Some talented artists were called to the front of the class to receive their awards during the opening reception for the Top of the recent Class A+ juried art exhibit at Northwest Florida State College South Walton campus.



A reception was held April 5 where attendees enjoyed food, drinks, and the artwork of 24 different artists who submitted 34 pieces of artwork for judging. Juror for the show was Linda Hall of Tallahassee, who is on the faculty at Florida State University. Hall selected the 34 from more than 60 submissions.



Artwork created in a variety of mediums was juried into the show and now graces the walls of the college's public rooms.



Submissions came mostly from the many artists living in Walton and Okaloosa counties, and most belong to the active local Women's Art Network.



WAN members participating in the exhibition include Susan Alfieri, Donnelle Clark, Carol Dickson, Judy DeWar, Katherine Duda, Anne Hugghins, Suzanne LeLoup-West, Sharon Long, Terry Long, Joey McKenna, Arlene Newsome, Kristina Perry, Nan Ream, Ann Welch, Nancy Williams, Sue Carol Woodley, and Mary Zahner.



And non-WAN members showing include Joanna Ellington, Emily Ellis, Vaughn Greene, Allison Hicks, Mary Hong, JoAnne Jones, and Melanie Moore.



Artists didn't know who the winners were until their names were announced the night of the opening reception.



Garnering the Grand Prize for “Solstice” was Melanie Moore of Freeport.



Allison Hicks of Bethesda, Md., earned an award of merit for her “Car Alarm.”



Josanna McKenna of Santa Rosa Beach also earned an award of merit for “Falling for Aspens.”



As did Judy Dewar of Freeport for “Big Moon Night.”



Honorary Mentions went to Vaughan Greene of Inlet Beach for “Angel Dog;” to Susan Alfieri of Inlet Beach for "Stepping Stumps;" and to Emily Ellis of Rosemary Beach for "Alligator."



This is Moore's first grand-prize win.



"I was delightfully surprised," she said of hearing her name called.  



Moore is a Walton County native and the art teacher at a Paxton School. She has considered herself an artist since 1996 when she earned her degree in art history. She has taught for the past nine years.



Moore's preferred genre is watercolor.



"I love to create an expression of art. I love watercolor because it's translucent, and I love the way it helps me express myself," she said.



She describes "Solstice" as a visionary landscape inspired by Blue Pond in the northern part of the county where her parents live.



"Solstice" is part of a series of abstract landscapes she created.



"I mostly do abstract landscapes and florals, and I use a lot of color in doing that," she said.



The colors she currently prefers are pinks and greens.



Moore began drawing at an early age, which was encouraged by her creative parents. Her father retired from teaching and is now an author.



The students she teaches at Paxton will show their work at ArtsQuest in May.



The Top of the Class A+ Art Exhibit will be on display through May 30 at NWFSC South Walton Campus off U.S. Highway 331S.



The mission of the A+ Art Committee is to showcase the work of the Cultural Arts Association member artists and to enhance the public spaces of the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College.