Twenty-eight artists, 59 completed people’s choice ballots, and three judges’ professional opinions have resulted in the winners for this year’s “Why Not Niwot?” Juried Art Show., sponsored by the Niwot Cultural Arts Association (NCAA). Displayed at more than 15 businesses throughout town, the eclectic and imaginative entries illustrated what makes the town of Niwot inimitable.
Following a musical performance by the Niwot Community Semi-Marching Free Grange Band at June’s First Friday Art Walk, Biff Warren, President of the NCAA, announced the winners of this year’s competition.
A panel of judges comprised of Alyson Bell, Lisa Rivard, and Mary Williams selected Blaise Simonelli’s acrylic painting titled “Winston in Niwot” as the first prize winner of the juried art show. The piece features the beloved Winston, the potbelly pig, peeking over the fence with his family’s farm house just west of the Diagonal Highway at 73rd Street and Niwot Road in the background. During the art show, the piece had been on display at Shopgirl in the Cottonwood Shopping Center.
“The ebullience of this painting is refreshing and the timing could not be more appropriate,” the judges wrote of Simonelli’s work. “There are certainly more experienced painters in the show, but the subject matter and innocence is a factor that the judges appreciated. Sometimes attraction to these qualities speaks for itself.”
Anne Postle, owner of Osmosis Art and Architecture wrote, “A description is ‘innocent exuberance.’ They (the judges) all said that with the dark cloud that has hung over Niwot this last year, this picture gets us back to the joy of being a Niwotian.”
Second prize went to Niwotian David Bjorkman for his photograph titled “Colterra Gold,” which had been hanging at Niwot Wheel Works during the competition. The angle of the fall sun and intensity of colors caught Bjorkman’s attention while on his daily walk. The photo was posted on his social media sites the day before a kitchen fire led to the restaurant closing in mid-October 2017.
For third place the judges chose “Afternoon Coffee,” an oil painting by Jeannie DeMarinis. The painting depicts Old Oak Coffeehouse on 2nd Avenue and had been on display at Pebble Art Jewelry during the competition.
Simonelli was awarded $500 for her first place win. Signed prints and greeting cards of the winning piece are available for purchase at Osmosis Art and Architecture at 290 2nd Avenue. Prints are $25 and greeting cards are $3.95 each or $15 for a set. Osmosis also carries prints and cards for each of the past years’ winning pieces. All the proceeds benefit the NCAA, and are earmarked for the maintenance of the Niwot Children’s Park and improvements to Whistle Stop Park.
“Winston in Niwot” labels are on two types of wine available at Niwot Liquors; a red blend of Montepulciano and Aglianico called Cantine Faliesi Arbosto Rosso, and a white Coda di Volpe, Cantine Faliesi Arbosto Bianco, for a suggested donation of at least $16 a bottle.
Bjorkman’s second place prize was $250 and DeMarinis won $100 for third place.
The People’s Choice award was won by Linda Faul for her oil painting at Niwot Wheel Works, titled “Prince Henry.” Last year 33 people turned in their ballots after visiting each business displaying the entries. This year saw a near doubling of public participation signaling an upsurge in interest.
People’s Choice ballots were tallied by Michelle Henzel, office manager at Osmosis Gallery and NCAA treasurer. “It’s great to have people come out and support Niwot,” Henzel said, “and for people to come out and vote, because it’s really nice of the businesses to host the pieces and it’s really nice of the artists to let us display them for two months.”