An evening of art, inspiration, and positivity occurred at the Cherokee County History Center on Friday, March 15. Enjoy Cherokee Magazine partnered with History Cherokee to host an opening reception and exhibit to honor the winners of the magazine’s second annual art contest.

“History Cherokee is delighted to exhibit the winners of Enjoy Cherokee’s art contest as a great way to support arts and culture in Cherokee County,” states History Cherokee’s Kathy Lyles. Kathy proposed the idea of an exhibit and then worked with the Enjoy Cherokee team to organize the event.

Enjoy Cherokee Art Exhibit Opening / History Cherokee / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

Artists and community supporters gathered at the Cherokee County History Center for the exhibit’s opening reception. (Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

Jaye Grimes, managing editor of Enjoy Cherokee Magazine, opened the evening with a heartfelt greeting and expression of awe at the artwork submitted. “It is so important to me that the community sees us as a source of inspiration, positivity, and support, so having this opportunity to support local artists is vital,” Jaye shared following the event.

“It was such a joy to see the artists with their friends and family viewing the artwork, all of which is impressive. The pride each artist had in their accomplishment was evident, and I am thrilled that we were able to acknowledge and honor each of them through the reception and exhibit,” Kathy adds.

Artists’ Reactions

A resident of Ball Ground since September 2023, Carol Marotta entered a charcoal pencil portrait of Sioux Indian Chief Painted Horse. The retiree from Florida says she has been inspired to make art her second career, sharing, “it’s the first time I’ve won a contest.”

Jennifer Griffin, winner in two categories, calls herself “a visual storyteller. ” She gathers inspiration through nature, fantasy, and her Celtic and Native American roots to create artistic pieces. For one of her pieces, multitalented Jennifer repurposed cloth flowers, glass beads, and plastic antlers to construct a headdress. She then photographed the headdress, modeled by her daughter, at Rope Mill Park.

Enjoy Cherokee Art Exhibit Opening / History Cherokee / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

Jennifer Griffin’s artwork on display as part of the exhibit. (Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

Karen Sasine, Alternative Media winner, uses smalti—hand-made glass tiles from Italy and Mexico—to create her art. Karen revealed the inspiration for her winning piece came from Gibbs Gardens. “I love to go there because it’s quiet, peaceful, and it’s a place where I can restore,” she says.

Alexis Richardson received honorable mention for her oil portrait of entertainer Lenny Kravitz, whom she admires. A junior at Etowah High School, Alexis sees the contest as a means of acknowledgement and encouragement to continue in art.

Camille Baker received the highest overall score in the contest. Camille relates that she entered the contest on a whim. “I was quite surprised when I got the news that I had won,” she says with a laugh. Camille, a homeschooled junior, say she plans to pursue art as much as she can because of the contest.

Enjoy Cherokee Art Exhibit Opening / History Cherokee / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

Camille Baker accepts a bouquet and certificate of recognition in honor of her accomplishment. (Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

Judges’ Reactions

Harvee White, History Cherokee’s education and programs manager, says she agreed to be a judge in the contest because “art brings people together.” Her wow factor was in seeing how diverse the art was: “From mosaics to digital art to paintings, it was fun to see the talent people have.”

Kristin Norton Green, Canton’s theatre events and facilities director, agrees. “Art makes a community vibrant, celebrates diversity, and promotes unity. The popularity of the art contest and the exhibit show how hungry Cherokee County is for the arts. It feels like a renaissance!” she declares.

The artwork will remain on exhibit through Sunday, April 14, during the history center’s regular business hours.

Enjoy Cherokee Art Exhibit Opening / History Cherokee / Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng, Digital Content Specialist, City of Canton

The artwork is displayed in the history center’s Ken White Main Hall. (Photo Credit: Jacky Cheng/City of Canton)

 

 

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