The crowd was large and boisterous last night at the reception and awards show for the Lee County Alliance for the Arts’ 25th Annual All Florida Juried Competition.
Florida Gulf Coast University Interim Gallery Director Anica Sturdivant was in the house to view the art before moving on to another event on her busy Friday night schedule. “The quality of the artworks gets better every year,” she declared, trying to be heard over the din.
Off to one side, FGCU grad and outgoing Alliance Public Relations Director Chelsea Birczak could be seen taking urban artist Marcus Jansen’s photograph in front of Michael St. Amand’s mixed media piece with cigar box, Peace and Purity.
Two Art League of Fort Myers members were on hand, and enthusiastically posed for photos with the works artist/critic Kevin Costello had juried into this year’s show. Tracy Owen Cullimore stood proudly next to her oil on canvas, Attitude Adjustment, as husband Kip looked on admiringly, explaining that Tracy knew immediately she had material for an intriguing painting when the man in the composition walked into a restaurant they were in and plopped himself down at the bar sporting coveralls, a hat and cigar. In the time it took the barkeep to pour the man a beer, they were snapping pictures for Tracy to use in her studio.
Costello also admitted Susanne Brown’s Confetti into the competition. The mixed media piece was conveniently displayed next to the table in the back of the gallery that was being used to serve refreshments.
Executive Director Lydia Black mingled among the guests, making everyone feel welcome. She was quick to remind folks that events and exhibitions like the annual all-Florida juried competition is one of the means the Alliance uses to achieve its mission of supporting artists and art organizations in Lee County.
“This year, the Alliance received more than 200 submissions,” Lydia reported. “Our judge, Kevin Costello, accepted 50 for the exhibition, representing the work of 40 Florida artists.”
Several had multiple works in the exhibit, like Matthew Engel, Jamie Golob, Peter Horan, Kenneth Rowe, Carl Schwartz, Barbara Yeomans and the Alliance’s 2010 Arts Teacher of the Year, Eric Riemenschneider. So did Eric Levin, whose Sanibel Lighthouse won Best of Show.
You can view the 25th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition at the Alliance for the Arts through August 6. The gallery is located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. Please call 239-939-2787 for more information.