Meet our 2023 Apopka Art judges.
Kimberly Watters-Sasser, MFA
Assistant Professor of Art | School Arts Judge
Kimberly Watters a native Floridian, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in glass sculpture and Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
Her passion for teaching and glass has provided many opportunities to share her knowledge with students as well as her community. Watters has studied glass in Murano, Italy, Penland School of Crafts and received her Master of Fine Arts in glass sculpture and dimensional studies at Alfred University, New York. Currently, she works as an Assistant Professor of Art at Beacon College in Central Florida.
Continuing her path as a distinguished artist she has exhibited her artwork internationally and throughout America. As an artist, Watters is driven to create sculptural explorations of perception, light, and space.
Through the materiality of glass, resin, and light she fills space with ideas of simplicity and order, creating an empty that utilizes warmth and memory leaving one free to reflect and fill a space of their own.
Metalsmith Jewelry Artist | Creative Arts Judge
Karen Tweedie is a metalsmith who specializes in jewelry design and creating each piece, one at a time, by hand.
Born in San Francisco, California, she studied at the Oakland College of Arts and Crafts as a youth where her interest in art was fueled. She received a B.S. from the University of California, Davis and an M.A. from Gallaudet University, leading to a 20-year career as a teacher of the deaf. While teaching, she began designing Sign Language jewelry and gift items and that began a successful 34-year entrepreneurial business designing Sign Language products sold in the U.S. and internationally.
Always wanting to learn new skills, Karen did intensive studies at a lapidary arts and jewelry school in Georgia, and became very proficient in metalsmithing and goldsmithing, and along with her ability to carve wax models for her Sign Language business, she was able to continue to design and create. She later earned a graduate degree in Pearls from the Gemological Institute of America.
Her innovative designs, completely separate from her Sign Language business, inspired by ancient metalwork, earned her an opportunity to travel on luxury cruise lines and sell her jewelry onboard as the guest artist. She and her husband did this for 13 years until the COVID epidemic shut down the cruise industry.
Prior to the cruise traveling, Karen exhibited in art shows in Virginia and central Florida, was the jewelry judge at the Island Art Association Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach and most recently was part of the Artist Compliance Committee for the Festival of the Arts in DeLand, Florida.
As a volunteer, Karen teaches handcrafting skills in a variety of mediums to children and adults and runs a Makers’ Guild which creates all of the boutique items sold through her local historical society.
Karen currently works out of her studio near her home in DeLand, Florida and is featured annually on the Off the Beaten Path Art Studio Tour of West Volusia which is organized by John Wilton.
Pine Needle Artist | Creative Arts Judge
Diane Moore is a long-time educator and award-winning Pine Needle Basket artist living in Lake Helen, Florida.
For the last 20 years, she has shared her passion for making Florida history come alive through her pine needle creations.
Because of her deep commitment to sharing teaching and preserving the unique heritage of pine needle basketry with generations to come, she frequently teaches pine needle basket classes for children and adults at her studio in Lake Helen and other Florida locations.
She is honored to be one of the featured artisans in the 2023 spring edition of the nationally distributed, Select Travelers Magazine in the article entitled “Simple Reminders, (The South takes pride in its souvenirs.) “ She is also one of the featured artists in the Florida Arts “Off the Beaten Path” Studio tour scheduled for March 4 & 5, 2023.
Her work can be seen at the Gallery Store in the Museum of Art, DeLand, Florida and on her website: SouthernPineStudio.com.
Sculptor | Fine Arts Judge
Harry Messersmith is a sculptor who maintains a bronze and glass casting foundry and sculpture atelier in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where he is innovating new processes and methods that integrate the raw elements of glass and bronze.
His interest in archeology, engineering, and the impact of technology on our existence influences much of his work. He combines materials to sculpt dynamic forms that create tension and play with shadow and light. Both large scale and small, his abstract and figurative work represents humanity’s struggle for balance with nature and technology.
Messersmith’s fine art studio and full service foundry produces personal work as well as fabrication for established artists. He accepts restoration work, commissions, and offers design consultation.
Messersmith has been a sought after juror and judge of fine arts festivals and juried competitions throughout Florida for over 34 years.
Teaching assistant with sculptor Daniel Clayman at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Maine, 2015; and Penland School of Craft, North Carolina, 2011
Messersmith received a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation to attend a master artist residency with sculptor Gio Pomodoro at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in November 1999 which culminated in “The Bronze Exhibit”, a group exhibition in Milan, Italy in June, 2000, which included three of Messersmith’s figurative bronze sculptures.
Executive Director of the Lighthouse Gallery and School of Art, Tequesta, Florida, 1994–1996
Executive Director of the Museum of Art DeLand, 1989–1994. Messersmith was instrumental in moving and establishing the museum in it’s new home within the newly constructed Cultural Arts Center in DeLand in 1991.
Messersmith inaugurated and produced the first DeLand Fall Festival of The Arts, 1991.
Professor of fine art and sculpture: artist-in-education for Volusia County Public Schools; Daytona State College, Stetson University, Crealde School of Art, Harris House, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the University of Central Florida.
Art Curator | Fine Arts Judge
Jennifer McInnes Coolidge is currently the curator at the Mills Art Gallery. Jennifer is a native of Winston-Salem, N.C. who has established a career as an arts and non-profit consultant. As a non-profit consultant and curator who has worked for several artists, some of her clients have included: The Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties at University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, Dance Alive National Ballet, Gainesville, FL; Asheville Area Arts Council, Asheville, NC, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY; The National League of American Pen Woman, Washington, DC among others.
For her formal education, Coolidge holds a BA with a concentration in painting from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC and a Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship from H. Heinz II School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University and completed a fellowship with the Denali Initiative on Social Enterprise through the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
Coolidge currently serves as the Director of Philanthropy for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestrain Orlando, FL. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is dedicated to “enrich, inspire and serve Central Florida through the transformative power of live music”. Jennifer McInnes Coolidge has worked with their team to raise over 2.5 million annually.
In addition to The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Coolidge has also served as an arts administrator for 30 years where she has been Director of Development for the University of Florida, College of the Arts, Executive Director for the Museum of Florida Art in DeLand, FL; Executive Director of the Florida Alliance for Art Education and in arts education and curatorial positions for the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL.