By JEN CARDINES
Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA) kicked off their first annual juried art show in the hours before the NFL kicked off Super Bowl LI. The art center held an award ceremony and reception for the artwork that will be on display throughout the month of February.
“We know this is Super Bowl Sunday, but really this is Super Art Sunday in Southington,” said SoCCA’s new president Susan Skarvinko. “The number of talented people out there in the community is just astonishing.”
Executive director Mary DeCroce echoed Skarvinko, saying that while sports are important, art is too. “When the two happen together, I think it really just rounds out our culture as a town, our culture as a community, and our culture as a nation,” said DeCroce.
Contestants had to submit artwork on Jan. 28 to the art center, where they were under the jurisdiction of local artist Bill Thomson. He was chosen as the show’s juror due to his extensive background in art. Thomson has received over 75 awards in his career and is a professor of illustration at the University of Hartford’s Art School. Illustrations from his wordless trilogy were on display last month at SoCCA.
DeCroce said that the submissions were more than she ever imagined. With artwork hanging from every inch of the gallery room and surrounding hallways, there were 101 pieces of artwork from 68 different artists.
During the ceremony, “Best in Show” awards recognized the top three artists in the exhibition.
First place went to Karen Israel for her pastel painting titled “First Positions.” Second place was awarded to Rita Paradis for her colored pencil drawing “Portrait of My Parents.” Heidy Lanzel received third place for her “Cotton Topped Tamarins” acrylic gouache.
Additionally, Clinton Deckert, Hannah Jung, Sean Michanczyk, and Linda Marino received honorable mentions for their work. These artists won a one-year membership to SoCCA.
This year’s show accepted two dimensional works that include watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel, pen and ink, charcoal, mixed media, collage and pastel. The SoCCA gallery room will have the show pieces on display for public viewing, with some for sale, until Feb. 23.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.
Photos by JEN CARDINES