“Starry Nights” Winners Announced

Though the town has lacked energy during the August heat, The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery  buzzed with activity on Thursday as the winners of the themed exhibition, “Starry Night” was presented to an animated crowd at the Gallery’s monthly reception.

Virgin Valley Artists Association hosts themed competitions during the summer months.  The August exhibition is sponsored by Eureka Casino Resort, which provided cash and ribbon awards for the show.  The Eureka has sponsored gallery competitions for the past four summers.

An excited Diana Coonradt, center, is surrounded by Eureka employees as she shows off her painting, Vincent's Song, that captured their Sponsor's Choice ribbon.

An excited Diana Coonradt, center, is surrounded by Eureka employees as she shows off her painting, Vincent’s Song, that captured their Sponsor’s Choice ribbon.

This year, Casino employees chose an acrylic work, “Vincent’s Song,” by Diana Coonradt, as “Sponsor’s Choice” winner.  The same painting was judged white ribbon winner by the judges who ranked the entries for technical artistry and expression of the theme.  Diana’s portrait of a young musician evokes the story/song of Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, who painted a scene of the starry sky he saw from his hospital room.

The blue ribbon and cash prize went to “Stardust,” another tribute to Van Gogh’s influence on art and song by Kathy Ludwig.  Jan Hansen won the red ribbon and cash for “Starry Valley,” an acrylic work depicting the glowing night skies of Mesquite.

Kathy Ludwig won the blue ribbon for Stardust.  Her unique style makes her a perennial winner in VVAA competitions.

Kathy Ludwig won the blue ribbon for Stardust. Her unique style makes her a perennial winner in VVAA competitions.

Honorable mention ribbons were awarded to potter Deb Babcock, pencil artists Susan Holladay and Claudine Nichols, painters Geraldine Zarate and Judith Hetem, and multimedia artist Jan Stensland.

These works are on display at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery through August 30, along with a collection of fine photography by David Bailey, VVAA’s featured Artist of the Month.  All of the original artwork is offered for sale.

Speaking on behalf of the many Eureka employees in attendance, Gerri Chasko congratulated the artists and welcomed all to the “Best of Fest” documentary film festival, coming to Mesquite September 9-12.  In conjunction with Dixie State’s Docutah and Redd Hills Cinema, the Eureka hosts a miniseries of 12 documentary films, including “My Father’s Highway,” the story of the construction of Interstate Highway 15 through the Virgin River Gorge.  “Fest” passes for the entire film series and gala receptions are now available at J.S. Merchant gift shop in the Eureka.

Vanessa Temple won two top awards for her painting, Big Sedona Sky.

Vanessa Temple won two top awards for her painting, Big Sedona Sky.

Volunteers of the Virgin Valley Artists Association operate the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery, a City-owned facility that displays the original work of local artists.  The gallery and its gift shop are an outstanding source for fine original art, including paintings, pottery, glasswork, jewelry, and many other art forms.   VVAA also offers weekly art classes, a pottery studio that is open to the public, and a community art education program that serves all ages.  Proceeds from gallery sales help to support art education in the Virgin Valley.

During  September, VVAA welcomes artwork by eight visiting arts groups from throughout the Southwest to the “Mesquite Fine Art Invitational.“  This annual exhibition, now in its fourth year, is unique in calling together artist organizations of the entire region to exhibit their best works in a noncompetitive show.  The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 10a-4p; located at 15 West Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite Nevada.  Ph 702-346-1338, wwwmesquitefineartscenter.com, also on Facebook.

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