More than 80 artists display their work at annual Frank Stick Art Show

By on February 7, 2024

Best In Show Piece "Rust Never Sleeps" by Cathy Spivey Mendola. (Photo by Mary Ellen Riddle)
Excellence Award recipient David Beal for “Tranquility” (Photo by Rudy Magallanes)
People's Choice Piece “Full Fathom Five” by Emily Holmes (Photo by Mary Ellen Riddle)
Excellence Awards recipient Judith Saunders for “ Come Fly With Me” (Photo by Mary Ellen Riddle)
Over 80 artists participated in the 46th Annual Frank Stick Memorial Art Show. (Photo courtesy of Tatum Clements/Dare Arts)
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Best In Show Piece "Rust Never Sleeps" by Cathy Spivey Mendola. (Photo by Mary Ellen Riddle)
 Excellence Award recipient David Beal for  “Tranquility” (Photo by Rudy Magallanes)
People's Choice Piece “Full Fathom Five” by Emily Holmes (Photo by Mary Ellen Riddle)
Excellence Awards  recipient Judith Saunders for “ Come Fly With Me” (Photo by Mary Ellen Riddle)
Over 80 artists participated in the 46th Annual Frank Stick Memorial Art Show. (Photo courtesy of Tatum Clements/Dare Arts)
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In honor of Frank Stick, an artist of the early 1900s with close ties to the Outer Banks, more than 80 artists are displaying work at the 46th annual Frank Stick Art Show that currently fills the upper gallery at Dare Arts in Manteo. It’s an exhibit that shines a light on Stick, who was a skilled illustrator and member of the famed Brandywine School of art with contemporaries such as N.C Wyeth, Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish.

The entrants in this celebratory gala went full throttle, sharing a broad spectrum of skills that not only speak to their creativity and discipline but to how the arts have evolved since Stick’s time.

Metalsmith artist Eric Burris from Columbia, NC has an undergraduate degree in fine arts and metal and jewelry and a master’s degree in metals and jewelry. He has been working in metal and teaching the craft for more than 20 years. He is the Metals Studio Coordinator at Pocosin Arts School of Fine Crafts in Columbia. Burris was tasked with choosing a Best in Show award, four Excellence Awards and three Honorable Mention Awards. He had to study an expansive array of artworks—clay, metal, fiber, wood and glass art plus photography, oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings and mixed media, to make his choices.

When asked what makes a work sing, he responded: “A lot of it is just my initial impression of the work, how it strikes me as far as color and movement, you know, kind of going back to the fundamentals of art and how those things affect you and make you feel.” Burris feels there must be a balance between creativity and technical skill in an award-winning work. “I might lean more technical just because maybe that’s more ingrained in my background and training, maybe more than somebody that studied painting, drawing or things like that.”

Of note is Burris’ choice for Best in Show. Cathy Spivey Mendola’s “Rust Never Sleeps” features hand stitching on eco printed fabric. Eco printing is a way to dye a surface using natural materials. Mendola printed real leaves that she dyed onto the fabric using rusty objects. Her deft handiwork and colors come together to create an intricate work of art featuring jewel-like circle patterns, leaf shapes and autumn colors.

Mendola’s process is an organic one. “Sometimes I have a general idea of what I want to create, but I prefer to just jump in and start stitching and or beading,” she says. “For ‘Rust Never Sleeps,’ I spent over one hundred hours alone doing all the hand stitching. This piece just continued to grow and morph each day into a meandering medley of stitches over layers of leaf prints and rusty patches.”

Mendola was was thrilled and surprised to win Best in Show. “It was such a great feeling to be validated as an artist, especially a textile artist,” she says. “Textile art tends to be the misunderstood stepsister of fine art.”

While Mendola’s background is in nursing she wanted to be an artist since she picked up her first crayon. She is mostly self-taught though her grandmother showed her how to embroider as a young child. “I have taken a few workshops over the years to learn some new techniques, but I have learned a lot just by making sure I carve out time to be creative every day,” she says.

Aside from the awards bestowed by Burris, a People’s Choice Award was selected at the reception held on the Friday, Feb. 2. Emily Holmes’ “Full Fathom Five” won the award by popular vote from a packed house. In the mixed media work created using acrylic paint, ink, pencil and collage, Holmes utilized strong drawing, color, and composition skills. The contemporary piece featuring an abstracted face with mouth skewing stage left is rich in originality and expression.

Holmes started creating by laying down paint to see what emerged. A face appeared with a whale floating above it. “And as I was working on it, I started thinking about Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest,” says Holmes. ‘The Tempest’ featured a magic-wielding character conjuring up a storm to agonize the survivors of a shipwreck. “It reminded me of someone that might have been stranded underwater in a storm,” says Holmes of her painting.

Burris chose winners from the broad selection of artwork touching down on multiple genres.

Excellence Awards went to David Beal for “Tranquility,” a photoreal oil painting of seashells on linen; Cyndi Goetcheus Sarfan for “Do You See Me? Will You Save Me?” a photograph of an endangered red wolf; Judith Saunders for “Come Fly With Me,” a copper woven vessel; and Alla Rossow for “Dance of the Wings,” a paper collage of two coastal birds.

Honorable Mention Awards went to Kitty Dough for “Rippin’ Snortin’ Rocket Morton,” a sculpture; Amy G. Snowden for “Night Warrior,” a watercolor; and Andy Howell for “Keepers,” acrylic on wood panel.

The exhibit will be on display through Feb. 24. While there, check out the exhibit in Dare Arts’ downstairs Vault Gallery to experience “Unsupervised,” a fascinating mix of vibrant floral paintings and jewelry by Carol Beal, a former Hallmark Cards professional designer and illustrator. Viewing the exhibit is akin to relaxing at a garden party while also experiencing a lively Mardi Gras gala. This diversity speaks to the wide range of creativity and skill Beal wields to create atmospheric pieces. She is also showing a piece in the Frank Stick exhibit that is on display through Feb. 24.


NOTE: Featured photo: Eure Best In Show Piece “Rust Never Sleeps” by Cathy Spivey Mendola. Photo courtesy of Tatum Clements/Dare Arts.

Dare Arts, 300 Queen Elizabeth Ave., Manteo, Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 252-473-5558



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