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Virgin Valley Artists Association announced the winners of its monthly art competition at the public reception on Thursday, April 24, at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery.  The April competition was a “3D” contest, open to art forms having three significant physical dimensions.   Potters, sculptors, and reycle artists are the stars in this exhibition, which is on display through May 3, sponsored by Bill Mitchell Farmers Insurance Agency.   Mitchell has sponsored Gallery exhibitions for the past three years, providing prize money for art competitions.

Named “Best of Show “ is a ceramic piece by Marie Stockhill, “Wired.”  Marie won the purple ribbon and $100 check for her artwork.   Kathleen Birkholz walked away a winner, taking the “People’s Choice” ribbon for her creation, “Spirit of the Soul,” a beautifully-glazed sculpting of a human face.  That award was earned by receiving the top number of votes from gallery visitors.    Sandy Cooper, known for her recycled art efforts, was chosen by Mitchell Insurance as winner of their “Sponsor’s Choice” ribbon for her finely-decorated ceramic longhorn skull, “Southwest Treasure.”

Kathleen Birkholz teamed up with her husband, Harlo Birkholz, and sculptor Madge Tovey to win a blue ribbon and $50 check for “Jinn Bottle,” a whimsical ceramic, based on the old TV series, “I dream of Jeannie.” They constructed the bottle in three parts, allowing Madge to place a lighted “Jeannie” on her pillow-strewn couch inside the bottle, to be viewed through two exotic peep-holes.

Judith Hetem, a diverse and inventive local artist, won a red ribbon and $30 for her clay figure of a rare little anteater, titled “Ietermagog,” the South African name for the creature.  Gail Smith took the white ribbon and $20 prize for her creation of a sculpted clay ball-within-a-ball puzzle, “Which Came First?” Also noted for their artistic excellence were six winners of honorable mention ribbons, potter Sandy Haase, stone sculptor Janet Trobough, mixed media artist Chris Manalad, potter Deb Babcock, paper artist Mary Lou Kessler, and clay sculptor Carol Ramsay.  All of their pieces are available for viewing and purchase at the Gallery through May 3.

VVAA operates a full-service pottery studio that is open to the public.   The “3D” exhibition is intended to help showcase entries fabricated at the studio, located in Room 30 at the Mesquite Campus building, near the ballparks.   The studio offers classes and open studio work time for pottery construction and glazing, as well as selling ready-made ceramics that can be painted, glazed, and fired on site.

The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery will feature the artwork of six public schools in its next exhibition, May 5-24.  The public is invited to view their artwork during regular gallery hours, and join in the reception honoring all young artistson Thursday, May 22, 4-6pm.    The two local high school seniors who have been awarded VVAA art scholarships, Ana Rivera of VVHS and Joe Sherman of Beaver Dam HS, will be recognized at that time.

The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery is operated with volunteer staffing by VVAA members.  The Gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 10a-4p, located at 15 West Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite Nevada.  It sells original artwork, gifts and jewelry made by local artists, and proudly displays gift items marked, “Made in Mesquite, Nevada.”   VVAA is a nonprofit organization with funding from Nevada Arts Council, as well as many generous businesses and individual patrons. Contact the VVAA at 702-346-1338, or see their website www.mesquitefineartscenter.com.