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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Check out This Award-Winning Art from Central Park Art Fest

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Check out This Award-Winning Art from Central Park Art Fest

by James Coulter

If looking at Cici McModgle’s artwork feels like looking into someone’s fever dream, that’s essentially what the artists wanted you to feel. With its bright colors and surreal designs, McModgle wanted to portray imagery as though it manifested from one’s deep subconsciousness.

“The inspiration behind my work is more intuition and how your subconscious can guide you,” she said.

Unsurprisingly, her artwork was awarded Best of Show at this year’s Central Florida Art Fest, hosted in Downtown Winter Haven last weekend. The award was most surprising for her, as she only expected to attend and showcase her art. She was encouraged to attend by a previous award winner, who had served as a teacher and mentor for her.

“It is very unexpected,” she said of her award. “It feels good. It feels nice. I wasn’t planning; I did not attend this show expecting to win anything. That is the first thing. You come into it, do it for fun, do it for you, and then success will come with it if you bring good energy and vibes.”

Ron Malone was one of the two artists who won Judge’s Choice. He specializes in portraits. This year’s theme was “Hat Ladies”, themed after the fashion of African-American women who wear big hats. Malone has attended this and many other local art festivals in the past, and he has also won many awards.

“I am very grateful,” he said. “I am surprised, and I am thankful. I owe my success to my mother who encouraged me to paint when I was young. I contributed to enjoying life. If you find something you enjoy, you do it.”

Colleen Williams also won Judge’s Choice for her colored porcelain art. What makes her artwork unique is that keeps her ceramic art unglazed, highlighting the nakedness of raw porcelain.

“It is excellent,” she said about winning. “Why would it not? It is a great honor. I think it is a very different work. It is a cohesive body. So you see the artist’s identity and cohesive execution.”

Presented by Victor Smith Law Group, the Ridge Art Association’s Central Park Arts Festival was once again hosted in scenic Downtown Winter Haven. Nealy 100 vendors congregated in Central Park to showcase their diverse artwork from paintings to sculptures and mosaics.

This year’s event was the first to be supervised by Daphne Manning, the new executive director of the Ridge Art Association. She brings with her 19 years of volunteer experience. Despite the nippy weather on Sunday, the weather on Saturday proved ideal and drew in quite the crowd, she said.

“The weather was perfect yesterday,” Manning said. “We had a lot of new artists show up. A lot of great artists.”

Christy Hemmenway had previously supervised the event for the past 21 years. She was impressed by how her predecessor handled the event this year.

“We have a really strong lineup,” she said. “The weather has been a contender. We had a lot of no-shows because we were supposed to storm this weekend…We hope to have more artists next year and that the weather will cooperate a little bit better.”

For more information about upcoming events through the Ridge Art Association, visit their website: https://www.ridgeart.org/

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