Left: “Computer Guy” by Susan Magness won the Best of Show in the 77th Annual Santa Paula Art & Photography Show. Right: The art was varied but all showed evident talent at the Santa Paula Society of the Arts sponsored competition.

‘Computer Guy’ Best of Show
at 77th Santa Paula Art & Photography Show

April 02, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times He only goes by “Computer Guy” but you can call him Best of Show after artist Susan Magness took the top prize at the 77th Annual Santa Paula Art & Photography Show.

Magness’ pencil drawing was entered in the Mixed Media/Graphic Arts category and the combined votes of jurors, her artist peers and the public deemed her work the Best of Show prize, donated by Santa Paula Chevrolet. 

The Santa Paula Society of the Arts (SPSA) sponsors the annual show, which features five art categories and is held at Blanchard Community Library; the society’s Lynda Gruber said this year’s competition drew about 270 entries, slightly less than years’ past.

Judges Laura Long, Gayel Childress, Donna Granata and Juror Rex Koche had earlier viewed the entries at the library where the remodeled interior and new exhibit layout was roomier for the show, the oldest such pre-juried competition in the state.

Guitarist Barry Cooper entertained the crowd with soft jazz as the 5 p.m. public voting deadline neared.

Society members Kathryn Wilbur, whose late father artist Douglas Shively was one of the founders of the annual show in 1937, and Marilyn Harvey were greeting reception visitors and offering show catalogs to the hundreds of artists and art lovers.

Unlike those few that declined show catalogs, Betty White of the society found nothing but takers for door prize drawing tickets, “Great fun to give away, like a present,” she said with a laugh.

“It’s a beautiful show,” said Library Board President Linda Spinks who noted, “The society and the library work together very closely to make this happen... it’s a real community favorite.”

The show, said SPSA President Kaye Ford, “Is absolutely fabulous,” and she was especially pleased her own pastel work, “Where’s the Bubbles?” had been selected to compete.

“I’ve only been in art five years,” being a late bloomer like her late grandmother who didn’t start painting until she was 65, a work now owned by Ford.

“One day I went into an art class,” taught by acclaimed artist Judy Klement, “and I started painting... “

Show Chairman and Emcee Gerald Zwers told the crowd that many society members devote “Tons and tons of help and hours,” to stage the annual show, a competition, “Different from other shows... “

The major difference is that entries are judged three ways: by the jurors, show artists that judge each others works as well as the public. 

The latter said Zwers, “Is a neat thing that gives you a really accurate sense,” of what art lovers prefer, peer judging “Is like getting an Academy Award” and the Best of Show is a “hybrid,” of all other results.

Limoneira’s Tomas Gonzalez presented the top awards in the Founders-Judges Awards, Don Tello of Santa Paula Community Bank presented the Douglas Shively-Jury of Your Peers prizes and Maria Bombara of SCV Bank presented the Pat Johnson Memorial-Peoples Choice awards.

“It’s remarkable how much community support there is for the annual show,” said Zwers of the sponsors and their monetary contributions for the top prizes.

He also offered kudos to the artists, noting, “This show is just beautiful and shows people are just phenomenally creative... “

In each category-Oil/Acrylic, Watercolor, Photography, Mixed Media & Graphics and Pastels-there were 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place winners as well as Honorable Mentions. First place winners received monetary prizes and all whose work was recognized received ribbons marking their artistic accomplishment.

This year’s show was dedicated in memory of talented artists, society members and inspirational friends Blanche Hernandez, Chris Lemon, Dorine Lunceford, Sally Miller and Elana Spears. 

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