“Go With the Flow” by Chantelle Fulce

Maricopa ARTS Council kicks off its 2022-23 arts season with a new August gallery of contest-winning abstract works by Maricopa visual artists.

The gallery opens Aug. 8 at the Maricopa Library & Cultural Center.

Each painting in the exhibit won a money prize in one of MAC’s two Abstract Art contests held in 2020 and 2022 open only to Maricopa-resident artists, but with voting coming in from around the world.

The new gallery centers on the six prize-winning works from both contests. They are strong, richly-colored and emotional works with subtlety of shading and depth-of-field interest.

The winning artists are: Jenniann West, Marie Grove, Chantelle Fulce, Betsy Wager and Crystal Dennis.The exhibit also includes abstract works by MAC co-director Kaui Wilson, one of the city’s best-known artists, whose works have been featured at City Hall, in several silent auctions and who leads the popular Art & Sip evenings at The Roost.

MAC began its online Abstract Art contest in 2020, following discussions with painter Veronica Moses, who suggested the contest as a way to tap into the deep well of creativity in the city during the height of the pandemic. The first contest garnered 874 votes from 11 different countries spanning five continents – a tribute to the power of Maricopa’s artistry in large.

The 2022 online Abstract Art contest will be announced by October as a Facebook event. It is supported by a summer 2022 grant from Maricopa Friends of the Arts. Wilson will administer the contest administrator.

MAC’s upcoming 2022-23 season of events will include Poetry Slams, a special spring-time Art Gallery, 3 “Inside the Creative Mind” lectures, including on theater, visual art, poetry and an Artists Town Hall. More information on each event will be announced at a later date.

“Pot of Gold” by Jenniann West

Jenniann West: The first-prize winner of the 2020 contest has had her work exhibited in Sedona and at City Hall. She is a former MAC co-director.

Marie Grove: The first-prize winner of the 2021 contest has had her work exhibited at City Hall and elsewhere.

Chantelle Fulce: The second-prize winner in both previous contests, her art centers in Abstraction, and has been featured in various exhibits around the Phoenix metro area, including Roosevelt Row.

Betsy Wager: The third-prize winner in the 2020 contest – for her piece “Solar Gear Shift,” – have been a Maricopa resident since 2009. She specializes in free-form weaving.

Crystal Dennis: The third-prize winner in the 2021 contest is a much-admired Maricopa weaver. Her work has been featured at the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship, City Hall, in silent auctions, at Phoenix galleries and purchased for the City’s Art collection.