The Judge Ben Smith Awards will begin Sunday 10/7 at 2:30 pm at the Okefenokee Heritage Center 1460 N. Augusta Ave. The awards will start at 3:00 pm. This awards program includes an opportunity to view the beautiful art from our local area, meet the artists, and have the pieces evaluated by local art judges.

“We are so grateful to feature so many brilliant artists in our area,” Executive Director Elizabeth Simpson said.

This event is free for the entire community, a great art exposure event for the entire family, and will include refreshments. Contact the Okefenokee Heritage Center for more information.


As posted in September 17, 2018

The Okefenokee Heritage Center is proud to host the 42nd annual Judge Ben Smith Art Competition. Contestants can enter 2 pieces in the categories of Painting, Graphic Design, 3-Dimensional, and Photography. This year artists of every age, professional or amateur, are welcome to attend.

Judge Smith, over his long lifetime, was an art teacher, a practicing artist, and a promoter of the arts. The art community that has developed in this region is in a large part due to his work over his lifetime.

Photo: Judge Ben Smith, Waycross, with his piece The Courthouse.

Judge Smith was a lifelong resident of Waycross. He had been drawing since he was six years old. During WWII he flew combat missions in the Eighth Air Force. He later attended Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. He also studied life and portrait painting under Bill Hendrix at the Island Art Center in St. Simons, Georgia. Later he taught life and portrait painting at the Island Art Center for ten years. For a number of years Judge Smith taught art classes at the Okefenokee Heritage Center in Waycross.

Judge Smith worked in all media- pen and ink, charcoal, oils, watercolors, tempera (casein), and pastels. He won many awards during his artistic career, including two times as “Best of Show Winner” in the Golden Isles Exhibit at St. Simons, second prize in the Sears and Roebuck Traveling Exhibition, and was a winner in the South Coast Annual Exhibition in Sarasota, Florida. His greatest interest in subject matter was painting local scenes, such as the Bluegrass Festival and local landmarks. He also enjoyed doing military paintings of the Civil War and of the Eighth Air Force. Judge Smith also enjoyed painting the abundant wildlife that is found in southeast Georgia.

Entries are due September 29th. Contact the Okefenokee Heritage Center at 912 285 4260 or email okeheritage@gmail.com for contest guidelines.

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