by Nick Smith
It isn't much fun spending 17 days in the sweltering art booths of Marion Square, but dozens of regional artists are braving the heat for the annual Outdoor Juried Art Exhibition. The first few days are okay — they get to hang out in the shade and catch up with friends. But by the end, it's a hot, sticky grind. The upside: this a high-yield time of year for the artists, with thousands of visitors viewing their work. Plus, if they're really lucky, they'll get an award for one of their paintings.
This year, the special Mayor’s Award went to K.C. Collins for "Butterfly Forest." Laurie Meyer got first place for "Life in Technicolor," Jim Victor got second with "Mystery," and John Micheals came in third with "Perfect Speed #2." Juror’s Choice was Hilarie Lambert for "Girl with Camera."Â Equal Merit awards went to Sally Bennett ("Spanish Moss & Marsh Orange"), Dale Edwards ("Lucy & Lucy Bell Crater"), Helen Duckworth ("Midori"), Scott Henderson ("Lowcountry Creek") and Kent Ambler ("Midnight Gathering"). Carl Crawford, Madeline Dukes, Tyler Blanton, Stephanie Hamlet, Deanna Bodish, and Vicki Gates all for honorable mentions.
For me, the stand-out art is by Jim Victor. With their bold Rothkoesque colors, his abstract paintings like "The Road," "Desert Heat," and "Dark Red #2" are refreshingly different from the multitude of decorative art in the show. I was surprised to find them and I was glad when I did.