2020 National Art Exhibition Winners

2020 National Art Exhibition Winners

Winners of The National Art Exhibition (NAE) were announced at an Awards Reception Thursday, February 13 at the Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda. Judge Dawn Emerson presented awards and shared her remarks about why she selected each winning entry. Many of the award recipients came from Southwest Florida and surrounding areas and attended the event with family and friends. Don’t miss this prize-winning art ensemble, on display February 7 – March 25 at the Visual Arts Center.

2020 National Art Exhibition Winners:

  • MERIT AWARD: “Red Coat” by Rebecca Witter of Englewood, FL
  • MERIT AWARD: “The Chalk Artist” by Kathy Simon-McDonald of Bradenton, FL
  • MERIT AWARD: “Harmony” by Oscar Vargas of Deerfield Beach, FL
  • MERIT AWARD: “Marabou 2” by Lee Andre of Boynton Beach, FL
  • MERIT AWARD: “One Step Forward” by Cheryl Fausel of Cape Coral, FL
  • EXCELLENCE AWARD: “Local Catch” by Donna Nyzio of Beaufort, NC
  • EXCELLENCE AWARD: “L’il Fred” by Gwenneth Barth-White of Placida, FL
  • EXCELLENCE AWARD: “Reawakening” by Elizabeth Weiss of New Orleans, LA
  • BOWLES AWARD FOR PORTRAIT EXCELLENCE: “Potlatch” by Claudia Selene of Ypsilanti, MI
  • AWARD FOR ABSTRACT EXCELLENCE: “Walls and Windows” by Daniel Remmel of North Palm Beach, FL
  • THIRD PLACE: “Yin and Yang” by Sandra Kuck of Boca Raton, FL
  • SECOND PLACE: “Reflections I” by Gerard Huber of Dallas, TX
  • FIRST PLACE: “No New Friends” by Corinne Forrester of Daytona Beach, FL

The NAE is free to view during regular hours, Monday and Friday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The Visual Arts Center will also be open the following Sundays from 10:00am – 2:00pm: February 23, March 1, March 8, and March 15.

Guided Docent Tours will happen on the following dates at 1:00pm:

    • February 18
    • February 29
    • March 3
    • March 13

Poetry Night March 4, 7:00pm

Join us for an evening of art and poetry! This free event will feature readings of selected poems inspired by NAE paintings.

The Visual Arts Center Celebrates Selection as a Winn-Dixie Community Bag Program Beneficiary

The Visual Arts Center has been selected as a beneficiary of the Community Bag Program for the month of July. The Winn-Dixie Community Bag Program, which launched in February 2019, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work. The Visual Arts Center was selected as the July beneficiary of the program by store leadership at the Winn-Dixie in Port Charlotte located at 3280 Tamiami Trail.


The Visual Arts Center will receive a $1 donation every time the $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at this location during July, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.


“I was thrilled to receive the news that our busy art center would benefit from donations made through the Community Bag Program” said Stacy Calvino, Business Development Director of The Visual Arts Center. “As a not-for-profit, we delight in knowing our community appreciates and supports our mission.”


For more information on the Community Bag Program, visit seg.bags4mycause.com.


The Visual Arts Center is located at 210 Maud Street, Punta Gorda and can be reached at (941) 639-8810. Our galleries are always free and open to the public. Check out our website, www.VisualArtCenter.org for details on events, exhibits, classes, workshops and more.

The Charlotte Chorale announces $10,000 donation received from Harbor Nissan

The Charlotte Chorale is pleased to announce to be the recipient of a $10,000 donation provided by Harbor Nissan’s “Harbor Gives Back” program. The funds have been used to purchase a Steinway piano for the Charlotte Chorale’s rehearsals.

“We were so pleased and honored to have been awarded this most generous donation from Harbor Nissan,” said Janet Sims, Marketing Director for the Charlotte Chorale. The Chorale had been without a rehearsal piano since earlier this year due to a change in rehearsal venues. “A temporary portable electronic piano was being used in the interim with the hopes of purchasing a quality used professional piano sometime in the future, and winning this award was perfect timing as our rehearsals begin in October,” said Sims.

The Charlotte Chorale is a nonprofit choral organization with a current membership of approximately seventy voices under the direction of Dr. William Dederer. Three choral concerts are performed each year starting with the very popular Christmas Concert in December 2019 held at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center in Punta Gorda. Rehearsals will begin in October and the new piano will be a excellent addition to the rehearsal venue.

For more information about The Charlotte Chorale visit www.charlottechorale.com.

Comedy for a Cause: Sept. 14

Get ready for some belly laughs at the sixth annual Comedy for a Cause on Friday, Sept. 14, at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center. County Commissioner Director Chris Constance promises another hilarious evening as local business and community leaders take the stage for a night of spontaneous hilarity as they perform a series of improvisational skits. Think “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” without the network censors.

The performers, who will compete for Judges’ and People’s Choice Awards, include:

  • Sherri Dennis, editor of the Punta Gorda Herald for Adams Publishing Group
  • Jared Forma, general manager of Charlotte Stone Crabs Baseball, Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training
  • Cherie “Get R Done” George, customer relations director for the Gettel Automotive Group
  • Melanie “The Big Bopper” Markel, owner of Array of Cabinets
  • Marie Pearlingi, LMT BMC, owner of Marie Massage, LLC
  • Gary “Mayor of Vice” Wein, Vice Mayor of Punta Gorda;
  • Bob “Bad to the Bone” White, business development director for the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.

Comedy for a Cause is the Charlotte Players’ principal fundraiser. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit community theater’s many community programs, including the Charlotte County Imagination Library and Kids OnStage.

Tickets purchased in cast members’ names also go toward the People’s Choice Award. VIP dinner and show table seating is $85 with a 6 p.m. entrance, and show-only tickets are $25 with a 7:15 p.m. entrance. Both are available from any of the performers or at www.comedy4acause.net or www.charlotteplayers.org.

Due to the improvisational nature of the show, it has been rated for adults only. For more information please contact Event Chair Marie LaBrosse (941-815-6230, shellswells@gmail.com) or the Charlotte Players (941-255-1022, info@charlotteplayers.org).

Auditions for the Nutracker Ballet

Hands & Hearts for Performing Arts, Inc. is holding auditions for The Nutcracker Ballet that will be performed Dec. 15 and 16 at the Wakeman Cultural Center Theater in Port Charlotte.

Auditions for children and youth ages 8-18 for female and male dancers, acrobats/gymnasts and actors are invited to audition will be Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, from 9 am. to 2 p.m.

Auditions for professional and amateur dancers and actors ages 16 to 55+ will be Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, at 4 p.m. Female and male dancers are needed for leading dance and character roles (Cavalier, Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, Nutcracker Prince and Rat King). Adult dancers need to bring a brief resume (no headshot needed). Adult performers are also needed for the Party Scene requiring simple choreography.

Auditions will be held at the Starz Choice Dance Academy (238 Seaboard Ave, Venice, Fl 34285). Details and registration information is available at http://www.handsandheartsperformingarts.org/nutcracker-auditions.

Charlotte Harbor marine life mural

Punta Gorda Mural Society is raising funds for the Harborwalk Mural. The mural will be painted on the retaining wall under the U.S. 41 southbound bridge along the Punta Gorda Harborwalk. This walkway is used by more than 1,000 walkers and bicyclists every day (2,000 in season). It will capture our Charlotte Harbor marine life, past and present. Learn more at www.puntagordamurals.

VAC will participate in Margin & Mission Ignition 2018

The Visual Arts Center will participate in Margin & Mission Ignition 2018, an initiative of The Patterson Foundation designed to strengthen entrepreneurial capacity and increase nonprofit mission impact through the development and implementation of earned-income strategies. No Margin, No Mission, a social enterprise and national consulting firm engaged by The Patterson Foundation, will consult with the nonprofits for 30 months to develop and implement business plans for revenue-generating ventures. The five organizations participating will come together throughout the process to learn from and share with one another based on their experiences.

VAC The FUN Arts Festival

The Visual Arts Center will hold a new event, The FUN Arts Festival. Six local celebrities will be paired with six local professional artists to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art that will be on display in the Goff Gallery from October 26 to November 16. The local celebrities are Stacey Deffenbaugh-Meyer, Kim Devine, Dr. Corey Girwood, Carlton Hughes, Carmel Kisiday and Jake Williams. The revealing of pairings will be on Sept. 21 and the finale will be on Nov. 21. Many more events will be held as part of the festival.