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Local Artists Offer Oils, Watercolors, Sculpture

Vienna Arts Society hosts 33rd annual juried art show and sale.

When Nia Stratos was 8 and living in the District, she sold her first painting to Burlington Industries. That was just one highlight which fueled the Vienna resident's lifelong love of painting.

Another highlight has been having her artwork showcased in the Vienna Arts Society's 'Treasury of Art' juried art show and sale held this past weekend, Nov. 14 to 16, in Vienna.

"I express different aspects of my personality-- my mood, my love of life," said Stratos of what motivates her to paint. "I guess that's kind of corny, but that's true."

The 'Treasury of Art' show occurred that past Nov. 14 to 16 at the Vienna Community Center. Sponsored by the Vienna Arts Society, the show, in its 33rd year, featured local artists using a variety of mediums, from oil painting to sculpture to watercolor. One hundred fifty artists submitted 430 works to the show, with juror and Phillips Collection curator Stephen Bennett Phillips selecting about 170 pieces for inclusion into the show. All of the art was on sale, with 20 percent of the proceeds going to the Vienna Arts Society for a future gallery and classroom space.

"People come here because they can get something the artists touched," said Doré Skidmore, chairman of this year's art show.

Entries come from members and non-members of the Vienna Arts Society. Many are members of other area arts groups.

"It's probably the largest show in the area," said Karin Sebolka of Falls Church. Her piece, a tall painting of a 7-ft. banana tree at her home, was one of the paintings at the exhibition.

While some of the artists at the exhibition, like Sebolka, have had their artwork featured in galleries, others paint or sculpt as a hobby.

Kimberly Stein of Vienna said her painting, 'Green Umbrella,' draws from memories of her travels. The patio is from her house in Cape Cod, while the beach come from mental images and photographs of her travels to tropical islands.

"It's more of a still landscape...A snapshot of my mind of a memory or a feeling. It's really a catalog of memories," Stein said.

Several pieces in the exhibit received honorable mentions from the juror, based on the work's aesthetic as well as its sellable quality.

McLean resident Rod Nevitte was one of the artists who received an honorable mention for his painting, 'Guitar Shop.' It shows the guitars at a diagonal in order to give the painting some energy, Nevitte said. To create the guitars, Nevitte brought out his own instruments, painted pictures of them, and put them together like a collage.

"If you talk to any man in the world, he's got this fantasy of being a rock star. And this feeds into it a little," Nevitte said.

First place showing at the exhibition went to Chris Lipsey of Springfield, who created 'The Lake Braddock Purple Piranhas' as a birthday gift for his wife, Mary, an educator at Lake Braddock Secondary.

"I still can't believe it's really happening," said Lipsey of his success. He described himself as a "proverbial Sunday painter." He continued, "I guess this is my 15 minutes."

The painting features both personal symbols and school symbols, with purple piranhas swimming in an aquarium around a miniature Lake Braddock Secondary. A press box with "00" gives the year (2000) that his wife turned 50. A school bus with the number "610" gives his wife's birthday. The Purple Piranhas is the academic teaching team that Mary Lipsey had belonged to at Lake Braddock.

"It's beautiful. It's so unique," said Mary Lipsey, adding that several teachers had copies of it at the school.