Arts Festival is underway, award winners announced

After a year of preparations, the Marblehead Festival of Arts has launched this morning with a 5K race, exhibits, programs and more.

The Festival’s award winners were announced — and applauded — Friday evening on the lawn at Abbot Hall. Marblehead Current Consulting Editor Kris Olson named Marblehead High School student Max Arbo as the Best in Show winner of the Literary Festival writing contest. (See the complete list of winners below.)

In presenting the Best in Show award, Olson said, “One of our fellow judges [Carla Panciera] commented ‘When you read a piece like this, you understand how important it is not only to tell your story, but also to listen to the stories of others.’ I can’t say it better than that. I’ll just add that I know this piece will stay with me for a long time, and for that I am grateful.” The Current will publish excerpts from all the Literary Festival’s winners and link to their full pieces when they are posted at

Marblehead Current Consulting Editor Kris Olson presents MHS student Max Arbo with the Best in Show award for the Literary Festival.

The Festival also announced student scholarships, including the new Bill Smalley Senior Art Scholarship for students at Essex Technical and Agricultural High School. Smalley has volunteered with the Festival for nearly 50 years.

A crowd on the Abbot Hall Lawn cheers on award winners of this year’s Marblehead Festival of Arts.

Senior Art Scholarship: Anna Bobowski
Senior Art Scholarship: Caroline Linde
Bill Smalley Senior Art Scholarship: Elinor Ferris

More than 100 people came out to cheer on the Festival’s award winners in several categories. Here is the complete list.

Adult Fiction

First Place: Sara Reish Desmond: “Small Secrets”

Second Place: Emily C. Hanlon, “At the Intersection of Love and Hate”

Honorable Mention: Norman Birnbach, “Shrine to the Cult of Joy”

Honorable Mention: Joseph Puleo, “Door in the Mist”

Honorable Mention: Tonya Walker, “Ice Water”

Adult Nonfiction

Kirsten Bassion, who oversees art exhibits at the Festival this year, announces award winners.

First Place: Paula Tully Gold, “The Little Yellow House”

Second Place: Joan Cutler, “I Ironed the Pillowcases Today”

Honorable Mention: Bob Baker, “The Jones Mobius”

Adult Poetry

First Place: Laurie Rosen, “Deep Into November I’m Not Usually This Lighthearted”

Second Place: Robert Shuman, “Migrant Angels”

Honorable Mention: Dena Gilby, “Italy Nights”

Student Fiction

First Place: Mercedes Joyce, “Steady Noises”

Second Place: Niko King, “Heal Me”

Honorable Mention: Hudson Moore, “Story of the Past; A Note from the Future”

Student Nonfiction

First Place: Max Arbo, “The Headstone with Three Names”

Second Place: Isabella Miller, “Memory Lane”

Honorable Mention: Isabella Miller, “Forgotten Treasure”

Student Poetry

First Place: Nina Johnson, “Who Am I Now”

Second Place: Anna Marsden, “My Best Friend, Lucy”

Honorable Mention: Damilola Graciella Olabisi, “Roots”

Marblehead Current Best of Show

Max Arbo, “The Headstone with Three Names”


Best of Show: Michael Kaufman, Sculpted Stool

Carol Moore Award: Kiki Taron, Kinney, Five Whales and a Shy Octopus, Three-Bowl Set

Deborah Ekholm Frost Award: Elizabeth Stubbs, Three Oranges

Honorable Mention: Joseph Petty, Turtle Tea Pot

Honorable Mention: Pat Flaherty, Confetti

Honorable Mention: Madeleine Marino, Abstract Jellyfish Bubble Vase

Outstanding Work: Andrew Carr, Gravestone

Outstanding Work: Anne Taylor, New Zealand


Best of Show: Todd Zalewski, “By-Catch: The Unwanted Fish and Other Marine Creatures Caught During Commercial Fishing for a Different Species”

Honorable Mention: Lisa Mckenna, “Talk to Me”

Outstanding Work: Gretchen Langton, “The Child”


Best of Show: Nicole Alexandrou, “Claustrophobia”

Honorable Mention: Todd Zalewski, “Shells on Devereux Beach”

Honorable Mention: Adrienne Kelliher, “Birdhouse”

Lee R. Smith Award: Linda Lea Bertrand, “Keep Up with Trends”

Outstanding Work: Teri Gambardella, “Wind Through the Pines”

Outstanding Work: Amy Hourihan, “The Fruit Lady”


Best of Show: Stephanie Verdun, “Springtime at My House”

Don Howard Award: Jack Walsh, “Just Another Butt on the Street”

Honorable Mention: Adrienne Kelliher, “Over the River”

Honorable Mention: Tammy Nohelty, “In the Beginning”

Outstanding Work: Judy Robinson-Cox, “Shangri-La”

Outstanding Work: Marc Morin, “1945”


Best of Show: Fred Callori, “Disconnected”

Edward D. Carey Award: Amy Hourihan, “Heineken and Raybans”

Honorable Mention: Brianna Berg, ”Main Street, Essex”

Honorable Mention: Barbara Naeser, “Pond Is Not Safe”

Honorable Mention: Annette Sykes, “Reflections of Marblehead I”

Honorable Mention: Nancy Brown-Birmingham, “Dusk”

Honorable Mention: Claire Donnelly, “Nun for You”

Outstanding Work: Elaine Caliri Daly, “Cathedral”

Outstanding Work: Todd Zalewski, “Marsh Wren at Nahant Thicket”



Best of Show: Kristin Horgan, “Dancing in the Dark”

Outstanding Work: Anne Roberts, “Vietnamese Grandmother”

Outstanding Work: Eyal Oren, “Layers of Smoke”

Honorable Mention: Mark Katz, “Racers Row”

Honorable Mention: Jose Calderas, “Rustic Blooms”

Honorable Mention: Jerry Wishnow, “Silhouette – Noto, Sicily”

Honorable Mention: Eyal Oren, “Salute for Glover’s Birthday”

Photojournalism Award: Anna Wolfe, “Cooling Down the Town I”

Samuel Chamberlain Award: Bryan Woodard, “Solitude”


Best of Show: Owen Taupier, “Fine Food”

Outstanding Work: Kristin Horgan, “Sólheimasandur”

Outstanding Work: Patricia Scialo, “Campobello Island”

Honorable Mention: Todd Belfbecker, “Make Way for Turkeys”

Honorable Mention: Herb Goldberg, “Backstage”


Best of Show: Sammia Atoui, “Bather”

Honorable Mention: Sammia Atoui, “Beach Walk”

Outstanding Work: Amy Hourihan, “Snags Lid”

Outstanding Work: Kate Hanlon, “Alice, Watering”


Best of Show: Jack Walsh, “The Root”

Beverly Seamans Award: James Caulfield, “Zena Waiting for the School Bus”

Honorable Mention: Michael D. Schrenko, “A Proud American”

Outstanding Work: Judy Robinson-Cox, “Picnic on Petrified Rock”

Outstanding Work: Daniel Zampino, “Lord of the Dance in Redstone”


Best of Show: Claudia Kaufman, “Grape Bunch”

Bob and Ruth Sinclair Award: Herb Goldberg, “Quiet Corner”

Honorable Mention: Ron Harrison, “Spearing Fish”

Honorable Mention: Karen Hosking, “Audubon Sanctuary Triptich”

Honorable Mention: Susan K. Burgess, “All Quiet on the Marsh”

Louise Remick Brown Award: Catherine Derosier, “Did This Poem Take a Lifetime or an Hour”

Outstanding Work: Marcia Hostetter, “Morning Light”

Outstanding Work: Eleanor Fisher, “Owl”


Best of Show: Edie Mae, “Self Portrait”

Debra and Jack Highberger Award: Jamie Halliotis, “My House”

Honorable Mention: Johra Warab, “Junior Prom”

Honorable Mention: Rachael Albert, “Sneakers”

Honorable Mention: Keliane Salem, “Inspired by Yellena James”

Honorable Mention: Charlotte Horton, “Oceanside”

Nordia Kay Award: Nate Aniello, “Ocean’s Treasure”

Outstanding Work: Angelo Knight, “A Ripple in the Ocean”

Outstanding Work: Shawn Stolartz, “Portrait Study 1”


Best of Show: Kate Hanlon, “The Meeting Spot”

Outstanding Work: Elaine Caliri Daly, “Refreshing”

Honorable Mention: Corrine Commoss-Abercrombie, “Fort Beach, Low Tide”

Honorable Mention: Susan K. Burgess, “Down the Hill, High Street”

The Current is proud to be the Festival’s Presenting Media Sponsor. Check out the Festival’s full schedule at Stay with the Current for complete coverage.

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Editor Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter.

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