SHAMOKIN - Molly Dormer was named the winner of the inaugural juried showcase of the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities.

That her oil painting, "Elizabeth," was awarded first prize came as a surprise to the Coal Township woman.

"When Mary came down the steps, I looked at her and said, 'what for?'" Dormer said of receiving congratulations from Mary Ann Levins.

"She said, 'you won first prize.'"

The council held an opening reception for the show Friday night inside the Fine Arts Gallery at Northumberland County Career and Arts Center, Eighth and Arch streets.

Twenty-two artists entered a combined 56 works of art in mixed media for the event, which was judged by Mark Sassani, an artist and teacher from Mount Carmel.

Other winners were Amber O'Donnell, second place, Joanna Shively, third place, Gloria Zielinskie, fourth place, and Alberta Sickora, honorable mention.

More than 45 people had signed into the opening halfway through the 90-minute event. Claude Harrington, gallery director, was pleased with the turnout.

"I'm very happy because I'm told there is a game in town," she said of Shamokin Area's home football game Friday night.

Harrington is an artist herself. A native of France, she and her husband moved to Shamokin three years ago.

She said she knew of the talents of some artists from the area prior to settling here but remains impressed by those she's continually discovering as director of the gallery.

Cash prizes at the juried event, she said, was incentive for artists to take the risk of putting their talents on public display.

"We felt just rewarding them with something we would see more people come out of the woodwork," she said.

This may be the council's first juried event but it won't be its last, as Harrington hopes to make it an annual event.

The art show will be on display at the gallery through November. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, email claudeharrington977@gmail.com.