Award-winning artists of the 50th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival

MICHELLE MCDOWELL-SMITH
MICHELLE MCDOWELL-SMITH
Diane Bradley, St. Augustine Art Association Festival Manager, reported to Historic City News today the names of the award-winning artists of the 50th Annual St. Augustine Art & Craft Festival held Thanksgiving weekend under sunny skies at Francis Field.

The St. Augustine Royal Family presented the awards during a formal ceremony that included the reading of a Royal Proclamation designating the 50th Annual St. Augustine Art & Craft Festival an Honorary Cultural Event of the Nation’s Oldest City.

“The Art Association has harnessed the talent and goodwill of artists, volunteers, businesses, cultural groups and civic partners to champion the arts,” stated Kerrie Alexander, who portrays Queen Mariana. “Our Proclamation commemorates the 450th Anniversary of St. Augustine and the 50th Anniversary of the Festival.”

Michelle McDowell-Smith, a mixed-media artist of Jacksonville, won the $1,000 Best-in-Show prize, sponsored by Millennium Home Design. “I’ve worked a long time in art education and now I’m focusing on my art. This is a real affirmation and an incredible honor,” said McDowell-Smith.

Lily Kuonen, Jacksonville University Fine Art Professor, judged the 150 artists who exhibited works in a wide range of categories. Her Judge’s Choice Award, sponsored by Dick Blick Materials, was given to Lynn Fisher, a potter from Bellair, MI.

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The St. Augustine Royal Family presents artist (Front Row l to r) Erin Hilleary (Fiber); Ken Barrett (Photography); Michael Styga (Woodwork); Deborah Barnes (Jewelry); Lynn Fisher (Judge’s Choice); Michelle McDowell-Smith (Best in Show); Niki Coverstone (Pottery); Carolyn Cohen (Painting); Andrea Cammarta/James Stanford (not shown) (Glass); Seth Satterfield (Sculpture); Nicola Barsaleau (2D)

Several St. Augustine artists were among the winners, including James Stanford and Andrea Cammarta, Best Glass Award, Seth Satterfield, Best Sculpture, Erin Hilleary, Best Fiber and Ken Barrett, Best Photography.

Deborah Barnes, Mt. Dora, received the Best Jewelry Award, sponsored by Exploria Resorts. The Best Painting Award, sponsored by Harbor Community Bank, was given to Carolyn Cohen of Orlando. Nicola Barsaleau of Lacrosse, FL, won in the Best 2D category, and Mike Styga of Jacksonville won the Best Woodwork Award, sponsored by Rhineland Cutlery. The Best Pottery Award was presented to Niki Coverstone and Ross Edwards of Brunswick, GA.

Roughly 12,000 visitors attended the two-day Festival, which featured live music by the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival performers, children’s activities, artist demos, Colonial crafts by the St. Augustine Textile Arts Guild and a visit from the traveling King Arthur Flour Baking Truck.

“So many generous people and organizations are involved in producing the Festival,” Bradley told local Historic City News reporters. “This fundraiser is a heartfelt reminder of how art inspires folks to join together to make the community a better place.”

The event raised thousands of dollars to benefit the art education, exhibit and outreach programs of the St. Augustine Art Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1924 to promote artistic excellence in St. Augustine. It was staged by scores of volunteers and sponsored in part by a Tourist Development Council grant.

Photo credits: © 2015 Historic City News contributed photograph by Jennifer Jordan

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