New Times to Give a Grand to Four Local Artists at Artopia on Wednesday

New Times will give away $1,000 to four artists Wednesday as part of our second-annual MasterMind Awards.

Our panel of experts picked an eclectic mix of finalists, from performance artists to filmmakers to champions of the scene. The winners will be announced at our Artopia event Wednesday, which will be headlined by Under Every Green Tree. Get more info on the event here, and read more about our 12 finalists below.

Leah Brown

a North Carolina native who lives in Fort Lauderdale, is a visual

artist concentrating in installation and sculpture. Trained at the Rhode

Island School of Design, Brown is a regular in the South Florida art

scene, building sets for the Rising Action Theatre and operating the 18

Rabbit Gallery in Fort Lauderdale. In her MasterMind application, Brown

writes: "Mythologies are created out of the intersection of singular

experience with communal superstition, and through tangibly creating

figments of folklore."

IWAN Bubble
The seven-year-old Independent Working Artist Network Bubble

is dedicated to providing artists with opportunities in South Florida

and elsewhere. IWAN takes part in ArtServe's Red Eye event and puts on

events of its own, including the Nightmare in the Park. In 2009, it

opened the Bubble, a 3,000-square-foot warehouse used for gallery shows,

live music, film, fashion shows, music video shoots, and more.

Dawn Dubriel

is, above all else, an advocate of the arts in South Florida. A

filmmaker and photographer by trade, she's best known in the arts

community for the Auteur Explosion event, which features an ecclectic

array of local bands, artists, poets, and more. She's currently an arts

graduate student at Florida Atlantic University and hopes to create

big-studio films so she can become "the female Tarantino."

Louise Erhard

collages begin by layering mixed media from print publications, cut and

posed into images from the past. The Art and Culture Center of

Hollwyood explains her work: "Her use and manipulation of common imagery

of architectural elements is intended to create visual representations

of the everyday struggle with one's ego and the desire to rise above


Sinisa Kukec
Found objects are the basis for Kukec's

sculptures, which he builds in a warehouse. Kukec was trained as a

potter, switched to fine art, and then became a specialist in turning

someone else's trash into installations and sculptures that can be both

serene and gritty. For an installation at the Art and Culture Center of

Hollywood, Kukec said of his work: "My artwork creates and inhabits a

sad and beautiful space of interpretation, that at one moment encourages

conscious critical dialogue and at another draws on its own

subconscious, intuitive logic."

Amanda Linton
Four years ago, Linton tapped

in to her creative upbringing and created Stitch Rock. It has since

grown to become South Florida's largest indie craft show, nearly

doubling in attendance every year. Linton also teamed up with the Armory

Art Center to host Art Rock, which featured 45 artists. In addition,

Linton also runs the much-loved House of Sweets cookie and cupcake

bakery and teaches a monthly StitchBird craft class.

Christina Pettersson
Born in Stockholm, Pettersson grew

up in South Florida and studied painting and sculpture at the Maryland

Institute College of Art. She works in graphite paper and creates video

and installation work and is known for her large-scale drawings and

loosely based self portraits that draw on literary themes. On her

website, Pettersson writes: "Life is such a meager substitute. You

cannot pocket it, cannot discard it."

Mark Moormann
Moormann makes

movies about Florida subjects that "deserve to have their story told."

He has worked in the film industry in South Florida for 25-plus years

and became a mentor to many young filmmakers. His work includes the

Grammy-nominated Tom Dowd & the Language of Music, HBO's Blindsided,

and For Once in My Life.

Michael "Pooch" Pucciarelli
Pucciarelli got

his start as a tattoo artist and is owner of the Altered State tattoo

studio. The self-taught artist blends a modern, almost

computer-generated look with components of traditional painting, listing

Dali and M.C. Escher as his inspirations.

Carol Prusa
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Prusa has

a degree in Biocommunication Arts from the University of Illinois and

received a Master's in Fine Art from Drake University. The South Florida

Cultural Consortium, the State of Florida, and the Howard Foundation

through Brown University have awarded her visual arts fellowships, and

her works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art | Fort

Lauderdale, the Miami Art Museum, among others.

Maciel Vargas
It's best to let Vargas write

his own bio. From his website: "Born in New York, raised by Dominicans

(I wish it were the monks) and dumped into an asylum for a degree in his

post-high school life, Vargas now resides in South Florida waiting for

ways to escape out West. While his chance looms nearer (or so he thinks)

you can catch him on Xbox LiveT, invading shows and at Crayon Clan and

Robot Shaving Cream." Well said.

Renda Writer
A poet with 11 years of experience, Writer says

that writing and reading poetry has "changed my life." It led him to a

second career publishing the local art mag WeMerge and hosting

art-themed events. "Poetry inspired me to do what I do," Writer says in

his MasterMind application, "and now I use it to inspire others to do

what they want to do."

Follow County Grind on Facebook and Twitter: @CountyGrind. Follow Eric Barton on Twitter: @ericbarton.

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Eric Barton
Contact: Eric Barton