Gadsden Arts officials are pleased to announce award winning artists in the 32nd annual Art in Gadsden exhibition. The exceptional juror this year was Katie Deits, executive director of Florida Craft Art in St. Petersburg, Florida. Deits is an award-winning artist, Master Photographer, writer and a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) who also writes about art for newspapers and magazines, and is a member of the International Association of Art Critics. Deits holds the Florida Degree of Photographic Excellence, as well as a Master of Photography from Professional Photographers of America. 

Deits selected works of art for their expressive quality, design, mastery of the medium, and power to provoke thought or feeling. Selecting winners for this year’s exhibition was no easy task. 

“I applaud Katie on her love of art and the thought she invested in judging this show,” said Grace Robinson, executive director. “The work in this exhibition extremely strong overall, making the selection of award winners a difficult task.”

For the Best in Show award, sponsored by Doug Crowley Insurance Services, Deits selected Suzanna Winton’s, Cuban Cigar Lady, 2019, watercolor, 21×29 inches. Winton has practiced her craft from a young age, focusing on portraiture. She captures the personality and human condition of each of her subjects, and has imbued this painting with brilliant color and energy, fine detail, and an atmospheric quality.

The First Place Award, sponsored by Capital City Bank, was awarded to Terrie Corbett for her encaustic painting, 9th Street Jazz. This large, nearly four foot wide painting comes alive with layer of color, lines and shapes, and as Deits said, “is so well composed, it is just fun to look at. I could enjoy looking at this for a long time!” Terrie Corbett’s process for painting is like a form of visual jazz, with one shape or color leading to another, in layers of hot wax, until the painting reveals itself.

The Second Place Award, sponsored by Ameriprise Financial, went to a sculpture by Barbara Balzer entitled Carrying Memories Through the Floating World, and made of ceramic and seaweed. Barbara Balzer’s work provokes contemplation, reflecting the astronomical chances of our existence, and our navigation of the world through past and present. Deits was impressed not only with the content of the piece, but also the technical mastery needed to create a large scale figure with delicately modeled face and hands using clay and glazes.

The Third Place Award, sponsored by Full Earth Farm, was earned by Harris Wiltsher for his silkscreen print entitled Dancing Crown. Deits marveled at Wiltsher’s fine handling of subtle skin tones set into a dark background, counterbalanced by the brightly patterned fabric of the delicately rendered woman’s dress and headpiece. Wiltsher is a professor at FAMU in the Visual Arts Program, with courses in advanced workshops and printmaking, and a master printmaker.

Six more artists earned honorable mentions for their work from Deits: Gregg Gleason, Little School on the Prairie, digital photograph; Charles F. Manning, Retreat, oil on canvas; Nancy Jones, Saving Places, Margaret Shippen Roebling: Visionary Conservationist, 1867-1930, Women’s Place mixed Media Series 2020, the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote, Photo Credit, Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring, Florida, 1930, mixed media; Walt Wager, Serenity, wood; Mark Georgiades, Cavallino, steel and steel wire; and Kathleen Wilcox, Luna Little Blue, vitreous enamel glass on copper.

The Gadsden Arts Center & Museum is located in Quincy, Florida, just 20 miles northwest of Tallahassee. Public hours by reservation are Wednesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission for members and children is free, nonmember adults $5. Free Art @ Home Kits are available for any family. Live and recorded online exhibition tours, art talks, art making activities, and story time are also offered free of charge. For more information call (850) 875.4866 or visit www.gadsdenarts.org.

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