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“Art in Gadsden” exhibition winners announced

The Gadsden Arts Center and Museum celebrated the 30th anniversary of its iconic “Art in Gadsden: Regional Exhibition of Fine Art” with an opening reception last Friday night that attracted an impressive crowd of more than 400.

Tallahassee acoustic rockers Hot Tamale entertained guests, ArtZone was open for creative fun, exhibitions were featured in five galleries, and award winners were announced and honored Friday night. The exhibition, which features more than 80 pieces by area artists, will be on view through Sept. 8 at Gadsden Arts Center and Museum, on the square in downtown Quincy.

Darlene Crosby Taylor, exhibitions and public art director at Thomasville Center for the Arts judged the works featured in the exhibition and selected winners based on three criteria: creativity and originality, quality of composition, and overall design.

Roger Raepple won Best of Show for his photograph, “Abandoned Farm #3.” The Best of Show award was sponsored by Doug Croley Insurance Services. “I chose this piece for Best of Show simply because it felt as though I was looking at something for the first time,” Taylor said. “Beautiful technique. A very fresh approach.” This is the first time a photograph was crowned Best of Show in the history of the “Art in Gadsden” exhibition.

First Place, sponsored by Capital City Bank, went to William H. McKeown for his watercolor painting of an oyster fisherman entitled “The Turn Around.” “This was an easy choice for first place,” Taylor said. “Bill McKeown made me look twice; I thought that it was a photograph at first. Very well executed. There is a realism that I loved about this watercolor.” Mr. McKeown’s paintings often depict what he treasures in this region as a fifth generation resident of Gadsden County – things that are rapidly disappearing into history, such as tobacco barns and scenes of oyster boats on Apalachicola Bay.”

Beth Appleton’s unique hand-painted cut paper collage, “The Diatomist,” took the second place slot, sponsored by Lines, Hinson, and Lines. “The execution was both superb and flawless,” Taylor said, calling Appleton “a patient soul, with a love for the sea that I appreciate.” Appleton and her husband, David Harbaugh founded “Art in Gadsden,” in 1989, working with volunteers to stage the exhibition in an empty storefront in Quincy. That same year, Appleton developed the art form for which she is now renowned – colorful, incredibly intricate, three-dimensional, layered collages, with subjects often reflecting her upbringing and life in coastal Florida.

Taylor awarded Mary Jane Lord’s tapestry “Under an Autumn Sky” third place, saying, “I couldn’t keep my eyes off it. I loved the color, composition and execution. Bravo!” Damfino’s Café and Market sponsored the third place award.

In addition to “Art in Gadsden,” the Gadsden Arts Center and Museum is currently home to numerous other art exhibitions, including Jim Miller’s “Birds of Paradise,” “Thoughts on Paper” by Thornton Dial, Sr., and the third 2018 exhibition of artwork by the Gadsden Arts Artists Guild.

The Gadsden Arts Center and Museum’s galleries and museum shop, 13 N. Madison St., are open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The ArtZone drop-in studio is open weekday afternoons and Saturdays through August, For more information, call (850) 875-4866 or visit

Special to The Herald

Second Place: “The Diatomist,” hand-cut paper collage by Beth Appleton
First Place: “The Turn Around,” watercolor by William McKeown
Third place: “Under an Autumn Sky,” tapestry by Mary Jane Lord
Best of Show: “Abandoned Barn #3,” photograph by Roger Raepple