Derry Macdonald of Tampa took home the Best of Show award at Center Place’s fourth annual National Contemporary Juried Competition and Exhibition known as Square’s Off. Macdonald’s winning piece is titled Warm Heart, Mighty Spirit.

Center Place held an artists’ reception on Friday, February 7 to celebrate the awards given to the winning artists in its fourth annual National Contemporary Juried Competition and Exhibition known as Square’s Off. The artwork is on display at Center Place.

This year’s judge was Dana Warner. She is a retired Hillsborough County Public Schools teacher. She was supervisor for K-12 Art Education for seven years and a high school art teacher for 13 years. Warner specializes in sculpture and photography.

Prior to teaching, she was an assistant curator of education at the Polk Museum of Art and the curator of education at the Florida Gulf Coast Art Center. In 2018, she founded Interplay Space, Inc., an arts-related nonprofit that focuses on making the creative process flourish through purposeful interaction.

Warner said of the competition, “I was very impressed with the variety of media used, subject matter chosen and technical skill demonstrated by each artist as they were challenged to compose with a square format.”

Warner added, “I was given advice long ago about judging. Each judge must be aware of, and avoid judging by, their own halos and pitchforks or your personal biases. Judges must place those aside and judge each work on its own merits and how well the artist met the guidelines and themes.”

She stated, “With that said, I did my best and I thank each artist for having the courage to submit their work to this competition.”

Best of Show was awarded to Derry Macdonald of Tampa for her watercolor piece, Warm Heart, Mighty Spirit.

Warner said of the piece, “What appealed to me was Derry’s strong composition, use of muted complementary colors and just enough details for me to be invited into this woman’s world.”

Macdonald said of her piece, “I was inspired by a trip to Vietnam. The woman was in an outdoor market. Her spirit was very engaging.”

First place went to James McCarthy of Brandon for his oil painting, In The Year 3073. Second place went to Candace Knapp of Brandon for an acrylic piece called, Falling In Step. John Guiseppi of Lakeland was awarded third place for West African Crowned Crane, a colored pencil drawing.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Yuka Ikebuchi of Valrico for Together II and Anna Elvira Rodriguez of Tampa for an oil piece called Concavo.

Center Place is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. For more information, please visit or call 685-8888.

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