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Carolina Artists Expo provides window into ‘fantastic art’

SALISBURY — The beauty of the 18th annual Carolina Artists Expo is that it represents a wide variety of artists in about every medium.

And there’s a good chance you know many of the contributors, almost all of whom are from Rowan County.

“I think we have had some fantastic art here tonight,” Tonda Coutu, president of the Carolina Artists Guild, said Thursday evening during a reception that recognized this year’s winners. “I’m pleased with it, and we’ve had great response.”

The show, held at the Salisbury Civic Center and available for free viewing through 2 p.m. Saturday, attracted 26 artists who submitted a total of 158 judged entries in acrylic, drawing, mixed media, oil, watercolor, digital art and photography.

Tom Petty was the exposition’s featured contributor, representing the military veterans community. He has four pieces and a pen-and-ink drawing on display at the expo.

To be part of the expo, the artists have to be members of the Carolina Artists Guild, which meets every third Thursday of a month at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center.

That doesn’t mean the group is for seniors only. All ages and levels of expertise are welcome, including art students, teachers and “anyone interested in promoting arts in the community,” the guild’s promotional material says.

The membership is only $25 a year, and expo entries are $5 each.

The monthly meetings usually start with a guest artist (often a professional) as the program. And there’s usually a lot of discussion and sharing among the artists attending.

“We have such a nice variety of topics,” artist Connie Eads said.

Cindy Calvert arranges for the programs, which are followed by a business meeting.

Coutu is a jewelry designer by training, but in retirement she has explored about every art medium she can, thanks to the Carolina Artists Guild. She has only been dabbling in these other arts for about three years.

“This is just a whole new world for me,” she said.

Coutu captured a third place in her first expo, and Thursday night she announced her own name for a second-place in mixed media.

“I’m up against some wonderful competition,” she said. “It stimulates me and makes me want to do better.”

Eads said the expo offers a great chance to see fellow artists’ work and also show your support for them.

“We feed off each other’s energy,” Coutu added.

Jonathan Hoffman, who received his bachelor’s of studio art degree from Rowan University in New Jersey and his master’s of fine arts degree from Winthrop University, served as judge for the show.

Jerry’s Shell, Cheerwine and Penninger Distributor were sponsors.

Here were the awards handed out Thursday evening:

• Acrylic (41 entries): First place, “Cedar Triptych” by Clyde; second, “A Cool Spot” by Cherrathee Hager; third, “Isle of Dreams” by Genevieve Martin; honorable mention, “Sheetz on the Rail” by Andrea Brown; honorable mention, “Edisto Sunset” by Barrie Kirby.

• Drawing, including pen and ink and pastels (16 entries): First place, “Closing Time at College Barbecue” by Andy Mooney; second, “Old Tree” by Carolyn Blackman; third, “Calico Cat” by Barrie Kirby; honorable mention, “Sunset” by Karen Morgan.

• Mixed media, including collage and fiber art (20 entries): First place, “Women on the Move,” by Janet Isenhour; second, “Garden Children” by Tonda Coutu; third, “After the Rain” by Barbara Benton; honorable mention, “Forgotten Ride” by Janet Payne.

• Oil (20 entries): First place, “The Wake Gulls” by James Taylor; second, “Kerr Mill with Stream” by Marshall Stokes; third, “Mountain View” by Mary Roakes; honorable mention, “Iris” by Jo Ann Smith; honorable mention, “Sherewbury, New Jersey” by Joyce Orphanoudakis.

• Digital art (10 entries): First place, “30 of May” by Charles Ramsey; second, “Linked” by Janet Isenhour.

• Photography (eight entries): “Storm A-Coming” by Mary Roakes; second, “Brown Pelicans” by Connie Eads.

• Watercolor (43 entries): First place, “Wanda’s Girl” by Karen Morgan; second, “Pigs at the Trough” by Connie Eads; third, “Wishing” by Pat Wagoner; honorable mention, “Oh Happy Day!” by Catherine Soderberg.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

For more information on the Carolina Artists Guild, go to www.thecarolinaartists.org or email carolinaartists@gmail.com.

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