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Art in Abundance: Prizes handed out to artists for top work

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Gwin Robertson stands next to her painting, "Trail Ride," which won five separate awards in the Brookhaven Trust Fine Arts Committee's art competition Thursday, including Best of Show.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Gwin Robertson stands next to her painting, “Trail Ride,” which won five separate awards in the Brookhaven Trust Fine Arts Committee’s art competition Thursday, including Best of Show.

This year’s art competition surpassed nearly all expectations and ended up giving out more cash and prizes than ever before, according to the chairperson of the Fine Arts Committee of the Brookhaven Trust, Nancy Hank-Myers.

Artists and onlookers alike took part in the official awards ceremony for the art competition Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Lincoln County Library. The ceremony and reception provided an opportunity to meet other artists from the area, to network with one another, and to increase artistic awareness and education in the area, said Ava Jane Newell, also a member of the Fine Arts Committee.

In total, the committee gave out $2,400 in cash and prizes to talented artists, due in part to the sponsorship of local merchants. Close to 20 merchants helped sponsor the competition, and these merchants provided their own awards for pieces of art they enjoyed the most.

Among the sponsors were Melinda’s Fabrics, Magnolia Blues BBQ, Ables, First Bank, Interior Attitudes and J. Allan’s to name a few.

This year’s competition, now in its fifth year, saw increased attendance from last year.

“There were a good deal of new artists this year. This was a good showing,” said Myers. A total of 133 people attended the ceremony, an increase of 21 people from last year. “Every year has seen a larger and larger turnout,” said Hanks-Myers.

Since Oct. 1, the Lincoln County Public Library has been displaying the work of Lincoln County and surrounding county artists. Art enthusiasts will be able to view the paintings, photographs and other pieces of art for the rest of the month.

The only award left to be determined will be the People’s Choice award, which is the piece of art that the public, including visitors to the library, like the best. This award will be determined by the end of October.

Some of the artists won multiple awards, such as Gwin Robertson, Maxine Minter and Tracey Farrell. The following list includes Thursday’s winners.

First place awards went to:

Oils: Rosemary Leggett for “3 Tangerines.”

Acrylics: Tracey Farrell for “Le Mer Bleu.”

Water Media: Amy Greer for “Three Generations”

Pastels and Drawings: Patsy Kirkwood for “Fat Tuesday.”

3D and Mixed Media: Patsy Kirkwood for “A Glance.”

Photography: David Gulledge for “Pears.”

Besides these awards, organizers also included a best of show award, a tri-county award for an artist living in Lawrence, Lincoln or Franklin County, and a number of door prizes.

Best of Show landed the artist $150, all first place submissions were given $100, $75 for second place and $50 for third place. The People’s Choice Award will be given $100.

For the contest, artists were allowed three submissions in seven categories that included oils, acrylics, water media, pastels and drawings, 3D and mixed media and photography. Many of the artists came from Lincoln County, however, others traveled some distance to get here.

Gwin Robertson, for instance, who ended up winning five separate awards including Best of Show, came from Ridgeland.

Robertson says she started painting in 1989 as a hobby. Over the years, she says, she attended just about any and all art workshops she could. With practice and patience, Robertson began to develop the skills necessary to win Thursday’s competition.

Robertson’s “Trail Ride” painting, her interpretation of a photograph, also won four of the Merchant Choice Awards.

“This is so gratifying,” said Robertson. “It’s just a wonderful thing to be recognized like this.”

Longtime art teacher and operator of an oil painting instruction school in Jackson, Bob Tompkins, handled judging for most of the awards. Tompkins was not in attendance at Thursday’s presentation ceremony.

Organizers of the competition have high hopes for the local arts community into the future.

Hank-Myers says she already has plans to get more people to participate in next year’s contest. “We need to do a better job of trying to reach out to students from the Mississippi Arts School. We would love to have some of these students involved next year. We are looking to get as large a demographic as possible.”

Ava Jane Newell, also a member of the Fine Arts Committee and art instructor at the Art Barn, said she is planning to expand on the success of the art contest and is fleshing out details for the creation of an art guild later in the month, too.

“We really are trying to make the arts scene here a regional affair,” said Newell.