The inaugural Lake Martin Living Art Walk saw a total of about 200 people on the streets and in and out of downtown Alexander City businesses, some of which were art exhibits while others were People’s Choice voting locations.

Guests had the opportunity to see a variety of artwork while walking downtown and inside businesses; Lake Martin Pizza Company, Coffee Corner on Main, Emporium Wine, Fermenter’s on the Green and Ocie & Belle’s were all art exhibit locations. While viewing artwork on the street, guests enjoyed music by Tom Gassaway and Rocky Lucas and witnessed expertise with live painting by artist John Denney on Main Street. 

There were seven opportunities for prize money but some artists lucked out with multiple awards. In the art portion of the contest, Dawn Thornton earned first place for her painting of fish. 

Thornton said she created the colorful piece of artwork with acrylic paint, Rain-X and WD-40. 

“I just play around,” she said of creating art.

Ralph Frohsin judged the art portion of the contest and said Thornton’s piece just jumped out at him.

“I chose it for the composition and the unique color,” Frohsin said. “The color was the first thing that grabbed my attention.”

Second place in the art category was awarded to John Denney for his "Barn Owl" painting. Frohsin said he was impressed by how realistic the painting was.

Annie Bartol was awarded third place her “So Fly Me” painting of fly fish. The color of Bartol’s work also intrigued Frohsin.

“They were all good,” Frohsin said. “I commend all of them and appreciate their talent and going to the effort of not only the painting but the framing and presentation.

“It’ll be interesting to see how the public votes (on People’s Choice).”

Guests did have that chance to choose their favorites by casting votes at participating stores including Downtown Girl, Makers Market, Shay Donna Aesthetics, Half Moon Market & Interiors, Frohsin’s, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Cloud Nine. People’s Choice voters were asked to give a donation of their choice along with their votes to benefit Alexander City Theatre II’s building campaign. Bartol’s “So Fly Me” also was awarded as the People’s Choice winner. 

The photography portion of the contest was judged by photographer Kenneth Boone, who said he used a basic method when judging. 

“I used a very simple, tried-and-true criteria to judge the winners,” Boone said. “‘What image would I want on my wall for the next 10 years?’

“A number of strong images were submitted to the Lake Martin Living Art Contest this year. Eleven made my second cut, nine my third and six my fourth cut before I narrowed it down to three images. I’d be proud to have any of these three photographs in my home permanently.”

“Ambrose Canoe” by Denny was awarded first place.

“The simplicity of the composition, the lack of any distraction at all, combined with strong colors of the boat itself and the near black-and-white quality of the rest of the image make this the winner,” Boone said. “It evokes peace, serenity and a true sense of the lake. This image just makes me take a deep breath and smile.”

The second-place winner was Kay Alkire Brummal for her “Lumnious Depths” photo. Boone said the strong saturated colors, deep blacks and sense of movement where a water drop has left concentric rings make the image powerful.

“There’s lots to capture the eye in this image,” Boone said, “the contrast in texture between the smooth water, the rounded iron of the Robinson Iron fountain base and the highly textured foundation provide great contrast. The photographer chose to give us only a small piece of this fountain which helps make this image almost abstract, except for the recognizable shapes of brilliantly colored fall leaves.”

Third place was awarded to Denney for his “Elkahatchee Bridge Sunrise” image, which Boone described as a beautiful scene of Lake Martin.

“The quality of light that the photographer captured makes this image sing,” Boone said. “Golden sunlight shining through the trees, hitting the water’s surface and bouncing up to illuminate the underside of the bridge in gold, along with the contrast between the pockets of smooth water surrounded by rugged creek-bottom rocks, makes this an image that deserves to be looked at and enjoyed time and again.”

More than 50 people attended the awards reception that kicked off just after the art walk concluded. Artwork was on display throughout the Lake Martin Area United Way conference room where guests enjoyed free food and refreshments.

Emporium Wine provided wine while hors d’oeuvres were provided by Carlisle’s, Coffee Corner on Main, Lake Martin Pizza Company and Carib Kitchen.

Lake Martin Living editor Amy Passaretti spoke and thanked the crowd for being part of the event and Main Street Alexander City executive director Stacey Jeffcoat presented the winners with ribbons and prize money.

Santana Wood is the managing editor of The Outlook.