Cape Fear Studios opened its seventh annual Alpha Romeo Tango art exhibition with a reception and awards ceremony on April 21. The exhibition features works by serving and retired military personnel and their families. The exhibition will run until May 24. The exhibition opened with an audience award, with first, second and third place winners chosen by gallery visitors. State Representative John Szoka, a West Point graduate and Army veteran, announced the winners.
“As a supporter of the arts, I am delighted to have been invited to be the speaker for this special exhibition,” said Szoka. “Art can be an important activity for individuals and families of those who have served in the armed forces, as it promotes camaraderie and encourages healing throughout the community.”
The first place winner was Sandra Ross for her oil painting “Foxy”. Second place was awarded to Lani Dickey for her painting “Grace Marsh”. Third place was awarded to Annette Szczektek for her piece “Chinese Lantern”.
Alpha Romeo Tango represents the letters of the word “art” in the military phonetic alphabet, a system of words used in place of letters when communicating by radio.
“Seven years ago I was a new member of Cape Fear Studios, and they wanted to do something to showcase and showcase the work of local artists affiliated with the military,” said Steve Opet, president of the board of directors of Cape Fear Studios.
“The artwork itself doesn’t have to be military themed,” he said. “The show is open to active duty, Army Reserve, National Guard, retirees, veterans, their spouses, and all branches.”
Opet joined the military after attending art school, so he always considered himself an artist. Many people who attend the exhibit are interested in art, but he found that some use their creativity as a form of therapy to help with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Several years ago, Opet saw an entry that stuck with it. The entry was from an Army Special Forces veteran who struggled with alcoholism due to PTSD.
“His piece (was) a 3D piece: a bottle of whiskey shattered by a rifle bullet,” he said. “It represented his battle with alcoholism due to PTSD. He attributed most of his recovery to discovering his artistic abilities and being an artist.
Cape Fear Studios is a non-profit arts organization in downtown Fayetteville. They have a main gallery and retail space with paintings, photography, sculpture, pottery, woodwork and more. They also offer classes for adults and children in the community.
“As our statement says, we want to bring the arts and artistic experience to our local community. We encourage people to come and visit,” Opet said. “Some people (are) intimidated by an art gallery. You don’t have to buy (anything); we’re just happy for people to come and look at all the art.
The Alpha Romeo Tango exhibition will be open to the public until May 24. The gallery, located at 148 Maxwell St., is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. www.capeearstudios.com for more information.