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Gargiulo Foundation’s Flagler Canvas Brims With More Artists, More Galleries, More Artist of the Year Nominees

| October 29, 2018

Artist of the Year nominees.

The Gargiulo Art Foundation’s Flagler County Artist of the Year nominees stand with, from left, Arlene Volpe and Tom Garguilo of GAF, and the nominees themselves, Carol Baker, Trish Vevera, Ann DeLucia, Audrey Rosen, Dex Westphal, and Carmine Giglio. (Flagler County Art League)

When the Gargiulo Art Foundation selected its first Flagler County Artist of the Year in 2000, the place was not exactly crawling with creativity. “There were very few artists and most of them were Sunday painters,” said foundation co-founder Tom Gargiulo.

“While some had some good art backgrounds, there were only so many artists who would stand out, so it was much easier to select the artist of the year,” Gargiulo said.

Not anymore.

The blossoming of the local artist community – more notable artists are living in Flagler County, Gargiulo said — has led his foundation to change its selection process for its annual honor.

In years past, the GAF and a small committee composed of past honorees selected the artist of the year, then announced the winner. This year for the first time, the GAF has publicly announced six nominees for its artist of the year: Carol Baker, Ann DeLucia, Carmine Giglio, Audrey Rosen, Trish Vevera and Dex Westphal.

The works of those six artists will be featured in the Gargiulo Art Foundation 2018 Artist of the Year Nominees Show, which are being presented in two locations: Oct. 13-Nov. 6 at the Flagler County Art League in Palm Coast, and Dec. 7-Jan. 1 at the Gallery of Local Art (GOLA) in Flagler Beach. The Art League’s reception on Oct. 13. at its City Marketplace venue drew so many people that they spilled out of the galleries. 

Two more receptions are scheduled, both at GOLA:  6-8 p.m. Friday Dec. 7 and 1-3 p.m. Sunday Dec. 9 at GOLA. The Dec. 9 reception will be held for patrons who may wish to avoid the crowds and potential parking problems during the concurrent First Friday event on Dec. 7 in Flagler Beach, Gargiulo said.  

The foundation’s artist of the year will be chosen from those six nominees by Gargiulo, his partner and GAF co-founder Arlene Volpa, and several past winners whose names the foundation keeps anonymous. The winner will be announced following the GOLA exhibition, and the honoree will be featured in a solo show at the Art League in February.

The Gargiulo foundation is introducing another twist: A People’s Choice Award for Artist of the Year will be chosen by a separate public vote at each of the two exhibitions. Thus three different artists could be honored by the GAF.

“Today we have a lot more artists in the community, so it makes it more and more difficult to select just one,” Gargiulo said. “I want people to realize that just to be nominated is an honor, like the Academy Awards. We also wanted to get more of the community involved in the selection process.”

The mechanics of people’s choice voting had not been worked out at the time Gargiulo spoke with FlaglerLive, but details will be available at GOLA once the nominees exhibition opens there. The people’s choice honoree from the FCAL show will be announced Nov. 10 at the opening reception of FCAL’s subsequent exhibition.

The artist of the year is about more than honoring someone who creates noteworthy art, Gargiulo said: “We look for artists who are not only doing good art but who are contributing to the community, supporting the community. They’re hosting art receptions. They’re hanging art shows at FCAL. All our nominees this year are active members of FCAL.”

Flagler Artists of the Year:

Gargiulo cited Rachel Thompson, who was the GAF’s Flagler County Artist of the Year in 2015.

“Rachel had her own gallery,” he said. “She had art receptions on Sundays. She was bringing in artists from outside the area, from St. Augustine. She drew a lot of people, so that stimulated more interest in the arts. And her art is good.”

Gargiulo usually speaks briefly about each of the six nominees during opening receptions, but don’t expect him to get into art criticism.

“I’m not going to talk about the art because the art speaks for itself,” he says. “I’m going to give a little background on each artist — their contributions to the community.”

Gargiulo hopes the GAF’s revamped artist of the year process also will bring more recognition to the individual artists. He noted he recently visited an artist in New Smyrna Beach who knew him only as the head of the Gargiulo Art Foundation but didn’t know he is an artist himself.

“Somehow it came up in our conversation,” he said. “I’ve been in her company, I’ve been to her gallery right next to The Hub. We knew each other but she never knew I was an artist. We had never discussed it.

“There might be people, friends and neighbors, who don’t realize Audrey Rosen or Carol Baker is an artist. So, we hope this will bring more people in and get more people involved in the arts. That’s really what we’re all about.”

FCAL’s Fall Show, an open-themed exhibition, runs currently with the GAF nominees show. On Nov. 10, the Art league opens two concurrent shows, Color Splash and First Showing, to commemorate its move into a new gallery, in units 207 and 208, still at City Marketplace. 

The next Gargiulo Art Foundation 2018 Artist of the Year Nominees Show will be held Dec. 7-Jan. 1 at the Gallery of Local Art, 208 S. Central Ave., Flagler Beach. Opening receptions will be 6-8 p.m. Friday Dec. 7 and 1-3 p.m. Sunday Dec. 9. For more information, call 386-439-6659 or go online at, or call the Gargiulo Art Foundation at 386-446-0617 or the Flagler County Art League at 386-986-4668, or go online at



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