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Watercolor Paint


The Festival Jury Committee:

Exhibitors at the Stafford Arts Festival are showing their best works for everyone to see. But they have another reason to bring their finest pieces. Each one of our exhibitors is competing for a prestigious show award to distinguish themselves amongst their talented peers.


But who are the judges? Read more about our judges and the prizes to be won below.

Connie Canby

I am currently a founding member and Art Director for Artists’ Alliance Gallery @ Jarrett Thor Gallery in Colonial Beach, VA.

Before that I opened the first Gallery of Fine Art called WideRiver Gallery in town. I promoted many artists and workshops during those years while still painting myself. In 2003 I was a founding member and later president of The Colonial Beach Artists Guild.

I grew up in downtown D. C. and attended Corcoran School of Art on a teen scholarship and Maryland School of Art and Design in Silver Spring, Md. I started teaching at NOVA (Sterling Campus) in 1980. I taught watercolor classes and was the childrens’ instructor for Loudoun Academy of the Arts, Leesburg, Va. I loved doing summer camps with young people at Shenandoah University, PAVAN Performing and Visual Arts, ARTREACH Program in Clarke County, Va. (As artist in residence.) Foxcroft School For Girls, Middleburg, VA., as well as Frederick city Kids Like Us Program.

Rita Kovach

Rita Kovach was born Rita Elizabeth Dominguez in Colon, Republic of Panama. After a carefree childhood in the tropics, she left home to attend college at Barry University in Miami, Florida. She majored in art with a minor in education and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and then attended Pratt Institute in NY and received a Master’s Degree in Art Education. After a short stint in advertising, she was drawn to the field of education and began her teaching career in the basement of a public school in Brooklyn, NY. Rita has been an artist/teacher ever since: first in New York, and in North Carolina and finally in King George, VA. She says of her career “I can’t imagine a more rewarding career than to create art and at the same time touch the lives of countless students in my classes”.

Bjorn “BJ” Egeli

Bjorn (BJ) Egeli comes from a large family of artists who are largely known for their portraiture of many famous people, but have also produced some of the finest marine and landscape paintings.

BJ’s formal art education has been via the Maryland Institute of Art (now MICA), the Art Student’s League in NYC, and the University of Maryland for art and architecture.

BJ has been active in the arts not only as a portraitist of people, but also as a seascape, landscape and animal artist. He is also the architect of many fine buildings and gardens in Maryland.

The Festival Awards:

What will the exhibitors be competing for?

The Stafford Arts Festival offers the following prizes:

Best in Show, $500 

Awards of Distinction, Up to 10 at $100
NOTE -- the number of awards are awarded at the 
discretion of the Judges 

Honorable Mention, 3 at $100 

Judges Choice, Up to 5 at $100 Each 
NOTE -- the number of awards are awarded at the 
discretion of the Judges 

Special Award -- Best First-time Artist  $50

Special Award — Selected by the Festival Volunteers, $100

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October 5th & 6th, 2024
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