The Neptune Festival Art & Craft Show has been recognized by Sunshine Artist Magazine as #5 of the Top 200 Fine Art & Design Shows in the country in 2019! The show features over 250 artisans displaying handmade work from paintings and sculptures, to photography and glass-work. Mosey your way through the tents and displays and find a piece of the show to bring home with you!
2021 ART & CRAFT SHOW WINNERS
An outdoor show like the Neptune Festival’s is inherently commercial: the artists are there to sell their work. Therefore, it seems unfair to demote any artist’s output simply because it is “commercial,” because that is a given. Instead, my focus as judge for the 2021 show was on craftsmanship. Simply put, craftsmanship addresses how a thing was made, whether painted canvas or lathe-turned wood. In assessing craftsmanship, I looked at the integrity, originality and authenticity of the approach and to what extent it enhanced the end result. I asked myself: are there loads of artists in the outdoor-show circuit doing similar work? Has this artist managed to rise above the norm? With those thoughts in mind, I offer my choices.
- Teresa Annas, Norfolk, VA
Jason McLeod, Charlottesville, VA (Jewelry)
“The Time Traveler 2020 Shamanic Mask”
This jeweler spent around 200 hours, much of it spent solving technical problems, as he challenged himself to create a beautiful, working face mask for the Covid-19 pandemic. That is just what we would hope for from our nation’s artists! His design fits with his oeuvre, with its faux-celestial patterns “chased” into the surface and evoking a metaphysical realm. He hammered four sections of sterling silver to achieve a mask shape, even utilizing a trailer hitch at one point in the process. Air enters the mask through protruding metal filters. The mask interior is outlined in comfortable foam-rubber seal and is lined with a blend of silk and cotton. One filter depicts the sun and its corona, a nod to the current planetary malady, the coronavirus.
Richard Wilson, Greenville, N.C. (Drawing)
“Faithful Journey,” pastel drawing
This artist has extraordinary skill as a creator of arresting images that possess a striking balance between realism and a kind of expressive impressionism. He has mastered an ability to capture a nearly photorealistic image of models he has placed and photographed in a setting contrived to communicate a story and a feeling. The figures hold your attention because they do not have to compete with the background, which is loosely drawn to just the right degree. Wilson has a touch of the illustrator Norman Rockwell in him — he has a special gift for suggesting a narrative and pulling at the heartstrings — which must be part of why he is such a popular artist on the show circuit.
Jason Benkendorf, Hopewell, VA (Wood)
Untitled bowl made from “crotch” in a holly tree
This woodworker appears deeply committed to his path as a dedicated creator of high-quality lathe-turned bowls and other items. Laudably, he has developed a network that brings him discarded trees that get recycled and made beautiful for posterity in his able hands. This particular bowl has an oval shape because is came from the crotch of a holly where two branches came off of it, creating a distinctive pattern seen in many of his works. He clearly is a patient, skilled woodworker who is able to achieve a consistent, thin wall, whereas other ‘turners might not risk ruining a piece by accidentally cutting through a thin section. In the best classic tradition, he works with the wood’s natural shape and grain.
AWARDS OF MERIT
Diane Perry, The Villages, Fla. (Wearable Art)
Hand-woven “Cocoon” jacket in an undulating twill pattern
Ms. Perry has practiced the complex craft and art of weaving on a 22-harness loom for decades. The jackets on display are all of a design she perfected over several years of trial and error. The result is a unique wrap that is easier to wear — and lighter, though warm — than a sweater, poncho or shawl. She uses a blend of natural fibers, primarily silk and rayon (which she quickly asserts is made from wood), that are soft to the touch yet durable. Like the other wraps, hers does not add visual weight to the wearer (we women are conscious of that) and would be attractive on many body types. She also has a good eye for subtle and elegant weaving patterns and color blends. The winning work, in charcoal and medium gray, was made using a particularly challenging “undulating twill” weave involving an elaborate pattern of tie-ups.
Blake Gore, Christiansburg, Va. (Drawing)
Bookstore with a man seated on floor arranging books
It might be enough that Blake Gore manages to create detailed, realistic drawings of a tree or a building, for example, within a 1- to 2-inch scale using the tiniest ink-drawing implement imaginable. Even that small, and without using a magnifier, he unleashes a delightful, slightly whimsical character to his drawings. His highly detailed bookstores are especially charming, such as the one I selected for an award of merit.
Linda Morvant, Minneapolis, Minn. (Painting)
This artist has committed to a manner of painting whereby every time she approaches a painting, she must summon the courage of her conviction. Her type of expressive painting has no fixed rules — it either rings true or false — but it possesses a history of practitioners that inspire her. Hints of Proto-Pop pioneer Robert Rauschenberg and Neo-Expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat can be discerned in her output. Yet it’s a style that cannot be faked, lest it be glaringly obvious. Morvant’s work reads as authentic, and her “Pattern” is a strong example.
Chris Gug, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (photography)
“Behavior,” from his “Aliens Collection”
Gug has been a scuba diver with a camera for nearly three decades and brings his exceptional skills to the task of capturing the wonders seen underwater. His mural-scale panoramas of candy-colored schools of fish and coral clusters are eye-popping, and make a viewer feel as though she’s peering into an aquarium. Gug insists all his images are found in the wild. Nor does he enhance color. This award goes particularly to a work from his equally arresting “Aliens Collection” — portraits of individual creatures shot at night against the black backdrop of doubly dark waters. The winning piece depicts a coiled salp colony giving a ride to an Oxycephalus amphipod. (A salp is a gelatinous, clear glob.) That he will float for hours at night peering into dark waters tells us Gug brings an oceanographer’s curiosity and passion to the task.
Carol McCreary, Kingsport, Tenn. (mixed media)
“A Measured Life”
This artist’s series of mixed-media assemblages with coded narratives was inspired by a gift of old clock cases emptied of timepieces. A fan of Joseph Cornell’s famed boxes containing arrangements of photos, dolls and other nostalgic tidbits, she tried her hand. McCreary’s boxes are similarly metaphoric and mostly touch on the theme of time. “A Measured Life” is a fine example, examining ways we are measured throughout our lives by the insertion of a ruler (size), an award (achievement) and a stack of pennies (wealth).
Click Photo Below to View the Neptune Festival Art & Craft Show Gallery
This juried art show requires pre-registration to participate, but viewing is free and open to the public.
Artists and craftsmen of original work in all media are eligible for the show, with acceptance based on a jury process. This show does not include a section for commercial or imported products. In all cases, the spirit of our guidelines intends that the work depend heavily on the "handmade" aspect of art and craft. We do not allow buy/sell and we reserve the right to remove work from the show that violates our policies and guidelines.
We will devote an area of the boardwalk to selected exhibitors who display work with the highest degree of originality, handcrafting and excellence. It will be only these exhibitors who are eligible for the cash awards. The decision of the show committee is final.
The Festival includes a commercial section that is not part of this Art and Craft Show. If you wish to apply for a space in it, please click here
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures for you, our volunteers, performers, and employees. You must follow all posted instructions while attending all Neptune Festival events.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public space where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
By attending a Neptune Festival event, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.