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Art Slam: A Buzz of Creativity

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Five Anderson Artists Guild members were among the 15 artists who competed in the second annual Art Slam at the Anderson Arts Center on April 27: Donna O’Hara, Lori Solymosi, Shea Abramo, Kathy Moore, and Jess Stone. Moore won the Grand Prize of $50 and an upcoming solo show at the Anderson County Library.

A call had gone out for participants months before, with the final slate chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.

The artists each received a box of art supplies and had opportunities to gather a limited number more at certain times from the tables that surrounded them. These items ranged from acrylic paint, rubber bands, aluminum foil, chopsticks, foam, thread, and lace to pill bottles, buttons, and lids.

At their individual workstations, they had two hours to create a piece of art as audience members watched. A panel of three judges, who included AAG member Sara Leady from the library, then evaluated their work.

All of the mixed-media art created will be on display at some point at the library.

Here are reflections from the AAG members on their participation:

Donna O’Hara: “This was my first year participating in Art Slam. I did not know what to expect but felt the experience was a great one. Lots of friendly people sharing the same energy. I think the materials were good and stretched our imaginations within the rules of three from each source. I wished for scissors at times but did find other ways to do things. All in all, I felt that it was fun and would do it again.”

Shea Abramo: “My favorite skill set at home is cupboard shopping: making a super creative dish out of all the random ingredients in the kitchen! Well, apply art materials and this is a challenge! I like to think I work best under pressure, but I realized that countless items create countless ideas, and it was difficult for me to focus on one. However, one thing I did know I wanted to do was use the light, and I became fixated on that. Attempts one and two lost hold and broke, so in the last hour the power of improv led me to the lantern idea! Using the light as a base, I built inside of it, layering with colored plastic and sheer material, and it became this fun, dreamlike lantern with gradients of purple to blue. This is the best way to stir up my creativity!! Loved the challenge and would love to recreate this! So, so much fun!”

Lori Solymosi: “I love Kentucky Derby hats. Although I know nothing about horse racing, I love to look at the outfits worn to the event. I had also found a bird’s nest this week which always inspires me. I really wanted to respond to the materials at hand and create something that popped off the substrate. I figured if I chose a color scheme, it would hold together regardless of the outcome. I chose red and black and white with accents of yellow and green. I used some materials to stencil and print a pattern on the canvas. It was a challenge attaching everything, but it worked. I would have liked to have more time to refine the face but had a great time!”

Jess Stone: “This was my first year participating in the Art Slam event. The competition was a fun way to challenge both creativity and skill. The materials were varied enough that each individual could make unique pieces and the guidelines challenging enough to keep you on your toes. I enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the event and how you had to make quick decisions. I did not have a plan when I went into the competition. I just looked through the bins until I found materials that inspired me and went from there. I would definitely participate again next year!”

Kathy Moore: “This was my second year competing in Art Slam. The event is phenomenal on so many levels. The constant buzz in the room motivates and excites the artists as well as encourages community engagement. Art Slam promotes the arts and fosters creativity for all ages. This is what a community arts center is all about!” For more information about Art Slam, visit


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