“I had put my artwork aside for a while,” Smith wrote in an e-mail after learning her design had been chosen. “My painting for the Applaud the Artist was the first original painting I’ve done in over a year. So I want to say ‘Thank you to the Applause of The Augusta Chronicle for inspiring me to start painting again!’ ”
Judges also selected three runners-up – designs by Caren Stewart, Sharon Fausnight and James Raiford Jr.
Judge Keith Claussen, who writes The Artside column for Applause, said Smith “used her signature style (offbeat, surrealistic and gravity-defying) to pull a range of motifs and elements into a whirl of arts activity. … And there’s a nice sense of fun. Do the arts have to be serious? Of course not.”
Judge Todd Beasley, the creative director of the Morris Museum of Art, said, “There was a level of sophistication in this piece that represented the arts in Augusta in a pleasing and creative way. It was well-conceived and well-rendered.”
Alan MacTaggart, the chairman of the Department of Art at Georgia Regents University, also judged the entry as the best.
“All four of the top designs exhibited talent and panache,” MacTaggart said. “The first-place design was by far the most colorful and clearly represented all the arts through a harmonious, rich, sophisticated design.”
That was Smith’s goal.
“I wanted to come up with something that represented all the arts because that is what Applause is all about … ,” Smith explained. “The roll of sheet music obviously represents Augusta’s endless avenue of musical talent … anything from our … Augusta Symphony to one-man shows, such as our awesome Chris Hardy.
“The ballerina in the sky represents Augusta’s many facets of talented dancers and the ballerina is holding an artist palette, and dabbing a little paint on the big yellow moon to also represent our visual artists in the Augusta area.
“I couldn’t resist including the comedy and tragedy mask sculptures carved on the front of our Imperial (Theatre) where so many of our entertaining performances take place. The clock in the middle of the painting represents our timeless and never-ending talent in the Augusta area. I feel truly blessed to be included in Augusta’s artist community.”
Smith said her work is on display at OddFellows Art Gallery, 1036 Broad St., and at MargaretAnnSmith.com.