The Brownwood Art Association will honor a fallen member while also celebrating the talents of local photographers with its upcoming exhibit ‘Churches of Texas’.

The new exhibit, which will go on display as part of an ongoing first Thursday event at the Brownwood Arts Center, is part of the BAA photo group’s seventh annual members exhibit.

“It started with a conversation about the painted churches in Schulenburg and at that time we all decided that would be an interesting subject,” Brownwood Arts Association Instructor Roger Levesque said.  “There are plenty of them around. That is what kicked it off. We’ve been working on it for at least six months with people going around to different parts of the state getting photos. It’s going to be an interesting show I think.”

As part of this year’s exhibit, the BAA will award a special honorary photographer of the year to Fred Spencer. Levesque credited Spencer as being on of the best portrait photographers he had ever seen and wanted to create an honorary distinction for Spencer because he believed Spencer was a likely candidate for photographer of the year before he died in July.

“Fred was one of our founding members of the art of photography group,” Levesque said. “When he passed away this past July, we had a show of his work at one of the exhibits, then we decided we wanted to honor him in some way. He had a chance of winning this year too as photographer of the year so we wanted to make him the honorary photographer of the year just to honor his memory.”

Along with honoring Spencer, and showing off hundreds of works from an estimated 15 and 20 skilled, area photographers, the exhibit will also honor local photographer Jim Blake as BAAPG Photographer of the Year. The Bulletin reached out to Blake, but could not reach him in time for publication.

“The photographer of the year is selected by judging entries on a monthly basis,” Levesque said. “Whoever wins the most number of monthly competitions is selected as photographer of the year. It’s a process where the members vote. This year, we had in the final running eight or nine. Jim Blake won two this year. He made it.”

The exhibit will on display during a special ceremony 5 p.m. Oct. 4, then officially go on display to the public Oct. 5. Those who attend will also have an opportunity to vote on their people’s choice, which will be announced at a later date, and all photos on display will be available to purchase.

“An artist only wants recognition, he or she doesn’t care if it’s good or bad,” Levesque said. “This is a way to get recognition. It’s being able to validate yourself when you hear someone say ‘That’s a nice photograph. That’s a nice piece of art.’ That is the crowning glory of what most amateur photographers look for, just some kind of recognition. Of course, we like to sell stuff too.”