SPSA 70th Annual Show: Kirk again big winner with People’s Choice Award

February 28, 2007
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula artist Norman Kirk has again taken the top prize at the 70th Annual Santa Paula Art & Photography Show with the Best of Show entry titled “Truckee Alley.”

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesSanta Paula artist Norman Kirk has again taken the top prize at the 70th Annual Santa Paula Art & Photography Show with the Best of Show entry titled “Truckee Alley.”From a photo of a horse’s bridled nose to a folk art oil painting of Jesus in oil the Feb. 17 reception and awards ceremony drew more than 400 art lovers and artists to Blanchard Community Library for the state’s oldest such juried competition.Sponsored by the Santa Paula Society of the Arts the 70th annual exhibit offered almost 400 artworks done in watercolor, oils/acrylic, photography, mixed media/graphics and – a new category – pastels.The show offered winners in various categories including People’s Choice Awards – Pat Johnson Memorial, Judges Awards and Jury of Your Peers – Douglas Shively Award of Excellence.Points added up from all categories determined that Kirk’s watercolor was the Best of Show – Santa Paula Society of the Arts’ top winner.“It’s unbelievable,” noted SPSA member Louise Saviers as hundreds of people milled through the library, many marking their People’s Choice ballots to make the voting deadline.“The exhibit is marvelous,” said art lover Clara Behrens of Santa Paula. “We have so much talent in this town,” local artists whose works were selected for the exhibited along with entries from several western states, “and I really support the library” and its role in promoting the arts.
“Esto no es una pipa” showing plumbing pipe made into a smoking variety - a not-so-subtle takeoff on Magritte’s famous work - was just one of several entries by noted Santa Paula photographer John Nichols.“This is one of the best exhibits I’ve seen in a long time,” said Margaret Neuschotz of Port Hueneme who relayed a personal story giving an example of what “art is supposed to do, evoke emotions…”Pastel artists Judy McCarthy of Santa Paula and Wendy Gosaynie of Ventura had entries that were accepted into the show but the former noted that “so many wonderful artists are here I had trouble picking one” for the Jury of Your Peers Award.Show Chairman Gerald Zwers noted that the art competition is the “longest running show of its kind…it didn’t even stop for World War II,” so ingrained the show had become in artist rich Santa Paula.SPSA President Virginia Gunderson noted that as the show grew over the years it required larger and larger venues and now although the size of the exhibit is “overwhelming” she thanked Librarian Dan Robles for making the show possible.A highlight of the show was a 1940 composite painting done by noted river valley artists, several of whom were show founders.Gunderson introduced several descendents of the show’s founders including Jessie Arms and Cornelis Botke, Douglas Shively, who attended the reception.The SPSA puts in “Hundreds and hundreds” of volunteer hours staging the show said Zwers, who presented a special – and surprise – award to Gunderson for her hard work and “tremendous involvement…” in all aspects of the annual exhibit.

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