ART COMES ALIVE: What DO the artists have to say?
For over twenty-five years, ADC has been dedicated to showcasing and selling the best local and regional art. As a result, these artists have been placed in some of the most prestigious corporate and private collections in the country.
Inspired by seeing the success of the artists she represented, Litsa Spanos, owner of ADC and publisher of BLINK Art Resource and Secrets of the Art World, created ART COMES ALIVE (ACA), an international juried art competition which allows ADC to continue its mission to help artists be more successful by introducing their work to a new audience of art lovers, collectors, gallerists, and industry professionals.
If you follow ADC, you might know about ACA or have seen the announcements counting down the entry deadline for ACA 2020. But we thought you'd like to hear directly from the artists that have seen their careers be impacted by their involvement in ACA throughout the years.
After all, ACA was created TO CELEBRATE THE artists!
Nava Lundy first participated in ACA 2019 and ended up winning three awards—Lifetime Achievement Award (one of ACA’s biggest awards each year), an ADC Gallery Contract, and a 2-Page Spread in Polly Magazine. Asked how she felt afterward, Lundy said, “I was overwhelmed and very surprised. It was validating. It’s validating to sell artwork and to get social media comments, but it’s really special to receive awards for your work.”
One of the reasons Lundy received the Lifetime Achievement Award is for the way she uses her artwork to bring comfort to others. After a cousin died tragically years ago, she painted their portrait and gave it to family. “I saw the impact it had on others. Something about the energy in a painting, the brushstrokes. It’s meaningful and it brings comfort.” And after 17 students were killed in a high school shooting in her community of Parkland, Florida in February 2018, Lundy immediately painted portraits of each student and gifted the portraits to their families. She adds, “It’s confirmation we’re all connected.”
David Michael Beck has won multiple ACA awards over the past few years, and in 2019 he won one of the biggest awards of the event, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Of this acknowledgement, he says, “I was very honored. To get that kind of acceptance is a great achievement for me and for the work, so I greatly appreciate it.”
He also mentioned how helpful it is to meet other artists through ACA’s ceremony and celebration. “The concentration of talent in ACA is huge, so it allows me to meet people that I may have met on Facebook, and I appreciate their art, but I’ve never met them in person. It’s also helped me get my name and work out there among my peers and potential collectors.”
Nick Stamas says, “The recognition is wonderful because the competition is tremendous,” but he adds that there are other benefits to Art Comes Alive such as the prestige, notoriety, and PR that artists can gain from it. He also notes how nice it is that ACA has provided him with opportunities to network with artists nationally that he wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to meet. “ACA artists come from all different cities, so it gives you an opportunity to talk with them and exchange notes on techniques.”
Stamas also says ACA is valuable because “Litsa has built a team of professionals who are highly motivated and go out of their way to give artists a great experience.”
Penny Treese says that winning a gallery contract award in ACA 2019’s ceremony which led to a solo show in the heart of Atlanta, really helped launch her career. “I knew the gallery and I was so excited to be in it. I was just so thrilled!”
Last year, Treese also won the Emerging Female Artist award, and she shared to how it led to an extraordinary moment. As Litsa began reading the background story about the award recipient, Treese realized it was her. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! I think that’s my story!’ And the more she went on, I knew it was me. I was in complete shock and had chills all over my body. Seeing my picture up on the screen and seeing my art was just an out-of-body experience. It felt like a dream.”
Marlene Sanaye Yamada has participated in ACA for several years and she says she really enjoys meeting all the other artists who come to the gallery for the ACA awards and celebration. “I’ve met artists who are from California, like myself, as well as local artists. Just exchanging ideas and talking about the art that’s exhibited has been very helpful.”
As far as awards, she has won several purchase awards over the years, she says it is very gratifying. “I always envision my work in contemporary settings, and it’s very rewarding to have your art placed in environments like that.”
Trish Weeks has participated in ACA almost every year, and she has seen it develop and grow over time. “It’s grown in every way you can think of—the number of artists participating and the amount of gallery contracts and purchase awards. There’s nothing quite like it that I’m aware of nationally.”
As someone who has won multiple awards, Weeks says it has many benefits. “It builds your CV, it’s nice when you make a sale, and it gives you exposure to the wider world, which I think is invaluable.”
As for the event itself, she adds, “It is a very big and festive night, and it’s exciting to be part of it. Litsa pulls out all the stops every year. It’s a first-class event—our Academy Awards!”
Karen Johnston won a gallery contract in last year’s ACA award ceremony, and she says her experience overall was a dream come true. “I took a hopeful chance when I entered the ACA competition and was not disappointed. I was delighted to have a painting selected for the show, won a gallery contract, and was beyond thrilled that my painting sold soon after to a local collector. To me, the ACA experience was a dream come true.”
She adds, “I was surprised and honored to be chosen for a gallery contract. It was a memorable moment to learn that my work earned a place in the beautiful ADC gallery! The whole experience has been encouraging and has strengthened my confidence in the art world. I am grateful that ADC has been a tangible and active place to grow as an artist and to share my work.”
Johnston also says that ACA also provided her with a great networking opportunity. “Just through the initial ACA opening night event alone, I met a whole new collection of artists and people with whom I stay in touch and communicate. It has opened a brand new world to me and given my work great exposure.”
Heidi Hines, who won ACA purchase awards in 2018 and 2019, says the competition has helped her grow as an artist and the recognition and validation she has received has been a very welcome surprise. “When I got the award, I couldn’t believe it because there are so many talented artists who enter, so getting ACA awards has been a huge accomplishment for me.”
Jodi Reeb shared her appreciation for the annual event and how ACA enables artists to network and build a supportive community among themselves. “ACA is a first-class, community-building arts event. Everyone is just really warm and welcoming, and I felt a huge sense of pride to be included in the exhibition. Overall, the event is fantastic. It’s been a great experience.”
Tom Owen has participated in ACA since 2012, and throughout the years he has won multiple awards—Abstract Artist of the Year (twice), a gallery contract, and a purchase award. He says the recognition he’s received from ACA has been very affirming for him.
He’s also seen first-hand how the competition has grown more competitive over the years. “Because it’s a juried process, I always like having my work evaluated in the context of other artists, so that challenges me to do better work. It forces me to up my game and continue to grow as an artist.”
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