More than 200 people strolled the streets, sidewalks and businesses in downtown Alexander City Oct. 5 for the inaugural Lake Martin Living Art Walk. 

Guests indulged in the talented works of 69 submitted pieces of art and photography. Lake Martin Pizza Company, Coffee Corner on Main, Emporium Wine, Fermenter’s on the Green and Ocie & Belle’s all acted as art exhibit locations. While viewing artwork on the street, guests enjoyed music by Tom Gassaway and Sylacauga’s Rocky Lucas and watched artist John Denney’s paint live on Main Street. 

Seven opportunities were available for prize money, but some artists lucked out with multiple awards. In the art portion of the contest, Dawn Thornton earned first place for her dynamic painting of fish. 

Thornton said she created the colorful piece of artwork with acrylic paint, Rain-X and WD-40. 

“I just play around,” she said.

Ralph Frohsin judged the art submissions and said Thornton’s piece just jumped out at him.

“I chose it for the composition and the unique color,” Frohsin said. “The color was the first thing that grabbed my attention.”

Second place in the art category was awarded to Denney for his intricately detailed Barn Owl painting. Frohsin said he was impressed by how realistic the owl appeared. 

Third place in art was awarded to Annie Bartol for her vibrant So Fly Me painting of fish flies. The color of Bartol’s work also intrigued Frohsin.

 “They were all good,” Frohsin said. “I commend all of them and appreciate their talents and putting in the effort of not only the painting but the framing and presentation. It’ll be interesting to see how the public votes on People’s Choice.”

Guests did have that special chance to choose their favorites by casting votes at participating stores. People’s Choice voters were asked to give a donation of their choice, along with their votes, to benefit Alexander City Theatre II’s building campaign. Bartol’s So Fly Me also was awarded the People’s Choice winner. 

Photographer Kenneth Boone, who said he used a basic method when judging, selected the winning photography in the contest. 

“I used a very simple, tried-and-true criteria to judge the winners,” Boone said. “‘What image would I want on my wall for the next 10 years?’

“A number of strong images were submitted to the Lake Martin Living Art Contest this year. Eleven made my second cut, nine my third and six my fourth cut before I narrowed it down to three images. I’d be proud to have any of these three photographs in my home permanently.”

Ambrose Canoe by Denney was awarded first place.

“The simplicity of the composition, the lack of any distraction at all, combined with strong colors of the boat itself and the near black-and-white quality of the rest of the image make this the winner,” Boone said. “It evokes peace, serenity and a true sense of the lake. This image just makes me take a deep breath and smile.”

The second-place winner was Kay Alkire Brummal for her Luminous Depths photo. Boone said the strong saturated colors; deep blacks; and sense of movement where a water drop has left concentric rings makes this image powerful.

“There’s lots to capture the eye in this image,” Boone said, “The contrast in texture between the smooth water, the rounded iron of the Robinson Iron fountain base and the highly textured foundation provide great contrast. The photographer chose to give us only a small piece of this fountain, which helps make this image almost abstract, except for the recognizable shapes of brilliantly colored fall leaves.”

Third place was awarded to Denney for his Elkahatchee Bridge Sunrise image, which Boone described as a beautiful scene of Lake Martin.

“The quality of light that the photographer captured makes this image sing,” Boone said. “Golden sunlight shining through the trees, hitting the water’s surface and bouncing up to illuminate the underside of the bridge in gold, along with the contrast between the pockets of smooth water surrounded by rugged creek-bottom rocks, makes this an image that deserves to be looked at and enjoyed time and again.”

More than 50 people attended the awards reception that kicked off just after the art walk concluded. Artwork was collected from exhibit locations and on display in the Lake Martin Area United Way conference room. There, attendees also enjoyed food and refreshments that were donated by downtown merchants. 

Emporium Wine provided complimentary wine while Carlisle’s, Lake Martin Pizza, Coffee Corner and Carib Kitchen served up hors d’oeuvres. 

Lake Martin Living editor Amy Passaretti thanked the crowd for being part of the event, and Main Street Alexander City executive director Stacey Jeffcoat presented the winners with ribbons and prizes.