It was difficult to pick our three Best in Show winners this year from the deep pool of talent at the 2016 fest. We hope the awards inspire these three 2015 artists to continue their crafts and empower them to explore new horizons.

bestinshow2016_collinsBest in Show Artist – Constance Collins
Fiber/textiles: Luxury Handwoven Textiles and Accessories

Constance is a professional textile designer from Indianapolis, specializing in complex dobby weaves.  She has a Fine Arts degree in woven and constructed textiles from Indiana University, though she did not purchase her first loom until after graduation.  She has loved weaving since her first encounter.  From a young age, she has also felt destined to be an arts teacher, and she seeks to share her love of textiles with others.  We are pleased that she shared her craft with us at the fest.


bestinshow2016_oistadBest in Show Artist – William Oistad
Painting: Original Fine Art Abstractions
Oistad Arts

William’s love for drawing and art began at a young age.  He pursued a B.A. in both Studio Arts and Psychology at the State University of NY College at Oswego, followed by continued studies at Clemson University in Fine Arts.  At Clemson, he was awarded the Emerging Artist of the Year, 1995, from the Liquitex Excellence in Art Student Grant Program. This honor was juried from a pool of art students from over 120 nations around the world and carried with it a group exhibition in New York City.

Bill has since made it a priority to find studio space to continue his exploration of painting while also utilizing his attention to detail and artistic eye to become a Master Photo Retoucher. Today, Bill lives and maintains a studio in Wilmette. His studio continues to be an active venue for the meshing of life experiences and free-form creativity into a unique blend of ‘form-centric’ abstractions of color and line.


bestinshow2016_harroldandbrueckBest in Show Artists – Kate Harrold and Jason Brueck
KateHarrold and Alter Images

Kate and Jason are a husband and wife team presenting at the Fest this year.

Kate is a photographer with a BFA in Photography from Cornell University and years of experience working as an artist, photographer, retoucher and printer.  Her work is a digital collage: she photographs each element of the image and digitally manipulates and merges them together to create new and unlikely stories. She finds inspiration in buildings, characters, and single details.

Jason draws inspiration from images both past and present, light and dark, sometimes combining the two in hopes of creating an imperfect symmetry. His goal is to take the seemingly unimaginable and make it a visual reality by blurring the lines between the real and surreal, creating a story where final interpretation is open to multiple realizations.