2018 theme "My Favorite Thing"

The 2018 2nd Annual Mid Mon Valley Cultural Trust's, (MMVCT) Art Competition theme was inspired by the musical "The Sound of Music" and the signature song "My Favorite Thing". The lyrics to the song are a reference to things Maria loves, such as "whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens". These are the things she selects to fill her mind with when times are bad.  Local Artists and Photographers were asked to share one of their favorite things through their art or photograph along with a paragraph to convey their vision and how it reflected a sense of your favorite thing. This year's competition included a Photography Category as well as Original Art. 

2018 Art Competition Entries 19 + Age Category

Beverly Niccolai-Winner of Judged MMVCT Award


Title:  Morning Market

Family is what I love.  Over the years when I look back the best memories are of the gatherings at the dinner table with aunts, uncles, cousins.  Holidays and Sundays, going to the store or market with my Nonny. Watching and learning from her and my grandmother and aunts.  In the Italian families and probably others, food was the center of happy times, and the Italians had a way of showing you how much they loved you by feeding you. They loved when you ate 3 plates full. Favorite memories of favorite things.

Dawn McKechnie -Honorable Mention


Title:  Precious

One of my favorite things are cats.  This is a favorite cat.  Her name is Precious.  Precious means of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.  Sadly, Precious was abandoned at an animal shelter by her owners.  Although there were other “fancier” cats available for adoption, Precious’s sweet nature made her stand apart and we adopted her.  We were graced with Precious as a companion for but four short years.  Unbeknownst to us she had a weak heart and passed unexpectedly.   I painted this picture in her memory.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sally J. Taylor-Lucchesi's Restaurant Orange Souffle Award


Title:  Buzzing the Azaleas

For the past 40+years in our home, a favorite passion of mine has been planting and enjoying my garden.  Even though our yard is very small, there are well-over 50 varieties of perennials and flowering shrubs.  Several have special meaning for me as they came from my mother’s garden years ago.  It’s likely that her love of flowers has inspired mine.

Each spring, two large azaleas put on quite a show, drawing the attention of the bumblebees.  I was pleased to get a photo of one investigating the brightly-colored blooms and recreate their visit with pastel.

Francine Herent Miceli-Honorable Mention


Title:  Dorothy, of Caesarea (Patron Saint of Florists)

Favorite thing, Art.  Trying new styles. New mediums. Combining ideas.  This is titled: Dorothy of Caesarea (Patron Saint of Florists).  I work as a florist, so when the book opened to her story,  I knew I had to paint her.  It is a combination of water color, ink and pencil.  The background drawing is Zentangle.  A meditative, repeatative drawing.  I first tried Centangle about 6 years ago.  It has helped me focus and put together ideas.  This piece combines my love of art, flowers and learning new things.

Emily Dodson


Title:  It’s a Good Feeling

When I think of my favorite things words like kindness, love, acceptance, tranquility, happiness, service and peace come to mind.  I feel that there is no one who embodies these adjectives more than Fred Rogers.  My favorite thing he said was …. “Through television we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or to cherish it in creative, imaginative ways.”  I try to keep this in my thoughts every time I paint and I hope when you look at this portrait you will get a sense of these favorite things.

David Henderson


Title:  The Heaven’s Declare

One of the things that I really enjoy doing is star gazing and this painting reminds me of God’s creation, and his peace and loving care for us. This painting shows Jesus looking t creation with satisfaction.

Donna Henderson


Title:  The Milky Way

I did this painting for my son because he has been showing a lot of interest in the universe and stars.  This is one of my favorite paintings because it reminds me of the vastness of the universe and God’s awesome creation.

Andrea Parasolick


Title:  Madonna and Child

My artwork is of a favorite person.  One who is revered by many, not just me.  Blessed Mary, Mother of Jesus, represents the importance of motherhood.  All the love, patience, and hard work that it entails.  Especially in today’s world where motherhood and the rearing of children is sometimes portrayed as being of minimal importance.  

Some of the winners at the July 1 Award Exhibit

Some of the 2018 winners attending.  July 1 Award Exhibit


Francine Herent Miceli

Dawn McKechnie

Sally J. Taylor

Eva Vogt

Lauren Rockwell

Lucciano Lopez

2018 Art Competition Entries 15-18 Age Category

Lauren Rockwell-Winner of Judged MMVCT Award


Title:  Memories

The piece of artwork that I am submitting is a drawing of a picture that was taken of my grandparents in 1951 at Kennywood Park.  I have titled this piece “Memories”.  One of my favorite things in life is family and the memories that we make with our family.  Although I did not have the chance to meet my grandfather, my grandmother has always been one of my favorite people.  I have her to thank for all of the things I consider favorites in my life.

Paulina Thompson-Honorable Mention


Title:  Pride

One year ago, my sister, Mina Thompson joined the United States Marine Corps.  Watching her experience new things and bloom into a fighter to ern the title Marine has impacted me deeply.

This has motivated me to look at life’s obstacles in a different point of view by looking at challenges as my friend and to tackle them head on, like Mina. Finding the grit and positivity to gain pride after tackling down challenges is one of my favorite things.  I would say my sister Mina joining the USMC has reflected that greatly.

Haley Galante


Title:  Fly Away

Butterflies are escaping from a girl’s mind into a sunset inspired background.  One of my favorite things is change, as indicated by the change in background that isn’t too harsh.  The girl in the painting is at peace.  Another one of my favorite things is being at peace and having the ability to accept reality around me.  Butterflies are my favorite animal and they also symbolize my thoughts that never stop fluttering in my head.  I love to release my thoughts and express myself in the most beautiful way possible. This painting displays my deep admirations.  

2018 Art Competition Entries 12-14 Age Category

Eva Vogt-Winner of Judged MMVCT Award and Highway Appliance Home Decor Award


Title:  “Passion through Creation”

Being able to create art is most definitely my favorite thing. The beauty of art is that you are able to display your ideas/visions through so many different styles, as demonstrated in my drawing.  There’s realistic, geometric, abstract, and so on.  Being able to see and inspire so many techniques within art to showcase my ideas and transform them into whateverdeem fit is where my passion lies within art and why I consider this my favorite thing, which I hope I have conveyed through this work.

Olivia Kolowitz-Winner of MMVCT Board of Director Award


Title: “Truly Lucky”

My entry “Truly Lucky” represents my favorite thing because I love my cat.  Lucky is truly lucky because we saved him from living in filthy conditions.  He was dirty and sick.  We thought he wouldn’t make it.  But we took him to the vet, bathed him, and cared for him.  He is now a healthy and loveable cat.

Kylie Miller


Title: Diamond-A Girl’s Best Friend

My horse, Diamond, is my favorite thing and best friend.  Diamond enriches my life.  She teaches me responsibility, provides friendship, and returns love.  Diamond is a true friend and partner at horse shows.  We have learned to understand each other, and we work together as a team. 

My barn time is my favorite time even though there is work to be done.  Diamond depends on me for food, water, and treats.  The cleanup, bathing, and brushing of Diamond does not seem like work at all.  It is done with love for my favorite thing---Diamond.

Ava Karnes


Title:  From Bar to Toe

Cheerleading is a very important part of my life.  I’ve been participating in cheerleading since I was in second grade.  Without cheer I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing with my life right now because it’s such a big part of my life.  It’s honestly so much fun.  I do have to put lots of work and time in, but it’s what love to do!  From stenting and jumping, to flipping and dancing, big bows, and uniforms that make me itch, these are all reasons why I love cheer and why it’s one of my favorite things. 

Laura Hermann-Winner of MMVCT Board of Director Award


Title:  Little Jess

My favorite animal is a cat.  I painted this picture of my cousin’s old cat, Jessica.  Jessica was a very unique, playful cat, and she was an avid hunter.  She especially liked yo-yos, so this painting shows her kitten-self eyeing a spinning yo-yo, poised to strike.

Jenna Olivieri-Honorable Mention


Title:  A Day at the Amusement Park

My favorite thing is drawing and making my own characters. The characters I create have their own language that they speak.  That’s why they say roller coster instead of roller coaster.  The character with their tongue sticking out is Soi.  Soi is a male Chinese dragon that is part spirit. The other character is Morgan. Morgan is a fox and wolf hybrid. Morgan was born with one ear and one leg, so her right leg is robotic.  Both characters were created by me.

2018 Art Competition Entries 8-11 Age Category

Lucciano Lopez-Winner of Judged MMVCT Award


Title:  The Things I Love

The things I love and is my favorite are butterflies, music, Youtube, bunnies, ice cream, Spring, angels, and my family.  Those things are my favorite because I always see those things and I usually see clouds that are in the form of an angel.  It represents my favorite thing because I  see these things every day and  love them with all my heart and I love them because they help me focus, calm me down, make me laugh, and love me too.


Alex Kolowitz


Title: Party Time Favorites

Doritos and Mountain Dew are my favorite thing.  Even though I’ve never had then at the same time, I can only imagine how they taste together.  The crunchy and cheesy Dorito followed by the cold and refreshing Mountain Dew…Mmmm!  Since I’m drawing them together, after I finish, I can enjoy them together for the first time. 

Elijah Kolowitz


Title: My Nerf Guns

Nerf guns are my favorite thing because I can use my imagination with them.  I can use them for target practice.  I can use them for nerf wars.  I can have fun playing with them.

MMVCT Opening in pictures

July 1, 2018 MMVCT Opening Art/Photography Exhibit Location: Monongahela Valley County Club

Some of the Award Winners in Art and Photo Categories

Twin Coaches Junior Jazz Trio

Joseph Hodges, piano - Alexie Dalrymple, drums - Eli Alfieri, bass

The Craigs

Acoustic Concert by the Craigs

Ken Bizzell Boyer

Ikebana: Japanese Art of Flower Arrangement

Robert Armstrong

How to Take a Great Picture

Valley Art Club