And the FOCUS ’18 Winners are…
March 14, 2018 – The Wilton Bulletin just published a great article about the show! Take a read at the Wilton Bulletin website.
The FOCUS ’18 reception and awards ceremony
March 11, 2018 – The reception and awards presentation for Focus ’18, the 20th installation of the annual photography exhibit organized by the Wilton Arts Council, was held on Friday evening, March 9, at the Wilton Library.
A festive and well-attended reception recognized the work of this year’s field of 139 participating photographers with an awards presentation emceed by Focus’18 co-chairs Anne Gura and Beth Schneider. Despite Wednesday’s nor’easter the evening turned out to be a fine one for strolling the library to view the 233 photographic works on display, many of which are available for sale. In addition to those who had planned to attend, many Wilton residents still without electricity due to Wednesday’s storm stayed on past the library’s normal 6 pm Friday closing to enjoy the reception. Reception attendees were treated to hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and the music of a live jazz quartet comprised of David Arrazinni, Dennis Hyde, Martha Lind and Richard Margo.
Awards were presented (some in absentia) to the following:
Best of Show: to Julie Frank of Norwalk, CT for “Glow.”
Adult Division: first place to Rick Bannerot of Norwalk, CT for “Havana Trompe – L’oeil”; second place to Anthony Festa of New Canaan, CT for “Goblin Valley Moonset”; third place to Maritza Garzón of Norwalk, CT for “Sunset in Santorini”; fourth place to Robert Sachs of Norwalk, CT for “Festival Allepey, India”; and fifth place to Matthew Collen of Milford, CT for “Ocean City Pier.” Honorable mention awards went to Patricia Benham of Stratford, CT for “Street Magician”; Lisa Berger of Newtown, CT for “Malfunction Junction”; Maritza Garzón of Norwalk, CT for “Night in London” and Erik Landegren of Bridgewater, CT for “Sushi.”
High School Division: first place to Connor Golden of Weston, CT for “Horseman”; second place to Hannah Hirsch of Chappaqua, NY for “Polluted Democracy”; third place to Jack Cromwell of Wilton for “Majesty”; and honorable mentions to Brody Menzies of Mt. Kisco, NY for “Toledo” and Thomas Bogaev of Weston, CT for “Night Ride” and Native Man.”
Youth Division (old enough to hold a camera through eighth grade) winners were all Wilton residents: first and third place to Aidan Thornbrough for “Self-Portrait” and “Exhale”, respectively; second place to Erin Cromwell for “Naptime”; and honorable mentions to Fiona Conway for “Seven”; Ronan Conway for “Disturbing Sights”; Nate DeFeo for “NYC Rooftop at Night” and Meredith Mobyed for “South for the Winter.”
Special Photographic Certificates of Achievement were awarded to Ralph Moraio of Wilton, age 90, for his long-term commitment to the documentary art of photography and to Emma Lanaro of Wilton for her enthusiastic participation as this year’s youngest photographer.
The judges for Focus ’18 are: Sandy Gennrich of Stamford, CT, travel and landscape photographer and winner of FOCUS ’17 Best of Show; Daryl Hawk of Wilton, CT, professional photographer; and Larry Untermeyer of Westport, CT, photojournalist.
The reception was sponsored in part by Bridgewater Chocolates in Brookfield, Portofino Restaurant & Bar in Wilton, Stop & Shop of Wilton, and the Village Market in Wilton.
Sponsors for FOCUS ’18 are: Alice Snyder Real Estate, Beardsley Traveling Art Framer, Milford Photo, Photographic Solutions LLC in Norwalk, and Rockwell Art & Framing.
Since its start in the mid-1990s, the Focus series of exhibits have shown a total of 4,240 photographic works taken by area photographers from some 30 towns and cities in CT and NY. Photographers have ranged in age from five to ninety.
The Focus ’18 photography exhibit is on display at the Wilton Library through March 29th during library hours.
Focus ’18 Best of Show: Julie Frank, “Glow”
The annual FOCUS exhibits presented by the Wilton Arts Council have the distinction of being judged by a panel of three notable area photographers. Open to people of any age regardless of town of residence, they regularly attract photographers and viewers from over 25 towns and cities in our area. FOCUS ‘18, with its large field of photographers across its three divisions, is a testament to the growing interest in this powerful form that blends art/expression and reality/reportage in ways that are being tested in the digital age.
A Brief Timeline of Focus…
- Mid 1990s: The exhibit is started by local photojournalist Alex von Kleydorff, initially with two divisions: professional and amateur. The High School division is added a few years later at the request of the art teacher at Wilton High School.
- Early exhibits: initially are not scheduled for the same month each year. Put on hold when construction begins on the Library’s expansion, the exhibits are afterward rescheduled to March and the maximum size limitation for entries is removed.
- FOCUS ’07: The Youth division is introduced in memory of Lenwood Freas, a visionary former Wilton Arts Council officer who traced his start in the arts back to a community art show in his youth.
- FOCUS ‘08: The professional-vs-amateur distinction is eliminated; the March snowstorms of 2006 and 2007 trigger the move to an April 2008 time slot.
- FOCUS’ 09: The Judges’ Wall is introduced to exhibit the style of each judge’s work.
- FOCUS ‘11: The tradition begins of inviting the prior year’s Best of Show winning photographer to be on the judges’ panel.
- FOCUS ‘14: The exhibit returns to March due to recurrent scheduling conflicts in April.
- FOCUS ’17: Photographer Sandy Gennrich is awarded Best of Show for the second time, a singular accomplishment in FOCUS history; her first win was in FOCUS ‘14.
Speaking Out on Important Issues Involving the Arts
The Wilton Arts Council (WAC) is the official arts agency for the Town of Wilton. We are a membership driven organization whose priorities include broadening participation in the arts throughout Wilton and surrounding Fairfield County communities strengthening the position of the arts within the community. We are an important instrument of communication and a voice of advocacy to help the arts add value to the quality of life in our community. WAC is a non-profit, totally volunteer organization dedicated to furthering education, entertainment and enlightenment in our local area through the major art forms: Music, Dance, Theater and the Visual Arts.
- To increase the enjoyment of and participation in the arts by Wilton people of all ages.
- To encourage artistic activities of all kinds – writing, acting, crafts, painting, photography, film, music, sculpture, dance and more – for the pleasure they bring the creator as well as the beholder. Our role is not to judge art, but to nurture it.
- To foster a sense of community among the artistic and cultural organizations in our town, and among the artists who live, work, teach, show, and perform in Wilton.
- To work in harmony with the Wilton school system and the many other established organizations that have for years promoted and presented artistic efforts of great merit.
- To encourage sponsorship of and participation in artistic activities by the Wilton business community, town government and other institutions.
- To serve as a source of information and communication among all groups and individuals involved with the arts in Wilton.
- To maintain liaison with art councils and organizations on town, state and national levels.