Morristown Art Association holds 51st Annual Juried Art Show

Top winners from the 51st Annual Morristown Art Association Juried Arts Show were, from left, Althia Ali - Best of Show Renee Suich, winner of the Brenda Dugger Memorial award and Carmalitta Barbour, the Virginia Bellamy Memorial award winner.

Magnolia blooms, food and good cheer accompanied the 40 intriguing pieces of art displayed in the Edith Davis Gallery at Rose Center in Morristown on Friday evening.

Attendance was strong at the reception for the 51st Annual Morristown Art Association Juried Arts Show and included a number of the show’s featured artists, along with juror, Wendy Elliott-Pyle.

“I absolutely love Tennessee, it’s such an inspiring place to be,” Elliott-Pyle told the crowd. She moved to the New Market area in July 2018, relocating from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Moore College of Art and Design and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Drexel University’s Creativity and Innovation Program. She is a member of the American Creativity Association.

Of show’s 30 artists, Elliott-Pyle said, “I was truly inspired by the willingness to explore many different media, many different techniques. I haven’t seen that a lot in certain areas and in certain art centers, and I am just absolutely blown away that you are going beyond, exploring new realms, creating more creativity in that sense and innovating with your artwork.”

She noted the amount of diversity, in terms of the type of artwork, and said, “If you think about us as a community, each one of us is so very different. And we don’t create anything in a vacuum, so we all have to touch each other from our hearts, from that place where we create. And in that way, we really, truly are one. Like a diamond, each one of us is a facet; we’re all shining with beautiful color that is also created in that piece. I was really, really moved.”

Awards were presented by Show Chairman Carmalitta Barbour.

Top Winners were Best of Show: “When a Door Closes, A Window Opens,” by Althia Ali; Brenda Dugger Memorial: “The Master’s Design,” by Renee Suich; Viginia Bellamy Memorial: “Spring Woodland,” by Carmalitta Barbour.

Merit Awards went to Lois Armstrong for “Turtle Town;” Dan Gibson for “The Trail;” Wendy Leedy for “Alone II” and Michael Sandlock for “Pier 17.”

In addition to the juried selections, the Rose Center Award was presented to Jennifer Stoneking-Stewart for “Presently a Hair Bamboozled on Getting’ Yonder.” The George & Shirley Haggard Purchase Award was presented to Leedy for “Alone II.”

Receiving honorable mentions from Elliott-Pyle were Bobby Baxley, Bo Bradford, Susan Hurley, Bill Long, Marie Merritt, Jordan Millern, Linda Redding, JoAnne Simpson and Jennifer Stoneking-Stewart.

Barbour has served as show chairman for four years. Duties include overseeing the committee that locates the juror, accepting the artwork as it is delivered to Rose Center, hanging the art and after the show, removal of the pieces and making sure they are picked up by the artists.

Rose Center Director Beccy Hamm welcomed the crowd and advised those who were first-time visitors to the center that there were activities available throughout each month, including concerts, a variety of arts classes, summer camps for students ages 3 to 18 and community fundraising events.

Three of Gibson’s pieces were accepted into the show; he teaches an acrylic painting class at the center.

“There is some really great and unique work in the gallery tonight, some pieces are just so different from what we have seen before,” Gibson said.

Exhibits like the art show result in more than honoring good work; they inspire fellow artists.

“I remember one year in particular, I couldn’t wait to get home from this reception because I wanted to try a painting that inspired me,” Gibson said. “I think we all do that. I’ve been inspired tonight to get a little out of my comfort zone – take for instance the work on that bridge (Sandlock’s ‘German Creek Bridge Rainy Day,’ using hot glue, shoe polish and acrylic), doesn’t that just look so good?”

The MAA is not just for skilled artists, or even aspiring artists.

“The only requirement to attend a meeting is that you appreciate art,” Gibson said. “You don’t even have to draw or paint. Of course, we hope, once you come in, you’ll try something.”

According to Gibson, the MAA is drawing in younger people, even teens – “And we are so happy to have young people coming in,” he said.

Volunteer members of the Rose Service Guild prepared buffet and dessert tables for the reception. For more information about the Guild and other volunteer opportunities with Rose Center Council for the Arts, visit For more information about the Morristown Art Association, follow the organization on Facebook.