The winning artists were honored at ceremonies Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18 at the Driftless Area Art Festival in Soldiers Grove. Young artists exhibited their works in the Youth Art tent, which included the KidsArt Gallery for elementary students and the Teen Art Gallery for Alder children. Eighty-five professional artists from across the Driftless region contributed a wide variety of visual arts, including painting, sculpture, and wood, metal, and fiber art.
Among more than 100 pieces, paintings, drawings and multimedia exhibited in the Youth Art tent, seven primary school students were awarded blue ribbons by a team of professional artists.
In the KidsArt Gallery, ribbons were awarded in rating categories. They included, from kindergarten to grade 2, Grace Griggs of Prairie View School. His art teacher is Meg Buchner. Another student at Meg Buchner’s Prairie View, in the grades 3-5 category, was Brooklyn Hooverson. In grades 5-8, the winner was Jaycee Sondry from De Soto Elementary. Carissa Brudos is her art teacher. Blue Ribbon winner in a new category, 3D art, 5th grade Audry Yaktin is from Stoddard Elementary, and her art teacher is Meg Buchner.
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In the Teen Art Gallery, Naomi Metz of North Crawford High School received a blue ribbon and a check for $75. Her art teacher was Michael DiPadova. A red ribbon and a check for $50 were presented to Brynn Sullivan of Kickapoo High School. His teacher is Heather Martin. A white ribbon and $25 check went to Kyrie Crager of De Soto High School. Her art teacher is Carissa Brudos.
Each student received a ribbon and a cash scholarship. Some of them had also received “My favorite artist” cards from the children who visited the Festival. And the art teachers of the winners each received certificates for purchasing artwork at the Festival.
Nine schools from the Driftless area participated, along with four individuals who presented their work independently.
“We will continue to encourage school art programs as well as young individual artists to submit their work,” said Jane Holzhauer, co-director of the Youth Art Tent program. “It’s good that young artists can show their work and be part of the Festival. And co-director Jamee Stanley encouraged art teachers to start planning their attendance in 2023. “As the school year progresses, there will be pieces that deserve recognition across the school. the region. We hope to see many of these works next year.
Among the professional artists, three prizes were awarded. A jury of artists selected three of the professional artists for the ribbons and cash prizes. Named Best of Show, John Craig was honored for his giclée prints and collages, described as “continuing to push boundaries and develop his fun, engaging, well-composed style”. The $500 prize is sponsored by J Company Interior Design, now Gallery 804. of Lacrosse
Merit Awards were won by Jovy Rockey of Winona, Minnesota and Ken and Michelle Workowski of Viola, Wisconsin. Jurors described Rockey as a “master of her craft and called her jewelry designs an elegant and professional collection of bold designs”. They called the Workowski’s hickory baskets “well-crafted pieces of functional art – always pushing the envelope.” The $100 prizes were sponsored by VIVA Gallery of Viroqua.
In a ballot held throughout the weekend, Toby Skov of Nature Photography of Viola was voted the people’s choice. He will receive a $100 prize sponsored by Viroqua’s VIVA Gallery. Skov will be a featured artist there in the coming months.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Bill Zierke of LaCrosse/Onalaska, for his 70-year career creating paintings and sculptures with a focus on barns and wildlife. “Bill has been a Festival highlight for many years,” said Lori Bekkum, Festival President, “and his works have delighted art lovers of all ages.”
The main festival partners are the People’s State Bank, Richland Hospital and Clinics, Wisconsin Public Radio, Village of Soldiers Grove, and Community Development Alternatives.