George Duncan won first place in the People’s Choice Art Contest
George Duncan won first place in the People's Choice Art Contest (Hannah Grover/The Daily Times)
FARMINGTON — When longtime Bloomfield resident and firefighter George Duncan isn't fighting fires, he might be found in a woodshop working on his art.

On Saturday afternoon, Duncan, who has been a woodworker for about 40 years, was presented with $1,000 for winning first place in the People's Choice art contest.

People's Choice, which started March 25 and ran through Friday, was an art show in downtown Farmington. Fifteen businesses displayed art work by 67 Four Corners area artists. The public was invited to view the art and vote for their favorite piece.

PEOPLE'S CHOICE WINNERS

1st Place #34 by George Duncan. $1,000 prize

2nd Place Bird of Paradise" by Melissa Silversmith. $750 prize.

3rd Place 3rd Place: "Les Inseparables" by Samantha Pickett. $500 prize.

Honorable Mentions Honorable Mentions: "Shelter" by Bev Taylor and "17th Century Blanket Chest" by Todd Cardon. $250 prize each.

Student "Wein Schiff" by Beau Betoni. $250 prize.

Winners were announced on Saturday at the Farmington Civic Center. First, second and third place winners were announced, as well as two honorable mentions and a student category winner. Prize money was provided by sponsors, including the Northwest New Mexico Arts Council, the Farmington Downtown Association and Three Rivers Art Center.


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Duncan's piece — a table with maple legs and a dyed concrete tabletop — received the most votes.

Duncan said he wanted to achieve a granite-type feel to the tabletop. Granite is thin and smooth, unlike concrete. It took him three attempts before he finally got the tabletop he wanted.

Last summer, Duncan poured the first tabletop. That one was too thick. So Duncan worked to make the tabletop thinner and thinner. He eventually achieved the current tabletop, which is less than an inch thick. A walnut stretcher holds up the tabletop.

Duncan said he first thought Liz Stannard, who was presenting the awards, had read the wrong name when she announced him as the winner. However, Duncan said he was very pleased to win the award, and he said he plans to donate some of the prize money to help next year's People's Choice show.

He said he admires the work of many of the other artists who took part in the show.

"There are people sitting here who just do beautiful stuff," he said, of the other artists in the room.

People's Choice also included a student show with six pieces of art that were displayed at Eternal Color, 221 W. Main St. Beau Betoni, a 21-year-old San Juan College student from Kirtland, won the student show for his ceramic wine vessel.

Betoni used a shiny crackle turquoise glaze to color the vessel. Thin black lines weave through the smooth turquoise-colored surface. The top of the vessel is all black.

Betoni doesn't just shape the clay. When he starts a ceramic art piece, it looks more like powder. He then turns the powder into the clay. Betoni said making the clay is the fun part of ceramics.

"I make clay almost every day," Betoni said.

Hannah Grover can be reached at hgrover@daily-times.com; 505-564-4652. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover