This month the Heartland Cultural Alliance Gallery has an exciting exhibit that you don’t want to miss!

On Saturday, Aug. 3, attendees got to ‘be the judge’ by voting on which photo submitted in the HCA ‘Cell Phone Photo Contest’ was their favorite.

There were 26 qualifying photos to choose from in a variety of styles and themes. Photos had to be taken by the participant with a cell phone.

Attendees browsed through the exhibit and purchased raffle tickets. They cast their votes by putting tickets in the box in front of their favorite images.

Three prizes were awarded with the raffle ticket count determining the winners. One lucky ticket was drawn from the lot. The winner received a 13x19 print of their choice from the photo entries.

Merritt Wiley, who belongs to a local photography club, explained the locations seen in his two entries.

“Sunrise on the Outer Banks was taken in Rodanthe, North Carolina, population 271, a very small town. My daughter and son-in-law are two of the 271.

“Cape Disappointment is in Washington State. It’s where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean. Back in the 1700’s a vessel tried to get into the cape and spent a week trying. Because the journey couldn’t be completed, it was named Cape Disappointment. Another interesting fact is that just around the corner in the photo is a Coast Guard station where they teach heavy water handling. With the onshore winds and high tides it makes it the roughest water in the U.S.”

Roger Beauman explained his interesting photo, titled “Space X Launch.” “This was taken during the Space X Launch at about 5 a.m. with the sun just coming in. The stages were beginning to separate and the sun illuminated the gases.”

Felix Pizzaro, who says he is called the ‘black artist,’ showed his photo, titled “”Autumn Leaves.” “This photo was taken in the area behind the Aldi store off U.S. 27. I just love the colors.”

His other submission was titled “Coquina Beach” which was taken up in the Florida Panhandle.

Many interesting photos were on display, showing off the amazing talent in Highlands County. A photo by Judy Nicewicz, titled “Day at the Beach,” showed a tranquil beach scene with a wheelchair in the middle of the sand. There were no wheel marks or foot prints. It had people asking, “how did it get there?”

This contest was a special fundraiser for the HCA, so ballet box stuffing was encouraged and appreciated.

The winners were as follows: first place – Stephanie Toole ($100), second place — Theresa Biedler ($60) and Honorable Mention – Merritt Wiley.

As with all of their artist receptions, there was no charge for admission and refreshments were offered to gallery browsers.

The HCA Gallery is on the second floor of the Peter Powell Roberts Museum of Art and Cultural Center at 310 W. Main St. in Avon Park. The photography exhibit will be on display through the month of August.

The hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call the gallery at 863-453-4531.

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