Experimentation is the stated theme of “Petri Dish,” the Target Gallery’s new juried exhibition of works by would-be artistic innovators from around the country.

But regardless of the works’ originality, one thing is certain: They’re small. Each of the 52 pieces in the show is being displayed in a standard-size petri dish. On Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., the gallery will host a free reception to meet the exhibiting artists and the show’s juror, Jesse Cohen. The local photographer, gallery owner and biological researcher will talk about his selection process at 7 p.m.

“Petri Dish” runs through Dec. 31 on the first floor of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union St., Alexandria. 703- 838-4565, Ext. 4.

— Michael O’Sullivan