2008-08-14 / News

Juried art show brings area talent to town hall

By Sam Bari

Conanicut Island Art Association art show winners from left: Cynthia Blair, of Jamestown, won second place, Ellen McCarney, of Jamestown, won third place, and Ellen Blomgren, of Bristol, was the first place winner. Don Miller (not pictured), of Jamestown, won the viewers choice award. Photo by Sam Bari Conanicut Island Art Association art show winners from left: Cynthia Blair, of Jamestown, won second place, Ellen McCarney, of Jamestown, won third place, and Ellen Blomgren, of Bristol, was the first place winner. Don Miller (not pictured), of Jamestown, won the viewers choice award. Photo by Sam Bari The Conanicut Island Art Association opened its first juried art show, "Art Around the Bay," at Town Hall Gallery on Thursday, Aug. 7.

According to CIAA vice chairwoman Wendy Crooks, many favorable comments were made about the quality of the work that was on display.

This month's show was the first that was open to off-island artists and the first juried show held by the association, its success setting a precedent for future exhibitions.

"If the next show, "Abstracts in the Fall," which will also be a juried show, is at least as successful as this one, we'll plan on more for next year, and continue to open the exhibitions to all artists," said CIAA President Don Miller.

"Although the prizes are modest, they inspire more and better artists to submit their best work," he added.

Trish Hurley, the juror, said, "Overall the artwork was very impressive. It was very hard to pick winners with such talent. I encourage everybody to continue on and, more importantly, enjoy what you do."

Although she found the decisions difficult, Hurley chose three winners, and gave five submissions honorable mention.

The first place winner was Ellen Blomgren of Bristol for her wall sculpture titled "Boarded." "The piece was inspired by my grandmother who passed away several years ago," Blomgren said.

Blomgren, a full-time artist who teaches in the continuing education program at the Rhode Island School of Design, gives ceramics classes to children and teens.

The second place winner was Cynthia Blair of Jamestown for her pastel named "Old Harbor Moonrise."

"I had to paint it," Blair said. "The light on the old harbor ferry was just perfect."

Blair is a full-time artist and web designer. She is a member of the Schock Gallery in Jamestown, and has been an island resident for 11 years. Blair earned her degree in illustration from RISD and said that she has been drawing since she could hold a pencil.

Eileen McCarney Muldoon, another Jamestown resident, won third place for her photograph, "Storm Clouds."

Born in New York, Muldoon has lived in Jamestown with her family for 12 years. She is a fulltime photographer with a studio in her home.

"I made a living doing portraits and commercial work," Muldoon said. "Now, I specialize in fine art photography and sell my work mostly to area galleries."

The prizes of $100, $75, and $50 were given to the first, second, and third place winners respectively.

Juror Hurley earned a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and her bachelor of fine arts degree is from the Swain School of Design.

She resides in Newport and teaches at the Community College of Rhode Island and the Newport Art Museum. Her work can be seen in galleries in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., as well as in Provincetown, Mass., and other area galleries.

CIAA President Miller, an internationally recognized photographer, won the People's Choice award of a hanging plant for his photograph titled "Reflections."

"We are delighted with the turnout and enthusiasm for taking a new direction," Miller said. "Opening the shows to all artists makes Jamestown a more signifi- cant player in the overall artistic community. And open, juried shows, give artists an opportunity to be recognized for their efforts, as well as a chance to sell their work and make a little money."

The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 25.

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