Art Center Sarasota Announces Winners for “FLORIDA FLAVOR”

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Art Center Sarasota Announces Winners for


Raymond Lawler’s “Polyphobic Gardens” (What is Your Phobia?) is chosen as the first-prize winner for this year’s “Florida Flavor,” Art Center Sarasota’s annual state-wide exhibition showcasing the wide-ranging talents of Florida-based artists.

Through August 12


(Sarasota, FL) “Polyphobic Gardens” (What is Your Phobia), Raymond Lawler’s large-scale painting with three-dimensional additions, has taken first prize at Art Center Sarasota’s fourth annual “Florida Flavor,” an annual exhibition of works by Florida artists. Lawler says that the work, which is more than six feet wide and took three and half year to complete, “explores human fears and phobias.” The second prize winner is “Green Behind Studio” by Joseph Melançon. Third prize went to Dirce Kennedy for “Inside.” Merit awards were given to Jenny Medved for “Florida Girl” and Elizabeth Phillipson for “Touchstone.” Special recognition awards were presented to Helge Duemmel, Amy Ernst, Sven Mohr, Susan J. Klein, Javier Rodriguez and Robert Doyon. Honorable mention winners were Joan C. Peters, Susan Covert, Ilene Phelan, Frank Bibbins, Steve Blumenthal and Gerald Obregon. Prize winners received $1,500 for first prize; $1,000 for second prize; $500 for third prize; $250 for merit awards; and $100 for special recognitions. “Florida Flavor” is on display through August 12, at Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, in Sarasota. For more information, call 941-365-2032 or visit

“Florida Flavor” was created as an annual exhibition to showcase the wide-ranging talents of Florida-based artists, and includes two- and three-dimensional works in a variety of media. Mark Ormond juried this year’s exhibition, which was installed in all four of the center’s galleries. Ormond, the curator for exhibitions at Ringling College Galleries, says the exhibition “demonstrates that creativity is alive and well in Florida. I recently visited more than 100 galleries in New York and I can say that I’ve seen, in this exhibit, as much interesting new work by curious individuals pushing their comfort level to experiment as I saw there. This exhibition demonstrates that Florida is home

to many talented individuals.”

According to Lisa Berger, Art Center Sarasota’s director, “Florida Flavor” has earned a reputation throughout the state as a significant exhibition.

“This exhibition gives visitors a taste of the diverse artistic mediums and enormous talent throughout the state of Florida.” says Berger. She notes that the exhibition’s “off-season” timing provides cultural tourists a motive to include Sarasota in their summer vacation plans and that the exhibition’s substantial awards attract top artists from around the state. “Florida Flavor” is funded, in part, by the Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues.

For more information about Art Center Sarasota, call 941-365-2032 or visit


Photo captions:

  • First prize: “Polyphobic Gardens” (What is Your Phobia) by Raymond Lawler from Art Center Sarasota’s 2016 “Florida Flavor.”
  • Second prize: “Green Behind Studio” by Joseph Melançon from Art Center Sarasota’s 2016 “Florida Flavor.”
  • Third prize: “Inside” by Dirce Kennedy from Art Center Sarasota’s 2016 “Florida Flavor.”
  • Merit: “Florida Girl” by Jenny Medved from Art Center Sarasota’s 2016 “Florida Flavor.”


About Art Center Sarasota

Art Center Sarasota was the first arts and cultural institution in Sarasota. It was founded in 1926 as the “Sarasota Art Association” by Marcia Rader, the art supervisor for the Sarasota County schools district. In the early years, the group met monthly and sponsored exhibits in rented facilities. The Association was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1943 and has been in its current location in the Sarasota Bayfront Cultural District since 1949. Art Center Sarasota is now a membership-based organization that offers curated and juried exhibitions, adult and youth education programs, outreach initiatives for underserved youth, and culturally related public programming. Art Center Sarasota’s mission is to inspire individual creative expression, nurture artistic talent and provide the community with accessible and diverse visual art opportunities.


Art Center Sarasota

707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236

Phone: 941-365-2032 § Fax: 941-366-0585


Gallery Hours:

Free admission

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Closed Sunday

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