(Columbus, OH)— Fourteen artists were honored with awards for excellence in Ohio Designer Craftsmen’s 28th annual juried members’ competition, “Best of 2011.” Opening May 1 and continuing through June 19 at the Ohio Craft Museum, the exhibition features nearly 100 works in clay, glass, metal, wood, fiber and mixed media by 66 artists. Juror Paula Owen, president of the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas, chose the work from over 300 entries by 125 artists.

“As juror for ‘The Best of 2011,’ presented by Ohio Designer Craftsmen, I was delighted to discover many works that exceeded my ‘horizon of expectation,’” noted Owen. “In these selections, you will find many works that are visually compelling and some that also express complicated ideas, such as empathy for the human condition, the nature of authenticity, or our shared existential predicament. Each is equally valid, but the range of the artist’s intentions is vast.”

“The diverse mix of materials, methods, styles and points of view in this exhibition reminds us all of our own individuality and the artist’s restless and eternal quest to express it,” she concluded.

Owen chose award winners as well: The $1000 Challenge Award for Excellence—the exhibition’s top prize—went to Bloomington, Indiana, artist Randy Long for Stacked Cluster Brooch, Gold and White Cluster Brooch, and Cluster and Gold Ball Brooch. Michael Kozumplik of Sherwood, Ohio, received the Watkins Printing Poster Award for Excellence for Will You be Staying or Will You be Flying? Five artists share the Postcard Award for Excellence this year: Scott Dooley for Teapot; Kristi Kloss, Apiculture, Precious; Pamela Pastoric, Remembering Fibula Pin; and Roberta and David Williamson, Garden of Dreams. Winners of cash awards are (name, title of work, award): James Mellick, Mug Whump and Sprout, Ed Honton Memorial Award for Excellence for Body of Work; Nicholas Althoff, Tetragon Framework, Pamela Morris Thomford Award for Excellence in Metals; Stephen Wolochowicz, Lime Spots Inflation, Red Candy Coat Inflation andTerra Accordian B. I., Jane H. Zimmerman Award for Excellence in Body of Work; Gary Engle, I Love Cleveland in the Springtime, Ruth Lantz Award for Excellence in Fiber; Barbara Delaney Keirn, Incognito,Lonsway Memorial Award for Humor in Craft; Matthew Paskiet, Murrini Plate, Labino Memorial Award for Excellence in Glass; Vanessa Graham, Rocking Bottle, Friends of Phyllis Clark Award for Excellence in Functional Ceramics; Masako Onodera, Trouble, $1000 Ohio Designer Craftsmen Scholarship Award; Sarah Ockuly, Siren, Emerging Craftsman Award.

Award winners will be honored during the exhibition’s opening reception, to be held May 1 at the Ohio Craft Museum from 1 to 4 p.m. At that time, the Ohio Designer Craftsmen Outstanding Achievement Award will be presented to Julie S. Henahan, Ohio Arts Council Executive Director, and Ken Emerick, OAC’s Individual Artist Grants and Services Director and Percent for Art Program Director, for their dedication to the field of fine craft.

After closing at the Ohio Craft Museum, the exhibition will travel to the Southern Ohio Museum, where it will be on view July 8–August 27, then on to Kent State University, where it will be shown October 11–November 11.

The Ohio Craft Museum is located at 1665 West Fifth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43212. Hours: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 1–4 p.m., during exhibitions only.  Admission and parking are free. Telephone (614) 486-4402, or see our website www.ohiocraft.org, for further information. The museum is owned and operated by Ohio Designer Craftsmen and receives ongoing funding from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council and the Columbus Foundation.