Photo contest closes, new chapter opens for arts organization

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Wed., May. 4, 2011
Linda Donahue took home the Best in Show award for her photo, 'Old Burial Ground.' Photos by Steve Smith.
Linda Donahue took home the Best in Show award for her photo, 'Old Burial Ground.' Photos by Steve Smith.

The Vernon Photography Contest, sponsored by Gallery 46, closed on April 30, and the winners were announced. It was also the opportunity for the gallery’s curators to announce the official shift of gears of the organization.

Gallery 46 curator Melissa Tompkins Jones said the idea for the exhibit/contest, hosted by the Rockville Elks Club, was to showcase Vernon artists and subjects.

“We wanted to keep it limited to Vernon, because we wanted to do something specifically for where we live and operate out of. Sometimes Rockville/Vernon doesn’t get the credit it deserves,” Jones said. “We’re hoping that next year we can extend this competition to Tolland County. We also hope the Vernon Community Arts Center will be up and running then, so we’ll have a new facility to hold the show in.”

Proceeds from the contest benefited Vernon Youth Services, and accomplished photographer Larry Shortell served as juror. Shortell has traveled the world - all 50 states and all seven continents - and runs a gallery in Rocky Hill. He specializes in natural photography and believes in the purity of natural images that are not digitally enhanced or altered.

More than 50 photos, all of subjects within Vernon, were submitted, each in one of five categories.

The Best-In-Show award went to Linda L. Donahue for her photo entitled, “Old Burial Ground.”

First-place category winners are as follows: Events and Happenings: Paul Shimer; People: Steve Smith; Nature: Mark Cadman; Water/Landscapes: Lynne Wentworth; Buildings/Structures: Susan Thibodeau.

Honorable mentions went to Jim Weatherford, Clark Robertson, Bill Messmer, Kenneth Hill and Dan Villeneuve.

Jones also announced that Gallery 46, which began as a gallery at 46 Union St., but has since left that venue in order to become more of a collaborative effort, will be changing its name to “CT Art Connection.”

“We’re going to be incorporated with a new name and a new mission,” Jones said. “We’re going to produce shows and become very involved in the community. With our new website and our new organization, we hope to be able to give information about other events in the area. For photographers and other artists, if we know of any other open calls, we will definitely be informing you through our website.”

Jones said she also hopes to connect artists with events in the area that they may not know of, through the organization’s own connections with other groups, including the Vernon Arts Commission.

“We want to connect artists in the general Vernon area,” she said. “We don’t feel there really is that connection now. We can be that middle-man for people who want to get involved but don’t know where to go. Eventually, we want to be able to help people write grants.”

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