The New Canaan Society for the Arts presents SPECTRUM, its annual juried art exhibition running from May 23 through June 17 at the Carriage Barn Arts Center in Waveny Park. The exhibition will open with a reception on Wednesday, May 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. At 6 p.m. awards will be presented to 12 prizewinners selected by the juror.

Now in its 23rd year, SPECTRUM celebrates the creative work of area artists by promoting original, contemporary visual art in a wide array of media. A total of 137 artists from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey submitted 423 works. Of these, this year's juror Christopher White selected 102 paintings, sculpture, graphics and mixed media works.

White selected 12 winners in four categories for awards with cash prizes donated by local businesses including Karl Chevrolet, Bank of New Canaan and Members of the New Canaan Society for the Arts Board of Trustees.

His comments on the prizewinners are as follows:

The Betty Barker Best in Show Award: Heidi Lewis-Coleman, "The Relic Square," cut birch plywood on birch panel.

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"The Relic Square appeared entirely consistent with the artist's other submissions, yet was also quite different in nearly every way," White said. "In choosing it as `Best in Show' my intent was to recognize an artist pushing her boundaries, utilizing diverse means and materials, and still retaining a clear artistic `voice.'"

Painting First Prize: Pam Ackley, "Tea Pots," oil.

"Flawless technique, timeless imagery that somehow manages to generate a completely contemporary aura, and a sense that Pam Ackley set herself a particular set of challenges (which were ably met)," White said.

Painting Second Prize: Raud Johnson, "Girl With the Pearl Earring," oil.

"Combining prodigious painting skills with wit while ambitiously inviting comparison to Vermeer (as well as to Hollywood's recent depiction of the artist) makes Raud Johnson's take on Girl With the Pearl Earring a standout painting," White said.

The Carriage Barn Arts Center is located in Waveny Park, off South Ave. For more information call 203-972-1895 or visit www.carriagebarn.org.