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Meet our 2024 Apopka Art judges.

Deborah Hildinger.JPG

Deborah Hildinger

Professional Artist | Creative Crafts Judge

Deborah Hildinger received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas with a double major in Printmaking and Painting in 1979. Upon graduation, WED Show Production employed her as a finishing artist during the construction of EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World. Before moving to California in 2004, Deborah was administrator of the permanent art collection at Orlando International Airport and responsible for the works of art produced by internationally acclaimed artists. Deborah retired in 2016 from the Santa Maria Public Library where during her tenure she held the positions of Cultural Events Coordinator and Library Artist. Within these positions, she managed the arts programs and galleries for adults and children. In addition, she retired from her position as an adjunct instructor at Allan Hancock College. From 2005 to 2016, Ms. Hildinger taught lecture and studio classes.


Around 2010, Deborah read an article in the newspaper about gourds as a fine art. After researching the field, Deborah chose to move away from two-dimensional to three-dimensional art. For her, working with gourds has an element of surprise that is reminiscent of her involvement with printmaking.  She utilizes an intuitive approach where the key is to let the gourd guide the way to fruition through a variety of materials and techniques.


Deborah is an award-winning artist in her own right within the mediums of printmaking, painting, pastel, digital imagery, and fine crafts. She has exhibited in galleries, museums, and art festivals throughout the United States.

Click Here to see full bio.

Deborah Hildinge
Creative Arts Judges

Katherine Mathisen

Hand Crafted Ceramic Artist | Creative Crafts Judge

Katherine has exhibited and taught ceramics for more than 28 years, working with many masters in contemporary sculpture. Katherine has also had the honor of judging many art festivals in Florida.  


Currently, Katherine exhibits her award-winning ceramic sculpture in galleries and art shows throughout the US. Her work can be found in both public and private collections in the US, South America, Europe and Australia. She continues to create ceramic sculpture as well as teach clay workshops and classes to children and adults.


Katherine obtained her Bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida, specializing in Art, Biological Studies and business.

Katherin Mathisen
Everett Spruill

Everett Spruill

American Painter, Photographer, & Printmaker | Fine Arts Judge

An American painter, photographer, and printmaker. Born in Birmingham, Alabama USA. Everett Spruill

attended Berea College, where he earned a Business Degree. It was during this time that he painted

small landscapes and portraits in the tradition of the French Impressionist but did not seriously entertain

the idea of a career in the arts. While managing a Hotel in Miami, and with frequent visits to the Miami

Museum, a Picasso exhibition changed his outlook as he was inspired by the simplicity and geometric

patterns that formed the images. After relocating to Orlando, Spruill took up painting seriously and it

was at this time that he created the "Old School Jazz and Blues" series of paintings and collages, inspired by the art of Romare Bearden.


From that time on Spruill consistently created increasingly complex variations of art from recycled and re-purposed materials focusing on Jazz as a central theme. Spruill challenges himself to source new materials and expand his resources. His first radical shift came in 1999, with the "Tribal Rhythms Series" in which he employs interlocking geometric shapes combined with graffiti techniques. It was around this time as well that he created his first prints in screen printing, linoleum cuts, and offset lithography.


During the following decade, Spruill introduced texture into his art, which he came to call "Nuvo-stained glass" for its transparent qualities. From the mid-1990s to 2010, Spruill created a large body of work that responded in a general way to the childlike simplicity of creating art. During this time, the increasingly abstract collages of Spruill's paintings gave way to a multitude of materials from electronic components, textiles, recycled wallpaper, and decorative architectural elements. To create these works, the artist uses appropriated materials and digital technologies.

In 2017, Spruill began making wire sculptures for public spaces and developing architectural projects.

Still residing in Orlando Florida with his many accolades, Everett Spruill prints and paintings are most

famous for his work in the areas of collage and cubist abstraction.

Spruill's work is in public and private collections worldwide, including The Amway Center, Disney Springs and Epcot Center, The City of Orlando and The Media Institute to name a few.

Everett Spruill
Fine Arts Judges

Jennifer Coolidge

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.

Jennifer Coolidge
Michaella Palumbo
Michaella Palumbo

Michaella Palumbo

School Arts Judge

Michaella Palumbo has been teaching art for eighteen years. Fourteen years have been in Seminole  County.  She is certified to teach art K-12. She is a graduate of Jacksonville University.  Before teaching in Seminole County she spent four years teaching in Duval County.  


She has had her own art on display at the Sanford Welcome Center, the Casselberry Art House, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Scott Laurent Gallery on Park Ave. and Café Tu Tu Tango. She displays her student’s artwork at the Maitland Art Festival, the Lake Mary Heathrow Festival of the Arts and the Seminole  Town Center Mall every year.


Michaella is a member of the Orlando Museum of Art, the Menello Museum of Folk Art, The Morse Museum & the Maitland Art Center.

School Arts Judge
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