The Alameda on Camera photography show is on display at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts through May 31.

Each year, the juried event features the work of 48 photographers and artists who capture images of 48 different sections of the Island over 48 hours in late February. They take pictures of homes, commercial buildings, sidewalks, beaches, boats, toys, gardens, trees, familiar places, secret hideaways and much more.

In late March, the photographers and artists submit their works, which are then hung on the walls of the Frank Bette Center, 1601 Paru St. This year, the pieces were judged by Drew Johnson, curator of photography and visual culture at the Oakland Museum of California.

Johnson gave the mixed-media award to artist Karen Braun Malpas.

Malpas, who lived in Alameda from 1985-2010, does sketching, drawing, watercolor painting and other work as an artist.

"Alameda inspired me by the sky," Malpas said. "There's an explosion of light at the top of my piece. It happened over the San Francisco Bay. I was on top of the parking structure (by the movie theater) when the light phenomena happened."

She blew up the image of the light and highlighted it in her mixed-media piece entitled "The Distance Is Not Great to Worlds of Magnificent Joy or Nowhere." (The title is the ending lines of a poem by Kenneth Patchun.)


Advertisement

"I cut up some other photos with a paper cutter. The dark lines in the work represent furrowed fields on a mountain, but they are actually pictures of the Alameda cityscape," Malpas said. "I placed the mountain on an upside-down map of California, so you do not get distracted by the map. There are rivers on it, and it has an estuary/delta feel."

Even though the artist had lots of historic buildings, which had tiles and other objects with hard corners in the section of town she photographed, "I instead went with curves and not right angles in my work," she said. "Art takes you in a direction. It leads to odd things."

Malpas has been a practicing artist all her life, she said, after getting interested in drawing in preschool. She went on to study and later teach art.

The annual Alameda on Camera event, she noted, teaches her to look at her art and its possibilities in different ways each year.

"It's fun," Malpas said.

Several other artists were recognized for their creative talents. Susan Lea Hackett, for instance, won the Best in Show award for a colorful quilt she made, which includes multiple images of the Port of Oakland cranes that dominate the Oakland-Alameda Estuary.

The next group of awards to be given out on the Island will be shared by the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society. The organization will honor property owners and other community members at the 17th-annual Preservation Awards event, set for 7 p.m. Sunday at Auctions by the Bay Theater, 2700 Saratoga Ave.

Janet Levaux also writes the Alameda Journal Blog at www.ibabuzz.com/alamedajournal.