Artists get creative at Nov. 3 show

  • Published
  • By David Edwards
  • Academy Spirit staff writer
There's just something about the Air Force Academy that nurtures people's flare for the creative.

Anyone who thinks otherwise just needed to drop by the Milazzo Center Nov. 3 for the Academy's Artist, Craftsman and Photography Show.

Savory refreshments and scintillating artwork awaited visitors, and many of the artists showed up to mingle, discuss their creations and collect their prizes.

Paula Dickinson, the awards presenter, said this year's show produced the largest number of entries the organizers have ever had. She also said the judges rated the caliber of the submissions as the highest they've seen so far.

"As you can see, this is an extremely varied art display," Ms. Dickinson said. "That's why we can't really call it a contest. I consider this an exhibition, sort of a people show.

The industrial arts category really brought out people's creativity. Ed Keegan was awarded the trophy in that category for his wooden rocking plane. The detail and craftsmanship of the piece impressed judges and spectators alike.

Ribbon-winning entries in the industrial arts category were just as outstanding. James Trachta took first place for his stained glass creation "Old Rugged Cross." In second place was Laurie Ostasiewski for her decorative basket made of pine needles. And Howard Miller's carved Harris hawk earned the third-place ribbon.

Another trophy-winning entry that was a real talker was a painting by Gloria Shryock titled "Split Cycles." The painting combined a dramatic color scheme and a distinctive composition. It stood out even in a room full of remarkable handiwork.

Organizers were also pleased with the increased participation by youth artists this year. In the fine art category, there was a teen division and a division for kids under 12. Aila Benz, Esperanza Semchuk and Alexis Winslow all had multiple prize-winning entries.

In the photography categories, a handful of entrants cleaned up when it came to awards. Jimmy Do won three trophies and numerous ribbons. In fact, Mr. Do earned an award of some kind in all but four of the 11 categories.

Other big winners on the photography side of the show included Merry Miller, Nona Clark, Robert Reyes and Alicia Altman.

Among the most whimsical items on display were Susan McDowell's pineapple lei, which won the trophy in the textiles category, and Dusty Severn's "Violent Pot." The top of the pot was fragmented and curled, as if its contents had exploded. That item captured a third-place ribbon, and Ms. Severn also earned second place in the same category for her Mohave Dusk covered pot.

Speaking before the awards presentation, Col. Timothy Ferguson said the show has gotten bigger each year, and he expressed his hope that next year's show will require even more room. He also said that since arts and crafts are not his strong suit, he can appreciate the talent and quality that were evident in all the submissions.

"These aren't as big as Falcon football games, but this is something I wish everybody in the community could come out and see," Colonel Ferguson said. "This is one of the things that make the Air Force Academy such a great place."