The Best of Awards - ACA 2019

The Best of Awards - ACA 2019

Art Comes Alive (ACA) is the only awards competition and exhibit that celebrates and recognizes over 200 artists at one show. It’s something we’re incredibly proud of and honored to be able to do. As we stated recently in our ACA 2019 Recap blog, we celebrated a record year with $445,000 and 101 awards to artists, and of those 101 awards, ten stand out as the Best of ACA 2019! Following is a list of these ACA awards, the very special artists who won, and some of the responses to winning their awards.


ACA Specialty Awards 

Emerging Artist of the Year

Besides wanting to celebrate artists and the work you do, ACA was founded to discover new and emerging talent. The Emerging Artist of the Year recognizes one male and female artist who are relatively new to practicing art. This year our Emerging Artists of the Year are J. Douglas and Penny Treese.

J. Douglas – Douglas’s evolution from portrait artist, commercial artist, martial artist and finally equestrian artist have given him an exciting journey. He likes to say that he cannot wait to see what he will be creating in five years because he truly feels that art is an ever-evolving study. After receiving his award, he said, “This award was such a surprise and is a beautiful highlight of my year. I am honored to be a part of this amazing show, surrounded by the amazing artists and staff that made it a magical night!”

Penny Treese has been inspired to create art since the age of five, and she says the passion to devour and craft multiple art forms is simply in her DNA. Her parents nurtured her love of art and provided her with every type of lesson from local artists throughout her youth. On the experience of winning the Emerging Artist of the Year award, Treese says, “As Litsa began reading the entry for Emerging Artist of the Year, I went into a bit of shock. She was telling MY little life story! I started shaking and felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy as she called my name and projected my painting across the 40-foot screen. It’s a moment I’ll never forget, ever.”


Summit Artist of the Year

The Summit Artist of the Year recognizes one male and female artist who are more established and have persevered and worked hard to hone their craft. This year our Summit Artists of the Year are Stephen Estrada and Carla Goldberg.

Stephen Estrada’s paintings are from places near America's coastlines, at the intersection where land meets sea and sky. His work explores nature’s forces, the changing light, the eternal movement of the sea and reflection of monumental skies. His paintings can be calming or evoke the vibrant energy of natural forces at work. On winning the Summit Artist of the Year award, Estrada says, “It’s an honor to be recognized by ACA with the Summit Artist Award. There are so many artists out there who endure to keep doing beautiful work. I feel like this award is for them too.”

Carla Goldberg says she has always known she would be an artist, and she can clearly remember when she was 4 years old begging her grandmother for art lessons after seeing Bugs Bunny dressed as a French artist standing in front of a canvas. Thankfully, her grandmother indulged her whims and took her to the YMCA, via two bus transfers, and talked the instructor into letting her join the adult painting classes. Of the award, Carla said, "I feel very honored. It's just so lovely to be recognized for the years of hard work most people haven't a clue that artists put in."


Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award, while not a capstone or end-of-career award, recognizes one male and female artist who have made creative, innovative, and outstanding career contributions, and these two award winners have shown dedication and perseverance in the overall pursuit and honing of their craft—David Michael Beck and Nava Lundy.

David Michael Beck says he has never wanted to be anything other than an artist, and that his appreciation of the visual arts started at a very young age with some innate ability and discipline. Beck says he is honored to be recognized with this award for his long career as a working artist. “Presently, I am nearing the end of my 48th year professionally. Over the years I have experienced many great successes, only to be matched by an equal number of crushing defeats.  I still have a long way to go and won’t accomplish all I would like to in my quest to be the best artist I can be, but it is the journey that is most important, not the accomplishments in life. Family and relationships with supportive friends and peers have been the fuel, all the while, fear of failure has been my copilot.  My true lifetime achievement has been that I have lived my life doing what I love most to do each day, and I will continue to do so until I am totally spent.”

Nava Lundy says she was pursuing art before she knew she was, and that it has always been her language of choice, the best way to tap into feelings and emotions that seem to have no other way of getting out. She adds that she went to bed dreaming of her next painting or working out the next steps in her current piece. Her brain is literally painting even though she may not be physically painting. Encouraged by this recognition, Nava is excited to get back to the studio and create! “Being an artist for the most part is a solitary experience but winning this award affirms that my work is resonating with other people which is the greatest joy as an artist. I am honored to be recognized in this way, and it has only fueled my desire to get back to the studio."


The International Artist of the Year Awards

Over the past ten years, we’ve seen ACA grow leaps and bounds. What began as a local competition grew nationally, and now it’s gaining in international visibility. Since we received entries from artists in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Greece, India, Jamaica, Morocco, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, and Vietnam, we decided to add two more awards, International Artist of the Year, Male and Female, and we awarded these to James Smith and Kohlene Hendrickson.


James Smith (Australia) is well known in the community for his abstract and vibrant color palette also coining the words “Big Dreams, Small City” in some of his work. His work has been inspired from conversations, moments, and feelings reflecting an urban and very unconventional style. On receiving the honor of International Artist of the Year, Smith says, “Firstly I’d like to thank ADC for selecting my artwork to be part of Art Comes Alive. This award is absolutely huge! Receiving this award has proven to me to push myself even further to see what unfolds of my art career. If I didn't have the support of my family and friends to help me pursue what I do, I wouldn't be receiving this award.”

As a small child, Kohlene Hendrickson’s (Switzerland) favorite thing was a new box of crayons. As an adult, she says she has no greater experience of pure joy than when she is creating, and she has also found great passion in teaching art. She loves encouraging the flame in others to express their creativity. On winning this award, she says, “I feel deeply honored and grateful to be selected among the MANY talented and diverse artists as INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR. ACA is an incredibly innovative and comprehensive award program designed to honor artists with both recognition and new opportunities to further their art careers. VIVA ACA!!!"


The Best of Show Awards

The Best of Show and Best of Show Runner-Up awards are the pinnacle awards of ACA, and they highlight the very best artwork submitted. This year, we awarded Best of Show to Christopher Jeffries and the Best of Show Runner-Up to Jonathan Eiten.

Best of Show - Christopher Jeffries says he thinks of his installations as snapshots of images expressing past experiences and relationships he has developed throughout his lifetime. The color palettes he chooses are intended to recapture the mood and feeling nurtured by memorable past events, and the textures, such as a unique sanded finish on the surface, leave viewers questioning the very nature of glass.

Best of Show Runner-Up - Jonathan Eiten says he is inspired to tell a story, and that antique and organic objects conjure unique memories and feelings for him. He says he finds beauty in the wear and patina of old objects and the desire to tell their story. On winning this award, Eiten says, “I was honored and encouraged to have my work recognized. It has given me greater inspiration and determination to continue creating beautiful paintings for others to enjoy!"



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