News & Press Releases
For Immediate Release

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Monday, August 14th, 2006
Annual Merit Artists Exhibit Opens August 2006
Contact:          Pam Fulcher Rockport Center for the Arts 361-729-5519 August 14, 2006

For Release


ROCKPORT, TX – The annual Merit Artist Exhibition, featuring the work of the 2006 Merit Winners and the People’s Choice Award winner from the December 2005 “Currents” show, will be on display at the Rockport Center for the Arts through September 9, 2006.  More than 100 artists, representing a vast array of media and styles, were judged by Bill FitzGibbons, a prominent sculptor and Executive Director of the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center in San Antonio.

The 2006 Merit Winners are d.l. sites, Fern Olsen, Steve Kinsey, Barbara McDowell and Mary Chriss. 

Rebecca Bridges-Rice was selected as The People’s Choice Award winner.

According to Pam Fulcher, Art Director for the Center, this award-winning show demonstrates the incredible diversity and unique talents of the participants. 

“To attempt to provide a simple overview for this show is a daunting task,” she noted.  “While each of the artists utilizes a different medium, they transcend their particular genre through their innovativeness and detail.”

With her work in collections throughout the world, d.l. sites is both guided by, and passionate about, art. 

Her medium, known as “Assémblàge, is a mix of found objects, drawing, sculpture, wood and metal work that are assembled as a personal narrative.  Having created art since before she could walk, sites began her formal art training at the Art Student’s League in New York City and has accumulated a handful of art degrees.  She resides in the Rockport area, where she finds her inspiration.

Originally from Hawaii, Olsen traveled around the world while in the U.S. Army. 

After retiring in Rockport, she was drawn into the arts and began working in a variety of media.  Completely self-taught, she has carved out a unique niche and has also been instrumental in founding The Gallery of Rockport.  Her work in this exhibition showcases her adaptation of primitive pottery techniques.  Vessels are wheel thrown, carved

when hard and burnished by hand. 

The result is sensuously beautiful and deeply complex ceramic art.


Rockport Art Center – Page 2

A construction worker, travel agent, and wedding photographer in a former life, Kinsey relinquished the tools of the trade having been driven “to a point of temporary insanity”. 

Fortunately, his interest and photographic talent were soon revived upon finding inspiration in the digital revolution.  Armed with his cameras, home made computer and a multitude of papers, printers and software programs he transforms what is captured by the camera into an envisioned image of his own expression.

McDowell’s love of art and higher education has carried through more than 60 years of her life. 

She graduated from Del Mar College in 1940 as salutatorian with an Associate in Arts and received her M.A. in Studio Art from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2003.  Through the years she has traveled, raised a family and worked as a graphic artist, while also indulging her passion for watercolor.  She has exhibited and been honored with awards throughout Texas.  She is a member of the South Texas Art League, Watercolor Society of South Texas and the Texas Watercolor Society.

A resident of Corpus Christi, Chriss began her art studies at Del Mar College and then attended the Museum School of Art in Boston. 

Although she has been involved in many avenues of art, she has been focusing on “shell art” for the past five years upon discovering that she could embellish existing shells.  At times her work represents the natural setting of the seashells.  Or, she may make a complete departure and use it as the expression of her own concept or idea.

Bridges-Rice’s “Jamaican Flair” original oil painting received the most votes from visitors attending the “Currents” art exhibition. 

Before moving to Rockport in 2005 to concentrate on painting full-time, Bridges-Rice worked as a professional graphic designer and won numerous awards for her work.  She studied and taught painting and classical drawing in Houston.  She is represented by various galleries and her works are in many private and corporate collections.

A non-profit organization, the Rockport Center for the Arts is dedicated to providing an environment that nurtures the expression and appreciation of art for residents and tourists alike. 

For more information on the “Merit Artist” exhibit and the Center’s offerings, please call 361-729-5519.