by Arnie Fenner

The dust is starting to settle on Spectrum Fantastic Live Art 4. I still have to collect my thoughts and figure out what went well and what could be improved upon (lots, I know), but I think it was another step forward. We definitely could not have done it without a bevy of excellent volunteers and our staff: Carl Anderson, Amanda Banion, Lazarus Potter, Jeff Smith, and our show manager Shena Wolf.

A highlight of the show was the Spectrum 22 awards ceremony at the Folly Theater (our first time there) and the unveiling of the new awards sculpted by Kristine and Colin Poole. You can see some pix here to see just how classically beautiful—and big—they are, but I’d encourage to hit this link to read about how they came about and watch a short video about their creation.

The Pooles also came up with the idea of presenting a Rising Star Award to a young artist exhibiting at the show. Since Dan dos Santos had been responsible for a “Rising Star” booth at the last several SFALs, I asked him to join Kristine, Colin, John Fleskes, my wife Cathy and me in hunting the floor first thing and identifying candidates for this award of encouragement. Here’s the background info that Flesk Publications put together to explain the who and what.

Above: The Spectrum 22 Awards. The Silver Awards are bronze with a silver nitrate patina. This creates the luster of silver while still being decidedly a bronze. The flame of creation is cast in sterling silver. The Gold Awards are bronze with a golden patina. The flame of creation is sterling silver gilded in 24K gold. The Grand Master Award (center) has additional figures representing recipient Scott Gustafson’s art. Around the base of the sculpture, inscribed text alludes to ancient cuneiform writing pressed into clay tablets and features the artists’ invocation to the Muse: “Sing within me Muse, Dwell in my imagination, Inspire me to bring forth my creations.” The awards sit on a marble base.

Fantastic Art is proud to announce the introduction of the Rising Star Award to
the Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony. This award will recognize and acknowledge an
emerging artist who demonstrates exceptional abilities and dedication in the
fantastic art arena.
The origins of this new award began
with the arrival of Colin and Kristine Poole at the 2014 Spectrum Fantastic Art
Live (SFAL) event. “Last year, at our first SFAL, we had the pleasure of
spending hours perusing the artists’ creations,” begins Colin and
Kristine. “Not surprisingly, we found the work of the big name artists
inspiring and beautiful. What we also found notably impressive and particularly
striking was the work in the ‘Artists Alley.’ These emerging artists are producing
works of truly remarkable merit, creating their own ways of putting the
fabulous into Fantastic Art. 
energy, spirit, creativity, talent and determination we experienced in our
interactions with these emerging artists were so inspiring that we wished for
their accomplishments and contributions to be recognized as are those of the
more established artists. After a conversation with John Fleskes, this wish was
to become a reality. We are very grateful to him for both being receptive to
our thoughts and ideas and, in particular, for refining them into a much more
effective form that led to the creation of the Rising Star Award.”
“When Colin and Kristine
approached me about the possibility of a Rising Star award to recognize a young
artist in our industry my immediate answer was a resounding ‘yes!’ shares John
Fleskes. “Each year at SFAL we walk the show floor and marvel at the new
artists who have just begun to work professionally. These are our future stars.
To open the Spectrum award ceremonies by highlighting the efforts of a unique
and fresh voice is something that I am looking forward to with great
anticipation; for our youth work tirelessly to break new ground and forge the
future. Let’s show them how important they are at the Spectrum awards

Rising Star Award also intends to encourage all newcomers to stay focused on
their work and persevere through the challenges they will face in building a
career in the creative arts.
“Spectrum began with the goal of
providing recognition to the many artists often working in anonymity whose art
was overlooked because of subject matter; the intent was to help give a voice to
those who weren’t being heard,” offers Arnie and Cathy Fenner. “The
awards for the competition are extensions of the desire to both spotlight
achievement and to elevate the public’s awareness of our field, of what we do,
of who we are and what we love. Spectrum respects the past, celebrates the
present, and embraces the future; the Rising Star Award, thanks to the vision
and generosity of Kristine and Colin Poole and the enthusiastic leadership of
John Fleskes, is a wonderful expression of “embracing the future” and
will help Spectrum continue its 22-year mission of discovery, recognition, and
“We have long enjoyed acknowledging our
appreciation of people’s artwork not just verbally, but also by supporting them
to make more of it–the idea for the Rising Star Award is an extension of this,”
adds Colin and Kristine.
The nominees for the Rising Star Award
will be chosen at SFAL. All artists who are an exhibitor at Spectrum
Fantastic Art Live who have been working professionally for less than five
years and any artist who demonstrate exceptional imagination, skill and
dedication to their art will be considered. From this group of nominees, the
final award winner will be selected by Colin and Kristine Poole. This is a
remarkable opportunity for emerging artists to have their work seen and
presented to the larger community and to make valuable connections and contacts.





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The Spectrum 22 Rising Star Recipient
will receive the Rising Star bronze award created by Colin and Kristine Poole,
a one page artist feature in Spectrum 22 and a complimentary artist table
provided for the next SFAL event. This will be an annual award.

And the winner of the first award is (drum roll, please) Wylie Beckert!

Congratulations to all of the award finalists and recipients! I can hardly wait for next year!