The more than 100 artists who make up the Art Guild of the Purple Isles are buzzing. With an award and private reception on Wednesday, March 7 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Keys History & Discovery Center, the 52nd Annual Judged Members Art Show is fast approaching. The Discovery Center will display the artwork to the public every Thursday through Sunday from March 8-25 during museum hours – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and includes the discovery center.

Awards will be presented for 9 categories: oil, watercolor, acrylics, plein air, sculpture/3-D, photography, digital art, other media and pen, pencil, and pastels. This year’s show chair is Sharron O’Brien.

“The art guild is working hard with the community to make sure the Keys bounce back stronger than ever. We’ve allocated funds to those who have been impacted and affected by Hurricane Irma – all of it being raised by artists through their work,” said O’Brien. “We’ve also partnered with local businesses to keep the proceeds and funding locally and the History and Discovery Center, they are a great venue for us. Everyone has been giving extra effort this year.”

Watercolor artist Janice De Jong and plein air artist Priscilla Coote have been chosen as this year’s judges.

Graduating in 1970 with a degree in art education, De Jong was destined to inspire in the classroom. She taught at Westminster Christian School, 10 years in elementary and 22 years teaching high school art and photography. Her students have won local and national awards and grew their portfolios before reaching higher level education, thanks in large part to De Jong. After retirement, however, De Jong then became the “student” of watercolor guru Dottie Greene for 10 years. As a member of the Miami Watercolor Society, she’s chaired exhibitions for three years. As an award winning artists, De Jong was welcomed as a signature member of the Florida Watercolor Society in 2006.

Coote will be representing the Key West art scene as one of only 13 artists invited to be featured at the Fabulous Florida exhibition in Flagler Beach in March.

“I expect to see a wide variety of subjects and media, as each artist focuses his or her own interpretation, education and life experiences into a small tangible form to share with us all,” said Coote. “Fortunately, I have evolved a set of tools I always use when judging a show, which enables me to approach it with a high degree of objectivity.”

A lifelong artist, she is known for the realism in her plein air works and studio creations. She’s that good. Coote primarily uses oils watercolor, and gouache, a glue-like substance. Her ability to paint water is remarkable. Her work was recently on exhibit at Gallery on Green and has been featured in magazines, Netflix’s “Bloodline,” and on HGTV’s “Island Hunters.” She’s a Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists and experienced show judge.

To stay organized during judging, and limit bias, Coote says she’s formed a checklist over time of “universal principles” that include: composition, technical mastery of medium, and success in conveying a chosen message.

“Artists, you may feel anxiety once you have submitted your finest efforts and are awaiting the results. But you should feel at ease instead, because the ball is now in the judges’ court,” said Coote.

The show’s more than 120 original works will be on display March 8 to March 25 upstairs at the Keys History and Discovery Center located next to the Island Resort property, MM 82 ocean side. For information about the reception, show, or the Art Guild of the Purple Isles visit

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