Casey takes ‘Best of Show’

Published 11:00 pm Monday, April 29, 2013

4-30 MARY ANN pic  one_web

Local artist Mary Ann Casey took top honors at TroyFest where her booth won “Best in Show”

To be awarded “Best of Show” is an honor for any artist. But when that award is given at the artist’s hometown show, there’s no greater recognition.

Mary Ann Casey, of Troy, took top honors at TroyFest over the weekend and the announcement took her by surprise.

“I certainly didn’t expect anything like that,” Casey said. “It was at the end of day and I was looking like a bag lady. But, it had been such an incredible day. I had met some of the most fascinating people and heard their stories. There was such a feeling of love and energy surrounding the day. And, to be honored for doing what I love to do was euphoric.”

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Casey said that, in recent years, she had gotten away from doing outdoor shows but was “re-energized” when she participated in the Peanut Butter Festival in Brundidge in October.

“I loved being there under the trees, interacting with the homefolk, hearing the music and taking in the aroma of foods cooking,” Casey said. “It brought back so many memories. I realized that outdoor shows energize me and I had to do more.”

Casey’s booth at TroyFest was a “little bit” of all the things she does.

“I had a few Madonnas, some abstract pieces and tin pieces,” she said. “I had some expressionist pieces and some folk art. Just a little of a lot of things.”

Casey said she appreciates the hard work and dedication of the TroyFest committee, the support of the community and the participation of the artists that make the Festival such a great success.

“TroyFest was an inspiring event in every way,” she said. “I will certainly do TroyFest again and will encourage other artists to participate.”

As the “Best of Show” artist, Casey will be featured in a one-woman show at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy in May 2014.

Four other local artists also were recognized with top awards at TroyFest 2013.

Rex Thrash was awarded first place in fine crafts. Mike Benton received a merit award for graphics and drawing and Russell Everett received a merit award for sculpture. Walter Black was recognized for the Most Creative Use of Material.

“It’s obvious that Troy artists racked up on the awards, which I think is a testament to our local talent,” said Stephanie Baker, TroyFest artists chair. “This was the first TroyFest for two of our local award winners, Mary Ann Casey and Mike Benton.

“The award winners were selected by outside jurors and, while the committee had the honor of bestowing the awards, we really have nothing to do with the selection. When I was handed the list from our jurors, I was pleasantly surprised to find so many local names.”

Baker expressed appreciation to all artists who participated in TroyFest 2013 and offered congratulations to the award winners.

Ricky Steele, Panama City, received the Corley C. Chapman First Place Fine Arts Award and Brian Bohanan, Helena, received the Spirit of Jean Lake Folk Art Award.

Merit Award winners included Donna Tucker, Crestview, painting; Dawn Prietz, Marianna, pottery; Tara Sartorious, Montgomery, jewelry; George Elliott, Birmingham, photography; Linda Holt, Birmingham, functional traditional crafts; Kathryn Clark, Black, decorative traditional crafts; and Scott McQueen, Northport, folk art.

Arthur Smith, Birmingham, received the Demonstrating Artist Award and Frank Gee, Gallatin, Tenn., received the Freshman Exhibitor Award.

“Overall, the artist committee was extremely pleased with the quality and diversity of our exhibiting artists,” Baker said. “The jurors commented on how difficult it was to make their decisions. That confirms that TroyFest is attracting quality artists from throughout the Southeast.”