Susan Jenkins of Valrico won Best In Show at the 2012 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show for her pastel titled, “Eggs in Water.”

The Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show is a perennial favorite. The show is presented by the Eastern Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) which has done so since 1992.

Under the direction of Debra Bryant, the show has grown this year in both the number of entries as well as the amount of prize money. Mary Jane Wagoner, president of EHAG said, “This is a wonderful show this year. Our professional entries are way up over last year.” Wagoner explained, “Professional is defined as one who teaches, has work in a gallery or sells their work.”

There were 344 entries this year. “We awarded $3,575, which is the most we’ve ever given,” said Bryant. Entries came in from Eastern Hillsborough County as well as from Bradenton, Hudson, Tarpon Springs and Lakeland. Bryant said, “A lot of our amateurs could easily enter as professional.”

The increased prize money is a result of the increased entries as well as the support of a dozen local businesses who stepped up to be a part of the Business Leader’s Choice Award.

The 2012 Business Leaders included Artist in You, the Osprey Observer, Jarrett-Scott Ford, St. Clement Catholic Church, Tony D’s Garage Door Sales and Service, Bruton Memorial Library, Bryant Fine Art Photography, Desco Printing Co., Inc., Sketch and Sip, EHAG, Winthrop Town Centre and Red Rose Inn & Suites.

A representative of each of the businesses picked a piece of artwork that, in their opinion should have received an award, but did not. Bryant said, “This is the first time we had more than three business leaders and I want to thank them. They have the vision to see that art is important in the community and supporting the arts is important.”

There were, in addition to the Business Leader’s Choice Award, 40 Adult winners, both professional and amateur in 10 categories including oils, acrylics, watercolors,  graphic/mixed, miniatures and sculptures. There were also 28 Youth entries in drawing/painting and sculpture.

Susan Jenkins, an artist and resident of Valrico won Best in Show. Jenkins submitted a pastel piece titled, “Eggs in Water.” Jenkins explained that her inspiration for the piece was simple. “I’m a busy mom. I had the eggs in a bowl on the counter. As the sunlight was shining on it I though that’s really pretty.” Jenkins added, “I was shocked when I learned that I had won as this is only the second show that I have entered.”

Jenkins is currently a guest artist at the Beaux Arts Gallery located in Winthrop Town Centre in Riverview.
The Judge for the 2012 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show was Vilas Tonape, a professor of art at Polk State College in Winter Haven. Tonape has been creating art for two decades. His work has been exhibited internationally.
The criteria that the judge used in choosing the winners included draftsmanship, composition, color harmony, values of light and shade as well as creativity.

Debra Bryant will serve as chairman for the 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show. Look for information for the 2013 show in September on the Florida Strawberry website, and the rules will be made available in December 2012.

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