By Michele Benesh

The award for “Best of Show” went to Kathy Hardesty, a 3D Mixed Media artist from Rockford, at the Brodhead Chamber’s 11th annual Wildflower Art Festival.

  Despite a gray, cool day and the threat of rain, the Brodhead Chamber’s 11th annual Wildflower Art Festival, held Saturday, Aug. 13, was a huge success.

The festival was a juried fine art event that showcased the work of talented artists from around the state and region.  Artists and patrons alike expressed their appreciation for the organization and high quality of the show.

Live music by local musicians was provided all day, beginning with Ann Uresk’s group, “Break-Away Fiddle.”

From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., “Stringman” Paul Imholte, from St. Cloud, Minn., strolled the park with his wagon full of stringed instruments.

Toward the end of the show, Paul asked for any requests people might have.  Another Paul, Paul Roemer, asked for anything by the Beatles.

Imholte paused for a moment, then said he had the perfect song for the day, and proceeded to play “Here Comes the Sun.”

Much laughter ensued.

The artwork exhibited was evaluated by a panel of three highly qualified judges, all of whom hold degrees in art.  Cash awards were presented to four artists the judges chose for the excellence of their work.

The award for “Best of Show” went to Kathy Hardesty, a 3D Mixed Media artist from Rockford. She creates pieces for inside or outside the home (wind chimes, sun catchers, garden stakes) from antique glass and crystal, tastefully wrapped in copper wire.

The $200 award and ribbon were the result of achieving the highest composite score from all three judges.

Locals were especially pleased to see former longtime Brodhead High School art teacher Barb Miller of Evansville among the judges.

The judges gave Hardesty high scores on each criterion and were extremely impressed with the overall appearance of her display as well as the originality and creativity of her creations.

The three $100 “Judge’s Choice” awards went to Emily Weichbrod from Monroe, a graphics artist who creates intricate images of animals and Celtic themes, among others; Oregon duo, Gloria and Henry Horstmann, whose fused glass works take on an amazing assortment of shapes and sizes; and Dan Roth from Jefferson, who designs and executes a huge array of garden sculptures fashioned from hand-cut metal.

Congratulations to all of the talented artists who made the show possible.

Many of the exhibitors from previous festivals returned, and there were several talented new artists in attendance. Look for this event to repeat next year on Aug. 12, 2023, (save the date!) with even more great art.

Special thanks to Aimee and Brian Fish, daughters Anna and Kirsten, and Alice and Paul Roemer, whose fantastic contributions in so many areas prior to and during the show were far beyond the call of duty.

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