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Outstanding Artist Season 3 Finale

As luck would have it, the Milan Art Institute, of which I am a student, recently moved to Sarasota, Florida from Athens, Georgia. I was looking for an excuse to engage with the creators of the art program that has inspired me to improve my skillset and the art community just two hours away from where I live.

I honestly have never watched a full episode of the Outstanding Artist show probably mainly because I am not a consumer of reality tv. So, it was a tad odd to attend the finale when I didn’t even know the finalists except for Tanya Aboud from Quebec.

Actually, she’s the reason I even knew about the opportunity because she posted in the Milan Art Community app that she was a finalist and asked who would be attending the show the next day. Joe and I had just spent three days in Melbourne at Derek Gores’ collage workshop but we figured “what the heck” and decided last minute to drive to the Milan Art Gallery to get a sneak peek at the contest live.

We were fortunate to pull up to a parking spot right in front of the gallery. Standing outsdie were people I recognized right away, namely Dimitra Milan, her baby Zyon, Brie Bordeauz (who was my orientation mentor to the program), and Alannah one of the administrators in the program. They were quite warm and conversational and were happy to engage with their students.

Joe and I were inspired by the fabulous artwork in the gallery. It’s one thing to see the works online but quite another to see them up-close and in person. Many of the techniques I am learning in mixed media really touched me and helped me better understand their power and beauty. I particularly enjoyed seeing works that the Milans painted as subjects in the coursework and many of Dimitra’s masterpieces that helped her skyrocket her success.

It was also really nice to chat with fellow students who lived nearby… in Boca, Palm Harbor, St. Pete etc. It was also great to hear the story of Jacques, the gallery manager who left Maui after the fires roared through Lahaina to come work for the Milan’s in Sarasota.

The finalists of OA were all from abroad. Tonya About hails from Quebec, Canada. Katrina Kolts traveled from Bologna, Italy. And Nicolette Van den Handelkamp is from Monfoort, Netherlands. All of these artists are graduates of the program, and all are fantastic artists with beautiful visions and souls.

We had to take a blood oath of secrecy, so I can’t reveal the winner until after the finale airs on May 15th, 2024.

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