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Area artists showed the region’s best in a variety of media for a plant-themed art competition hosted by a local nonprofit organization.

Create Appalachia, which aims to promote art, technology and business in the region, created the Leaf & Root & Berry botanical art exhibit to highlight local talent and our region’s natural abundance and beauty. Dozens of Appalachian artists shared work that celebrates that abundance in this botanical art exhibit and competition.

This year, a panel of three jurors reviewed art submitted by local artists all over the region.

Panelists included Judith Hammond (Founder & Director of What’s the Buzz Johnson City, a non-profit devoted to the protection of pollinators and native plants), Brian Serway (Appalachian illustrator specializing in celestial creatures, cosmic dreamscapes, and nature’s nocturnal mischief), and Suzanne Stryk (Appalachian fine artist and author, fascinated and focused on the natural world). Stryk’s newly published book, The Middle of Somewhere (Trinity University Press) marries her visual and her written artistry.

Jurors were instructed to select works of visual art that show the artist’s original vision, demonstrate technical skill, and highlight our region’s flora.

“Every piece in the show is a winner,” the jurors said. “In fact, any time people explore the world through art they get the best award possible, the reward of what it means to be fully human.”

More than 50 artworks were submitted by hardworking artists.

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Annamarie Buchanan was awarded Best in Show 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 sculpture, “Tutubi”), Morgan Gilbert (for “Psalm 81:16”), and Jacy Richardson (for “Among the Trees”).

Honorable Mention went to Rebecca Pippin for “Joe’s Backyard.”

Leaf & Root & Berry also features work 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 may celebrate with the artists at the awards ceremony, which will take place during Leaf & Root & Berry’s 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 combines art, creativity and technology. It works to sustain an environment that will generate new businesses, provide jobs in art-and-tech-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 www.createappalachia.org.

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