To mangle a cliche: We depend on our students to fling us into the future. When it comes to art, the candidates in our local Masters of Fine Arts programs are reliably as forward-thinking as they are unafraid to experiment. The Annual Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition offers the chance to see what almost two dozen of those risk-taking M.F.A. students are up to. The group was selected from a pool 10 times that size in a competition that focused on artists who push boundaries and do not limit themselves to any single discipline, traits that are practically a tradition in the Bay Area art scene. In the discussion "Bay Area Trajectories," a lively quartet of local experts gives the work in the show some historical context and explains how it fits into current art directions as well. With participants that include mixed media artist Mildred Howard, trend-setting gallery owner Steven Wolf, and Dena Beard (co-curator of the current Barry McGee extravaganza at the Berkeley Art Museum) this is a panel particularly suited for the topic. Activist and writer Jaime Cortez moderates the conversation and adds his own insights from his many years as an artist and community organizer in the Bay Area. Hear where art will go next, and put your bets on who will take us there.
Wed., Sept. 12, 7 p.m., 2012