PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Museum of Art opens its 2002-03 season Sept. 3 with a world-class exhibit, “Challenge VI – Roots: Insights & Inspirations in Contemporary Turned Objects.”

The exhibit has been called an experience unparalleled within the “wood-working” community. Every object has been turned on a lathe — from the spiny, cactus “Cereus” by Ron Fleming to a vortex entitled “Down the Rabbit Hole” by William Smith, said Anna-Maria Shannon, assistant director of the museum.

“What makes this exhibition truly exciting is the way the lines of craft and art are blurred by the skill and pure artistry of these objects,” she said. The original idea of the exhibit was to express individual experience in wood, and some in glass and metal. The premise of the show, now in its sixth incarnation, was a submission by artisans, along with any other object, picture, story, poem or experience that inspired the work.

All of the artists in this collection have used their skills as craftspeople to create works of distilled art. They have drawn from their own lives and placed an object of sculptural beauty before the public, Shannon said.

According to Albert LeCoff, the executive director of the Wood Turning Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., “The Challenge series evolved from encouraging artists to seek new personal areas of exploration…”

This exploration has resulted in “an expanding, plastic approach to turned objects that continually blur the lines of media and object definition,” said Roger Rowley, WSU Museum of Art curator. “The exhibit brings together what was once thought a traditional role of woodcraft with architectural forms, decoration and ornamentation to evolve a new expression of what is sculpture.”

The exhibition is open through Oct. 20. The opening reception and lecture, featuring William Moore from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Ore., is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in WSU’s Fine Arts Center. For additional details, call the museum’s information line at (509) 335-6607.

All WSU Museum of Art events are free and open to the public. The gallery is wheelchair accessible. Parking permits for weekday visitors may be purchased at the Cougar Depot at Davis Way (Hwy 270) and State Street or at WSU Parking Services on Wilson Road, directly uphill from the Fine Arts Center. On weekday evenings, parking is available in the Fine Arts parking structure, off Stadium Way at Grimes Way, for an hourly fee. Weekend parking is free.

Funding for museum exhibitions and programs for the fiscal year is provided by WSU, the Friends of the Museum of Art, the WSU Foundation and private donors. Additional support for educational programs has been provided by New Garden Restaurant, Pullman Child Welfare, Pullman Heating & Electric, Pullman Kiwanis Club, Pullman Parks & Recreation, Sims Glass, Windshield Doctor and private donors.