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Arts, Beats & Eats - Royal Oak, MI - Labor Day Weekend

Some of you may know that I used to be part of the "Art" at Arts, Beats & Eats. I came from a background of being the schlepper at the art fairs as my husband showed his work. One day when I was helping run the show I watched a fine man sweating his a__ off pushing a dolly up the street laden with his wife's art. 

How many times had I done that? That winter someone left a dolly behind at an art fair so I confiscated it, painted it gold and added "jewels." We presented the 1st "Golden Dolly Award" (plus a check) to that man. The next year it went to Mike Strailey, then Carol Weber, etc. You never heard of those folks? That's because they are the "woman behind the man."

Each winner added his/her touch and this year Nate Burch (assistant to photographer Jan Kaulins), last year's winner, did it up very well and presented it at the Artists' Breakfast to Jeff Kutno who hauls his brother's (Phil Kutno) "stuff" at the shows. 

Many thanks to all those wonderful people who help us look good. Congrats to this year's winner.

The rest of the prizewinners at Arts, Beats & Eats:

Best in Show:  Carl Crawford, Columbia, SC - Mixed Media  

1st. Place:  David Barkby, Dover, PA - Wood

2nd. Place:  Michael George, Scottsdale, AZ - Sculpture

3rd. Place:  Sidney Carter, Powder Springs, GA - Painting

5 Awards of Excellence:

1.  James Parker, Rochester Hills, MI - Photography 

2.  Don and Serena David, Cleveland, OH - Jewelry

3.  Jack Valentine, Akron, OH - Ceramics

4.  Meredith Kuntsch, Lago Vista TX - Painting 

5.  John Wayne Jackson, Black Mt. - Sculpture 

Spirit of the City:  Debbie LaPratt, Commerce Twp., MI - Ceramics

Golden Dolly (Best Helper):  James Kutno, Phil's brother, Tucson, AZ

Street Judges:  Sara Shambarger, former Director of Krasl Fine Art Show, St. Joseph, MI

George Barfield - Former Consultant from Krasl also

Jurying for a total cash amount of $7,500 spread over all categories.

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Comment by Joel Lockridge on October 29, 2015 at 12:04am

Pretty awesome.  I wish my wife would help on occasion. Y'all that have supportive spouses are lucky!

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 13, 2015 at 10:23pm

Mike is a stellar example of the artist assistant that is integral to the artist's career. Mike is also helpful to everyone around them at the shows, helps show directors also. The shows are not just about the organizers, the artists and the buyers, but we are all so dependent on all of the rest of the people who make these events work. 

Oh, the other part of the award: the helper gets the golden dolly, a check and the artist gets reinvited for the following year.

This show also hosts a volunteer thank you party with an award for the volunteer of the year.

Comment by Larry Berman on September 11, 2015 at 6:26pm

I was there the year Nancy Strailey's husband Michael won the golden dolly award.

If you take the time machine back, Michael Strailey at one time was the director of the State College show.

Larry Berman

Comment by Bill Coleman Entertainment on September 11, 2015 at 4:11pm


Comment by Peggy Crago on September 11, 2015 at 2:47pm

What a creative, fun and thoughtful idea!

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 11, 2015 at 12:04pm

Right, Judith. You probably couldn't have done it without him.

I just love this award. We ask the artists when they are checking in to nominate their helper and we  get these wonderful touching stories about how important their partner is to their careers. Its been fun to recognize them and to give them the check too! 

Jim Parker who is one of the award winners at ABE this year nominated his wife Karyn several times and she finally won it a few years ago. Each recipient signs the dolly and returns it to the show the next year to present it to the new winner. 

Comment by Judy Jones on September 11, 2015 at 11:03am

What a great idea! After 25 years of schlepping my booth display, tent, and handwoven work, my husband would have been a grand candidate for this! His support emotionally and physically has been a blessing! Too bad I am bowing, gracefully, out of doing shows. 

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