After raising her children while working as a fiber artist, Lauren Ennist shifted her focus, changing her workspace into a portrait studio. On Saturday, the Hillsdale oil painter topped more than 100 adult visual artists for the “Best in Show” prize at the 48th annual Bergen County Art in the Park Show in Van Saun Park.
“I experience my subject through their overt actions as well as subtle nuances, veiled meanings, minor changes in facial and physical expression, gesture and breath cadence,” said Ennist ( SEE: www.laurenennist.com ). “I use this intuition to seize and codify my subject’s state of mind.”
The free show, sponsored by the Bergen County Department of Parks and Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, was made possible, in part, by funding from the NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
“This festival has offered the very best to the artists participating and the people who attended,” said Carol Messer, director of the county DCHA.
This year’s event matched the visual talent with musicianship.
There was jazz trumpeter Reggie Pittman’s quartet, including pianist Loren Daniels, bass player Mike Richmond and drummer Jonathon Peretz. Vocalist Audrey Martell was a special addition for the event.
Pittman, a Teaneck schoolteacher, has performed with jazz greats Sarah Vaughan and Branford Marsalis, as well as Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Queen Latifa. Last year, he was a featured soloist with Jack Jeffers and the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Two judges — photography educator James Edmonds of Teaneck and award-winning sculptor Natalie Frier of Harrington Park looked at five different categories. First-place artists won $150, second place $125 and third place $75.
The top finishers:
First place: Jean Karlos Cruz
Second: Peggy Stanton Chibaro
Third: Juan Ramiro Torres
First place: John Ahearn
Second: Jacob Romano
Third: James Jany
First place: Alma Peralta
Second: Shawn Dray
Third: Sigfrido H. Duarte
First place: Carl Lu
Second: Carl Blout
Third: Marge Gleisen
First place: Gwendolyn R. Moore
Second: Rich Lemonie
Third: Lisa Yodice
STORY, PHOTO by Lexy Siegel