MORRIS – Even for those who attended the Home for the Holidays activities last month, the event photos displayed at Lonnie’s Arts Gallery in downtown Morris showed details many missed.
“They’re all gorgeous photos,” said Julie Applegate, Morris Downtown Development Partnership executive director.
The Morris Downtown Development Partnership, Home for the Holidays and Lonnie’s Arts Gallery sponsored a photo contest for pictures from the Home for the Holidays event Thanksgiving weekend. The winners were chosen and awarded Friday afternoon during a reception at the storefront owned by Lonnie Mathison.
“[Mathison] thought our website needed some sprucing up with more inviting photos,” Applegate said. “His words were, ‘You can’t complain about something without a solution.’ He called back a short time later and said let’s have a photo contest.”
Contest photographers agreed to allow MDDP to use their work for the organization’s website for Home for the Holidays, she said. And the winners of the contest received Grundy County Chamber of Commerce & Industry gift certificates.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Applegate said.
The contest had 31 entries, which were judged by three local photographers Friday at the art gallery: LeAnn Leadinghouse, and Jon and Jennifer Erickson, all of Morris. The three photographers displayed photos of Home for the Holidays as well, but their work was not part of the contest.
First-place winner was Terry Musclow of Morris. His winning picture was a black and white photo of the nostalgic horse-drawn carriage trotting through the downtown. He decided to enter the contest because of his love for photography.
“I love photography, any excuse [to do it] and Morris is a great community. It truly is,” he said. “That was a memorable evening – the lighting of the park and the tradition.”
The second-place winner was Tony Minard of Morris, who took a close-up shot of a portion of a Christmas tree with the background of a staircase inside Gary and Barb Behrens’ house on the Home of the Holiday’s House Walk.
“Staircases are my favorite. I would like to do an entire series of staircase photos,” he said.
The third-place winner was not present at Friday’s awards presentation: Brittany Benson. Her photo was an artistic shot of a bird cage with Christmas decorations.
A people’s choice and mayor’s choice were also chosen, Mathison said. The mayor’s choice was done by Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick.
The same photo – Margo McIntyre’s of a fireman statue at Chapin Park covered in icicles with a lighted Christmas tree in the background – was chosen for these recognitions.
Mathison said he hosted the contest with the MDDP to give back to the community.
“Nov. 1 was the grand opening and the community has been amazingly supportive,” he said.
Mathison’s gallery displays and sells work from more than 87 artists from Morris and throughout the state.
In the back is an “Artist of the Month” room and starting in January classes will be in the basement of the store.
Mathison has family in Morris and moved here from Houston, where he designed ball gowns and shoes for more than 20 years. His work has been seen on the “Dancing with the Stars” television show.
Some of the other photo entries included close-up images of Christmas decorations, a rooftop view of the lighted parade, and the Grundy County Courthouse lit up for the holidays.
The photos will be on display through the rest of the month at Lonnie’s Arts Gallery, 108 W. Washington St. in Morris.
Home for the Holiday’s photo contest winners:
First place: Terry Musclow
Second place: Tony Minard
Third place: Brittany Benson