Debra Eiswald’s “Marion May, Savannah, GA,” for drawing/pastel. (Submitted photo)
Debra Eiswald’s “Marion May, Savannah, GA,” for drawing/pastel. (Submitted photo)

Archived Story

Old show, new faces

Published 9:58am Thursday, June 19, 2014

MAAC features fresh artists for annual competition

ST. JOSEPH—Beginning Friday, the Box Factory for the Arts will be exhibiting the entries for the Michiana Annual Arts Competition, or the “MAAC Show” as it is fondly known.

A reception will be held on that evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and at 6 p.m., awards will be presented to the winning artists. The event is free and open to the public.

“This is the twelfth year for this show, and every year it’s different,” said Ali Hansen, executive director of the Box Factory for the Arts. “Something must have happened over the winter because 50 percent of the entries came from people who are not regular faces. It makes it an exciting show!”

Hansen was thrilled to see the influx of new creative forces this spring as artists submitted their entries for the jurying process.

“We have new people, new styles, and new works of art. New pieces of sculpture, new executions, new eyes,” Hansen said. “We really have a new way of seeing things with this show.”

The entries were judged by Norwood Viviano, who judged glass, sculpture and ceramics; Kathie Johnson, who judged watercolor and drawing/pastels; Rob Gartzka, who judged painting and miscellanea; and Cat Crotchett, who judged photography.

One particularly interesting entry included several major pieces of a chess set created with a 3-D printer.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Hansen said. “You have to see it with your own eyes to believe it.”

Another piece that impressed Hansen was Kari Friestad’s painting, “Cell Phone Illumination.” That piece by the Berrien Springs-based painter won the award for Best Painting.

“The light for the painting comes from a cell phone,” Hansen explained. “It’s rather reminiscent of Caravaggio. It’s a fascinating, modern reinterpretation of the master’s work. Tradition was broken with this show!”

Mary Amador of Goshen, IN won the Best of Show Award for her piece entitled “By His Wounds.” She will receive a $1,000 award donated by the Berrien Community Foundation.

Winners in the other categories will receive $200 each, including Steven Hansen of Berrien Springs, MI, who took first prize in Ceramics with “Yellow Wonder Man.”

Debra Eiswald, of Constantine, Michigan, won Best Drawing/Pastel with “Marion May, Savannah, GA,” and Lauren Strach, of St. Joseph, MI won Best Miscellanea with “Hopscotch.”

Richard Hellyer, of Sawyer, Michigan won Best Photograph with “Simply Known as ‘The Tree,’” and Marcia Sindone, of La Porte, IN, won Best Sculpture with “Bachelor.” Barbara Balis, of Michigan City, IN took home first prize in Watercolor with” A Soul’s Journey.”

Finally, Benjamin Frank of Cassopolis, Michigan won the Young Artist Award with his piece, “Godzilla.”

Honorable Mention Awards will go to Joseph Chomyn, Mary Amador, Cindy LaFerle, Harry Ahn, Darci Young, Sean Hottois and Joan Spohrer.

Curated by Cara Garnett, the show will remain on display in all three of the Box Factory’s galleries through Aug. 2, and nearly all of the pieces are for sale.

“It’s a great opportunity for a new collector to purchase an original piece of art,” Hansen said.

More information on this event is available by calling (269) 983-3688 or by visiting

Located at 1101 Broad St., the Box Factory’s galleries are open to the public on Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

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