fall festival of the arts
Festival attendees look awestruck at sculptures by Josh Price from Dunnellon, Florida.

With clear skies and pleasant fall temperatures, 149 artists gathered in Downtown DeLand Nov. 19 to exhibit at the 29th annual Fall Festival of the Arts.

Crowds gathered early to enjoy one of West Volusia’s largest annual events that kicks off the holiday season. The crowd thinned somewhat Nov. 20, as a misty Sunday rain settled in.

Visitors from all over Florida and the southeastern U.S. strolled along Woodland Boulevard, and hundreds of volunteers worked to make the event a success.

It was the job of two volunteer judges to select 28 artists to receive more than $25,000 in cash awards. Well-known and highly respected in the art festival world are this year’s judges: Osa Atoe of Sarasota and Harry Messersmith of DeLand. Messersmith was pressed into service to replace Reynier Llanes of Miami, who had to cancel at the last minute.

The winners were announced by Festival President Mallory McDonald Fernandez at an awards reception and dinner Nov. 19 in Artisan Alley Garage.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN Fall Festival of the Arts DeLand President Mallory Fernandez, left, presents Savannah, Georgia, artist William Kwamena-Poh with the Best of Show award.

Taking Best of Show and winning $4,000 for his work in painting was William

Kwamena-Poh from Savannah, Georgia. This was Kwamena-Poh’s second Best of Show award here, having taken the prize in 2021, his first year exhibiting in DeLand.

Awards of $2,500 each went to David Hunter of Winter Park for Judges Choice 2D, and to Carole Jayne of Blountstown for Judges Choice 3D.

“I was very impressed with the high caliber of work represented here,” Atoe said. “The support DeLand provides their artists enables the festival to attract many new artists each year,” Messersmith said.

View More: Fall Festival of the Arts Photo Gallery

Other award-winners include:

  • Award of Excellence — Michael Nelson, ceramics, New Smyrna Beach
  • Award of Excellence — Chris Carlson, jewelry, DeLand
  • Award of Distinction — Sandy Lent, glass, St. Simons Island, Georgia
  • Award of Distinction — Colleen Williams, ceramics, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Award of Distinction — Jack Hill, sculpture, DeLand
  • Award of Distinction — Nicario Jimenez, mixed media, Naples
  • Award of Merit — Bobbi Baugh, fiber, DeLand
  • Award of Merit — Stacia Hollmann, mixed media, DeLand
  • Award of Merit — David Fithian, painting, DeLand
  • Award of Merit — Leigh Griffin, jewelry, New Smyrna Beach
  • Award of Merit — Renee Davis, jewelry, Palmetto
  • Award of Recognition — Robert Ross, painting, Winter Park
  • Award of Recognition — Gwendi Raymond and Wilber Quispe, fiber, Melbourne
  • Award of Recognition — Eric Clay, digital art, Orlando
  • Award of Recognition — Collin Margerum, drawing, Winter Springs
  • Award of Recognition — Kirk Miller, glass, North Palm Beach
  • Award of Recognition — Michael Everett, drawing, Palatka
  • Honorable Mention — Michael Nemnich, printmaking, Indialantic
  • Honorable Mention — Christian Nevin, jewelry, Orlando
  • Honorable Mention — Robbie Lee, painting, Orlando
  • Honorable Mention — Don & Serena David, jewelry, Palm Coast
  • Honorable Mention — Deborah Hildinger, fiber, New Smyrna Beach
  • Honorable Mention — Charles and Evelyn Bell, wood, Live Oak
  • Honorable Mention — Dacota Maphis, digital art, Clearwater
  • Honorable Mention — Alex Lanier, digital art, Tallahassee


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