Best of show

Tony Sansalone won "Best of Show" in the Mansfield Art Center's 76th annual "May Show," which opens Sunday. (Submitted photo)

MANSFIELD -- The Mansfield Art Center's 76th annual "May Show" opens Sunday, May 9, and continues through June 6.

“The first impression upon walking into the gallery spaces and seeing nearly 400 pieces of artwork lined up along the walls, others carefully arranged on the floor and even more sitting on pedestals was both exhilarating and humbling," said Michael Martell, this year's juror.

"I realized the task of selecting work from such a diverse collection would not be easy," said Martell, the owner of the Zeber-Martell Gallery in Akron.

A total of 136 Ohio artists submitted 399 pieces of art. Martell selected 178 pieces, represented by 94 artists.

Martell’s own pottery has evolved over two decades from traditional to expressive graceful pieces with contemporary form.

Jack Hickson

"An Ear-Full At The Holly Beast Feast" artwork by Jack Hickson

Mansfield Art Center Executive Director George Whitten said, “The judging was very competitive, almost overwhelming due to the huge number of pieces submitted this year. The quality of work is remarkable.”

The diversity of the show is reflected in the wide range of styles and mediums used to create complex and amazing pieces, of which 134 are two-dimensional wall pieces and 44 are 3-D pedestal pieces.

The Best of Show winner, Tony Sansalone, is a newcomer to the May Show, but has grown up in the area and is currently attending BGSU, majoring in studio art with a focus in drawing and painting.

His body of work is large scale realistic drawings of figures. Sansalone loves the large scale drawings and refers to them as “the elephants in the room.”

Sponsored by Mechanics Bank, the Mansfield Art Center announced the following award winners:

Best of Show - Tony Sansalone

Mechanics Bank Award of Excellence - Barbara Nell Morejon, Ron Lape, Benjamin Johnson and Kevin Buckland

The Margaret Twitchell Swank Award for Painting - Kevin Oswalt

The Whitten Studio Award for Ceramics - Tom Radca

Susan B. Smith Award for Fiber - Terry Hartzell

Thomas Gene Zaugg Award for Watercolor - Jack Hickson

Blick Material Awards for Innovation -Mindy Wilson Duncan, Tim Gorka and Lucas Hargis

The Sid Yellen Award for Photography - Wilhelmina Marks

Honorable Mentions - Spencer Cunningham, Christine Herman, Mary Holobaugh, Mary Jo Knoch, Cynthia C. Petry, Robyn Schaffer, Peggy Stover, Frank Susi and Heidi L. Weller

Kevin Oswalt

"Out of the Shadows" artwork by Kevin Oswalt

“A huge round of applause is well deserved for the award winners’ exceptional talent and I salute the many creative Ohio artists who make the Annual May Show a very special exhibition for our community," Whitten said.

Following CDC guidelines for COVID-19, there will not be the usual reception on opening day and masks are required.

The Mansfield Art Center is located at 700 Marion Ave. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11am-5pm; Saturday, 10am - 4pm; and Sunday 11am - 4pm. The center is closed on Mondays.

Visit the art center's website at for more information on upcoming exhibitions and classes and workshops offered.


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