Can’t take the heat, get out of the art department – NSU to hold Hotter ‘N Hell art exhibition


Kendall Caple   


Northwestern State University is set to host Hotter ‘N Hell, a collegiate art exhibition that features any form of art that uses fire or heat during the creative process.  

The exhibition’s name, Hotter ‘N Hell, was inspired by NSU mascot, Vic the Demon, paired with the hottest months of the year, July and August. According to NSU Hotter ‘N Hell Director and Professor of Art Phyllis Lear, these two concepts made for a great match.  

“The art department is hoping this event will grow into a nationally recognized annual collegiate one,” Lear said. 

Students are encouraged to submit heat and fire produced art to Hotter ‘N Hell. The exhibition would be an opportunity to exhibit their work at a national level with peers from across the United States. There will also be cash prizes. 

Best in Show will receive $500, first place $300 and second place $200. There will also be a Merit Award of $100. 

According to Lear, there is no mandatory theme for the exhibition, the only requirement is that all submitted work use fire or heat in their production. 

Pieces that stood out to Lear during the inaugural Hotter ‘N Hell exhibition in 2020 included encaustic painting, ceramics and welding. 

“Elias Betchik, from Ohio, entered some extraordinary, enameled copper vessels,” Lear said. “The process he used involved forming the vessels from sheets of copper, applying enamels, then firing the vessel to fuse the enamels to the copper.” 

Lear also discussed her thoughts on how intriguing the piece submitted by Louisiana native, Gillian Harper, whose mixed media works combined casts metal and branches with organic materials like leaves and dragonfly wings, was in last year’s showcase. 

The entirety of the 2020 exhibition can be found on the NSU Department of Fine and Graphic Art’s webpage. 

The juror for the 2021 Hotter ‘N Hell exhibition will be Christopher Saucedo, former professor  

of sculpture and chairperson of the Fine Arts Department at the University of New Orleans.  

“Over the past 30-years Saucedo has exhibited his artwork in over 100 exhibitions throughout the world and produced several public sculptures throughout the USA,” Lear said. 

The deadline to submit to Hotter ‘N Hell is Friday, April 2.  

For more information regarding Hotter ‘N Hell, Lear can be contacted at [email protected]

To enter the exhibition visit