowed her to work on areas needing improvement.

“The lesson learned is to always work harder and never become complacent,” she said about her takeaway from the degree.

And as a juror for the Radford City Fine Arts Show, a partnership between the Radford University Art Museum and the city of Radford, she brings this ideal with her.

When asked what she looks for when jurying an exhibition, she said she seeks skillfully created pieces incorporating foundational knowledge and conceptual ideas. She suggests artists enter works exhibiting evidence of their time and hard work spent on each piece’s creation. They should also look at their entries several times before entering the show to make sure they have fine-tuned each to the best of their ability.

The exhibition does not have a specific theme and Thomas will make her selections based on each artwork’s own merit. She said the professional qualities of each piece chosen would combine with all the work to make the show strong and cohesive.

The deadline to enter is June 4 through a digital entry process. This is open to any artist, ages 18 and up, who live in Southwest Virginia. The entry fee is one piece for $15 or two for $25. The exhibition runs from June 29 to July 21 at the Radford University Art Museum Downtown.

Visit or email for more information, location requirements and entry rules.

May 26, 2017
Leslie King