Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Art Association gives awards to top artists
FAIRFIELD — Fairfield’s top artists were recognized during an awards ceremony held Friday, Feb. 3 at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.
The Fairfield Art Association hosted its annual membership exhibit, which was renamed the Fairfield Art Association Mark Shafer Membership Exhibit, to honor one of its founding members who died in December. At the time of his death on Dec. 17, Shafer had been preparing a painting he intended to enter in the exhibit. That unfinished painting, along with his sketch book, was on display, along with several other pieces of his artwork.
Pekin High School art instructor Matt Guise was chosen to judge the competition. FAA volunteer director Suzan Kessel said Guise joined FAA about a year ago, and has been eager to get involved in its activities.
Visitors at Friday night’s ceremony had the chance to vote on their favorite piece of art. The winner of Most Favorite Piece of Art was Karin Karns for her watercolor piece depicting a shed on 10th Street. Kessel said it was great to see Karns win the event since she is a beginning artist.
“She’s never done anything like this before,” Kessel said.
The other award winners for Outstanding Art included Hans Olson, who was recognized for his piece called “Morning Lights Up Fresh Snow.” Trish Rocca won for her artwork titled “Ablaze,” done with alcohol ink on aluminum. Harriet Burbeck won for her artwork called “November Ink on Paper.”
“Harriet grew up here, was gone for a while and has just moved back,” Kessel said.
Burbeck was among the group of artists who painted colorful designs onto the picnic tables at Howard Park in 2022.
Rounding out the Outstanding Artists was Kathy Tollenaere, who won for her artwork titled “Mr. Bluejay.” Tollenaere has been a member of the FAA for many years, and is past president. She has overseen art camps, garden tours and led the completion of the Leap Frog sculpture outside the Carnegie Historical Museum. Not only is Tollenaere active in the museum, she also painted the backdrop for its new bird display. She was also named one of the two Fairfield Citizens of the Year in 2022.
Kessel said 37 artists contributed 67 pieces of art for the membership exhibit. That’s not quite as many as last year, but still a good number.
“We got a lot of new artists this year,” Kessel said. “It was a totally different format for Friday night, and it was at least as big as the other [ceremonies] we’ve done on Sundays. Some people commented they even liked this one better.”
The art from the membership exhibit will remain up for about a month at the arts center.
The FAA likes to devote space in the arts center to the area’s young artists. It often features artwork from David Kraemer’s art students at Fairfield High School. Since Guise recently joined the group and is the high school art teacher at Pekin, he will soon be hanging art from his students in the hallway gallery. Care Connet just had a display in the hallway gallery dedicated to birds painted on wood.
The next project the FAA plans to tackle is its outdoor art installation in downtown Fairfield. This year’s theme will revolve around shoes.
“We haven’t decided on a title yet, but it should be really fun,” Kessel said. “We’d really like to encourage community members, businesses and individuals to get involved and support the art association. The more people do, the more we can do.”
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at email@example.com