ST. PETERSBURG — Scott Hartley, a self-taught artist from Ann Arbor, Mich., took the top prize at the Mainsail Arts Festival on Sunday.
Awards totaling $50,000 were handed out by juror Kevin Sharp, director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tenn.
"He's a tremendous talent and he defied the usual expectations of the medium with his large-scale and gritty scenes. It's powerful work," Sharp said.
Hartley, 60, who is formally trained as a musician and plays the trombone in the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, said that though he didn't study visual art, "I've been painting since high school." He was one of 250 artists who set up tented booths for the two-day event in Vinoy Park.
Mainsail chairwoman Lisa Wells said this year's festival was notable for its smooth operation, "especially after last year when we had a lot of rain for the first time in memory."
The festival, which attracts an estimated 100,000 visitors to downtown St. Petersburg annually, is a not-for-profit event, run by 33 core volunteers. The number swells to about 350 during the festival, "most all of them repeats," said Cathy Hakes, who has been a volunteer for all 36 years of Mainsail's history and is now its treasurer. She moved to Georgia five years ago but works on the show long-distance and returns each April.
"I love coming back," Hakes said, "and being with my friends."
Lennie Bennett can be reached at (727) 893-8293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of Mainsail ($10,000)
Scott Hartley, watercolors.
Awards of Excellence ($1,500)
Minh Martin, glass; Mina Heuslein, ceramics; John Mascoll, wood; Gael and Howard Silverblatt, jewelry; Zil Feng, watercolors; Jean Yao, fibers; Nancy Cervenka, sculpture; David McKirdy, mixed media; Gregory K. Williams, wood; Charles Parkhill, sculpture.
Awards of Distinction ($1,000)
Linda Apriletti, oil/acrylic; Pam Fox, jewelry; Scott Coulter, oil/acrylic; Paul Jeselskis, ceramics; Jeff Eckert, graphics; Meredith Kuntzsch, graphics; Kimberly Wilcox and Kevin Norhusen, sculpture; Ronnie Hughes, glass; Marta Crawford, oil/acrylic; Dennis Wiederhold, wood; Chuck and Harry Boux, glass; John Moore, ceramics; Ken Orton, oil/acrylic; Suzy Scarborough, oil/acrylic; James Nemnich, graphics.
Awards of Merit ($500)
James Michaels, oil/acrylic; Susan Griggs Allen, sculpture; Michael Weber, watercolors; John Ha, mixed media; John Cheer, ceramics; Paul Shatz, photography; Don Carter, wood; Dawn and Don Vertrees, jewelry; Ira Lances, fibers; Rolly R. Reel, mixed media; Stephen Schatz, oil/acrylic; Dave Bruner, graphics; Celeste North, glass; Duncan McClellan, glass; Jon Smith, oil/acrylic; Day Greene, digital; Keith Kinney, wood; Stephen Fairchild, metals; Richard Currier, oil/acrylic; Susan Gott, glass.
Purchase (Sponsored) Awards ($200)
George and Diane Bragg, metal, from Fred & Monika MacFawn; Michael Weber, watercolors, from Wells Houser & Schatzel, P.A.; Rocky Bridges, mixed media, from Eric Lang Peterson; Gordon Ekback, wood, from Anthony J. LaSpada, P.A.; Meredith Kuntzsch, graphics, from William & Sally Snyder; Marc and Sara Aune, jewelry, from Mary Beth Morrow, Texturize This; John Mascoll, wood, from Douglas C. Buchan & Associates; Jan Peng Wang, oil/acrylic, from NoBullArt.com; Nancy Cervenka, sculpture, from the Mahaffey Company; Charles Parkhill, sculpture, from Interior Motives/ Leslie Curran.