Special thank you to The Alfond Inn for hosting an intimate evening with our finalists as well as our amazing judges:
Gisela Carbonell, Curator at The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College and The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at The Alfond Inn
Tiffany Sanders, CMO for JHT, Inc. and participant in a variety of art organizations including Downtown Arts District, SNAP! Orlando and United Arts
Barbara Hartley, Executive Director for Downtown Arts District
Meet the Artists
Kelly Joy Ladd – Gravitational Waves
Community: Winter Springs
Artistic Inspiration: I’m very inspired by circles because, to me, they represent infinity, the cycles of nature and connections between people. I’m also very much inspired by astronomy. While at the University of Central Florida, I studied astronomy. I like to incorporate astronomical terms and concepts in the names of my work.
Gisela Carbonell says: This is a unique piece in many ways. It is skillfully done by manipulating paper to create an undulating mosaic of fluid shapes. It is as beautiful as it is complex. We were drawn to the originality of the work and to how it invited us to touch it with our eyes. Kelly masters this technique and perfectly harmonizes the tactile aspect of the material with undeniable aesthetic quality. It was very interesting to learn how her personal experiences influenced her unique style.
Sarah Silve – Imperial Garden
Community: Downtown Orlando
Artistic Inspiration: In my painting, my inspiration begins with colors. I love how they are able to evoke emotions on their own. In this particular piece, the combination of soft and vibrant hues creates a sense of balance and calmness. The subject, Beihai Park in Beijing, is nestled right in the middle of the bustling city. To me, the lucid lake and seemingly whispering trees symbolize a quiet sanctuary, providing respite for the weary traveler. I meant the painting to be a remembrance of my trip to China.
Gisela Carbonell says: I was curious about this painting as soon as I saw it. There is a certain familiarity about landscape, yet the image drew me in and took me on an imaginary journey. I was intrigued by the story behind it. Sarah’s openness in sharing how her experiences traveling abroad motivated her to depict this moment added another layer to the piece.
Leigh Alfredson – Hot Pink Serenity
Artistic Inspiration: All the beautiful flowers at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. I drew a section of flowers from a group planted in a large pot.
Gisela Carbonell says: This piece made everyone smile. The artist’s focus on the flowers conveys a sense of joy and admiration for nature. The bright pinks and deep greens seem to vibrate off the surface and invite us into a beautiful garden. It was great to learn about Leigh’s passion for street painting and especially her years of dedication to teaching this art form.
Andreea Waters – Sebastian Inlet
Community: Winter Park
Artistic Inspiration: The beach is my fascination street. People from everywhere go to the ocean for individual reasons. It is a place to surrender to nature and strip yourself from everyday life. It is a melting pot of humanity and life, self-expression and wanderlust. Winter storms bring the best waves on the East Coast, tuning the ocean into a surf playground. That day in February, I knew it was going to be good. As a photographer, I chase the light and the surfer chases the ride. When all the elements come together, we share a perfect, flitting moment.
Gisela Carbonell says: There is so much force and energy in this image. It was hard to look away. The colors, perspective and the moment Andreea captures in this photo are unique. She takes us right to the waves to experience surfer culture and invites us to take in the entire scene. The artistic as well as the documentary angles are important here and the image offers a balanced view of nature, culture, sport, documentation and experience.
Susana Youngsteadt – Winter Park Canal
Gisela Carbonell says: This painting is an elegant and serene rendition of the Winter Park canal. The harmonious combination of colors conveys a familiar and inviting scene. I like that the artist is taking us through the canal but we don’t see what’s around the corner. There is a sense of joyful anticipation and discovery that is evoked also by the vibrant brushstrokes throughout the work.
Red (Linda Harrison) – Mosaic of Emotion
Community: Lake Mary
Artistic Inspiration: This painting was created with mostly palette knives and a couple of soft brushes to blend the edges for a smooth appearance. With its many facets of color, angles, textures, directions and light, it represents a mosaic that is life, where unplanned actions and unknown directions evolve into a complete picture. Even the colors reveal emotions: yellow represents our caution to express ourselves, orange inspires us to find life’s purpose, red is the passion to create and experience life with zest, white is purity and creative thinking, brown keeps us in touch with nature, and black represents our maturity as we age.
Gisela Carbonell says: The intense energy of the colors and the markings on the surface of this work draws the viewer in and invites them to reflect on their own emotions. Linda’s enthusiastic explanation of her artistic process guided us in considering each element in the painting. Each with equal force shows her passion for process.