Regional art in competition |


Area artists showed off the best of the region in a variety of media for a plant-themed art competition hosted by a local non-profit organization.

Create Appalachia, which aims to promote art, technology and business in the region, created the Leaf & Root & Berry Botanical Art Exhibit to showcase local talent and natural abundance and beauty of our region. Dozens of Appalachian artists have shared works that celebrate this abundance in this botanical art exhibit and contest.

This year, a panel of three jurors considered works submitted by local artists from across the region.

Panelists included Judith Hammond (founder and director of What’s the Buzz Johnson City, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting pollinators and native plants), Brian Serway (Appalachian illustrator specializing in celestial creatures, landscapes of cosmic dreams and the nocturnal misdeeds of nature), and Suzanne Stryk (Appalachian artist and author, fascinated and focused on the natural world). Stryk’s recently published book, The Middle of Somewhere (Trinity University Press) marries his visual and written art.

The jurors were tasked with selecting works of visual art that show the artist’s original vision, demonstrate technical proficiency, and showcase the flora of our region.

“Every play in the show is a winner,” the jurors said. “In fact, whenever people explore the world through art, they receive the highest possible prize, the reward of what it means to be fully human.”

More than 50 works were submitted by dedicated artists.

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Annamarie Buchanan received the Best in Show award for her drawing, “A Mother’s Love: She Gave All She Had”.

Three awards of excellence were awarded. The recipients are Karlota Contreras-Koterbay (for the “Tutubi” sculpture), Morgan Gilbert (for “Psalm 81:16”) and Jacy Richardson (for “Among the Trees”).

An honorable mention went to Rebecca Pippin for “Joe’s Backyard.”

Leaf & Root & Berry also features works by Nancy Bouffard, Kristen Olinger Dalpiaz, Richard Graves, Jay Huron, Bonnie Kelley, Mary O’Neill, Kristy Ottinger, Dan Rouse, Mary Ruden, Alice Salyer and Sophia Shultz.

The public can celebrate with the performers at the awards ceremony, which will take place at the Leaf & Root & Berry Closing Reception on June 3. The reception begins at 6 p.m. at the Kingsport Center for Art and Technology at 225 W. Center St. in Kingsport.

Create Appalachia strives to make the Appalachian Highlands a better place to live and work by supporting innovation and entrepreneurship that combine art, creativity and technology. It works to support an environment that will generate new businesses, provide employment in arts and technology-based businesses, and highlight the important role that creativity plays in the region’s economic vitality.

To learn more about Create Appalachia or to sign up for our monthly newsletter, visit

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