Annual painting contest raises $14,500 for the Art Center of Burlington

Oh brother, where’s the art?

The annual celebrity brush battle went off without a hitch again at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium last Friday, and a sold-out dinner crowd partied and dined watching five local legends try their hand at replicating paintings from famous artists, all to raise funds for the Burlington Art Center.

“We can only do this because of our amazing Board of Directors, my hard-working staff, our army of volunteers, and this community, who continue to make sure ‘art shows up’ in Burlington.” , said ACB Director Elizabeth Pappas. November 18 event.

What it was

This year’s theme, Pop Art, was revealed to the artists minutes before the painting began, and each team of artist-coaches chose a well-known painting to imitate. Each celebrity painted a 20 x 24 inch canvas on stage in front of a live audience.


The food was good and plentiful – a Bent River and Broadway collaboration featured shredded pork street tacos with pico de gallo, cilantro and lime curd; bratwurst sliders with kraut and mustard IPA; Polish sausage skewers loaded with peppers and onions and served with IPA mustard and Buffalo or Asian chicken wings.

Everyone in attendance had access to a full bar in the lobby, manned by the invincible David Kroll, assistant manager of Burlington Riverfront Entertainment.

The fighters

The teams were Alec Cornick with coach Jeri Sparks, Jason Hutcheson guided by David Garrison, Kim Staub trained by Janet Hachmeister, Mike McCoy groomed by his granddaughter Norah Bell, and Mike Ripple, who was his worst critic, even with the expert help from Jessica Kirby.

And that’s the order in which they finished auctioning off their fine art efforts.

The evening began with music by Eric Pettit Lion; the band provided excellent background music to watch the performers in, with near-perfect sound reinforcement, smooth vocals, and very flavorful steel guitar from Chris Robbins.

Pappas came to introduce emcee KC Fleming, and it was time to parade the artistic teams on stage.

McCoy came dressed as a gangster in pinstripes, a white hat and a red tie. “The gangster” was his nickname.

Ripple tagged himself “Royale with cheese” in a black wig, looking a bit like John Travolta with a nasty hangover.

Cornick as “Flip-Flop” paraded in his slide-on flip-flops to Blue Swede’s “ooga-chukka” version of BJ Thomas’ hit, “Hooked on a Feeling.”

Staub’s team was “Iowa vs. Illinois” with Staub in a Hawkeye sweater and Coach Hachmeister in Illini colors.

Jason Hutcheson was dressed as ringmaster Ringling, about his catchphrase, “The Great Showman”, with David Garrison ensnared as the lion tamer from a Warhol nightmare.

The battle

And the paint throwing began. Artists squinted and twisted and drank wine and smeared and smeared. The public celebrated.

Art hanging on stage included Andy Warhol’s psychedelic Marilyn Monroe, a shaky image of Keith Haring, and a cartoon panel by an unknown Burlington Mafia artist.

Fleming auctioned off a blindfold that Great River Heath Foundation executive director Jason Hutcheson had to wear for five minutes while painting.

“This is awful, this is awful. I’m not an artist,” Ripple mumbled as he stared sadly at his efforts to replicate the same painting Cornick pulled out with ease.

Fleming scored $100 from a patron who wanted Ripple pro Jessica Kirby to assist McCoy for five minutes. Then, former ACB manager Tammy McCoy paid $250 to have her friend Vivian Anderson comb with her favorite artist team, Staub and Hachmeister.

“I majored in graphic design,” Anderson said. “I had no idea what she was drawing, then she showed me a picture on her phone.”

The Hawk Eye was unaware of this image.

McCoy’s trainer, granddaughter Norah Bell, smiled when someone asked her about Grandpa’s chances of winning with her rendition of Andy Warhol’s classic Marilyn Monroe.

“He’s got a little chance here,” Bell said with a laugh. “I hope he gets third place. I’m aiming for third place.”

As real estate maven Kim Staub worked on her rendition of…whatever, an observer asked her how painting in front of a crowd versus selling houses.

“It’s much harder because I don’t know what I’m doing here, and at least I know what I’m doing when I’m selling a house,” she said with a wry laugh.

Dao Lim, originally from Malaysia, an engineer with the Winegard Company, moved to Burlington a few years ago. Someone asked Lim if there was something like the battle of celebrities in Malaysia.

“No, it’s very unique. I’ve never seen an event like this before. It’s all very laid back,” he said, then admitted he had a favorite artist on stage.

“I think Jason is secretly an artist,” Lim said with a chuckle.

Just before the auction, last year’s winner, Dr. Michael AbouAssaly, gave his experienced family’s opinion.

“Jason’s art is fair, but I think he finished a little too soon,” AbouAssaly said, his tongue clearly distended his cheek. “He needs to go back, re-examine, do some touch-ups.”

AbouAssaly said whoever bought Hutcheson’s painting might want to bring him in later and do a little renovation.

“It just needs a little tweaking, but overall it’s a good effort,” he scowled.

Someone asked the good doctor to criticize McCoy, the hospital’s new CEO.

“It’s apples to oranges, a whole different style of art, really,” AbouAssaly said. “Overall well done…before he was a fellow doctor, but now he’s my boss, so I have to say I like his painting the most.”

AbouAssaly said he admired Hutcheson’s confidence.

“I was up there, like I was shaking, and you’re like, ‘OK, that’s it; drop the brush,’” he told Hutcheson.

“But you can’t do anything else!” Hutcheson opposed it. “Every time I hit it, I messed it up. So we just have to call it good.”

The two men stood in the middle of the Auditorium, and as they looked at Hutcheson’s painting on the stage, the artist suggested that it was best for people to look at it from that vantage point.

“If you get too close, we have nose problems and chin problems,” Hutcheson said. “But from a distance, with people standing in front, it doesn’t look too bad.”

“From 200 feet away, it looks perfect,” agreed AbouAssaly.


The painting stopped after two hours and the artists began auctioning off their masterpieces. Ripple handed out prizes including Bees Bucks and his psycho-Travolta wig, then told the public his painting was a donut.

“It’s not barbell weights by a sportsman,” he said.

At the end of the auction, the Cornick-Sparks team won the bacon with the highest bid: $5,100.

“It’s always a fun event to attend; it was more fun to participate,” Cornick said later. “I had a great time. More importantly, it was an amazing night for the Art Center. Congratulations to them for making this event such a success.”

Hutcheson-Garrison came in second at $3,400, Staub-Hachmeister third at $3,000, McCoy-Bell followed with $2,000 and Ripple-Kirby came last – but still raised money for the Center d art with a whopping thousand dollar offer.

Curiously, only Ripple’s masterpiece will be on display at the Art Center this week, as the other four shoppers fled with their goodies.

“They all took their paints! I only have the Ripple paint!” Pappas lamented.

McCoy called the event a great crowd for a great cause.

“I had so much fun painting for the first time, under the guidance of my artist granddaughter,” he said before thanking Pappas and BRE Kroll bosses and executive director Mike O’Neil. “Elizabeth, Mike, David and their teams did a great job, and I appreciated the opportunity to embarrass myself while having fun doing it.”

Pappas said she and her staff were “completely blown away by the overwhelming support from this great community.”

“Celebs and entertainers brought in their A-games and knocked them out of the park,” Pappas said.

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