A June 2017 announcement about recent Moroccan discoveries doubled the apparent age of homo sapiens, back to about 300,000 years ago. Among the evidence in the dig site was the control and manipulation of fire, handmade tools and the first Nappie awards for some of this year’s winners.


However, among the perennial victories there are faces resurgent and new. So let’s get to it:

Best Local Painter: Devlin Wilson

This is the second win in a row for Wilson, his fifth since the arts categories first appeared in 2008. He also finished second in 2010. If you haven’t seen his work or heard of him, you’re obviously new to these parts.

Best Local Sculptor: Bruce Larsen

This celebrated found-object sculptor has grabbed this award since it debuted in 2015. The area is replete with his work, and his biomechanical creations have been used in about 40 movies to date.

Best Local Graphic Design: Colby Jackson

A Jacksonville native, this first-time winner’s LinkedIn page says he served as media director and youth pastor for Cross Church from March 2012 until July 2016. Though he’s worked at Calagaz Photo teaching photography since, his primary focus is his own business.

Colby Jackson Media’s recent projects include logo design for Fabric Hoarders, Resonate Youth Movement, Reality Masters Commission and 3 Posh Chairs. More of his projects can be seen at colbyjacksonmedia.com.

Best Mixed Media Artist: Julia Greer Fobes

When you walk into the Nappie Awards ceremony, take a gander at the flower arrangements to see what earned Fobes her award. After graduating from Ole Miss with a degree in art and theatrical costume design, she had her sights set on the Big Apple but stayed in her hometown to work with noted international artist Nall.

Before long, Fobes was assisting Mardi Gras master Ron Barrett with sets, floral displays and lavish costumes. After six years, she moved out from under his wing.

Fobes made costumes for kings and queens of both the MCA and MAMGA courts for the last few years. She has headed her own business for only a year, doing artwork, “commission stuff” and flowers for weddings and magazine shoots. Fobes was also a finalist for Best Florist.

“The Nappies will be a family affair. My sister will be in town and Greer’s (supermarket) actually won a Nappie too, so we’ll all be together. It’ll be a good night,” Fobes said.

Best Art Gallery: Cathedral Square Gallery

Telling someone “you’re getting mighty big and mighty old” usually can be enough to get your face slapped — unless you’re referencing Cathedral Square Gallery. This 22-year-old, 45-member cooperative on the corner of Dauphin and Dearborn has exceeded norms.

“I’ve done research, and we’re the biggest and oldest cooperative in the state,” Gallery Director Linda Tehnunfeld said. Cathedral Square won this award in 2008, 2010 and 2011 and placed second in 2014.

“We have absolutely the most eclectic art you can find. We have something for everyone. There’s a reason why we’re number one,” Tehnunfeld said.

Best Museum: Mobile Museum of Art

Now 54 years old, this showplace in Langan Park boasts roughly 10,000 works in its collection. Its varied presentations and spacious building makes it easy to see why it has won this award eight times since it began in 2008.

Best Theater Group: Chickasaw Civic Theatre

This plucky institution began in 1963 and has moved from a tiny building seating 65 to a 10,000-square-foot showplace. This is the group’s first Nappie win, although they finished second in 2011.

Best Play or Performance of the Year: “Sordid Lives”

This “black comedy about white trash” directed by Tania Radoslovich is the first win for Mobile Theatre Guild and the first non-Joe Jefferson Playhouse winner since South of the Salt Line’s 2013 production, “Don’t Frack with Society Shell.”

Best Local Actor: Chandler Smith

Though he’s only 15, Smith has been on numerous local stages since his debut 11 years ago. Most closely associated with Chickasaw Civic Theatre and its Explorers Post program, Smith beat a host of grown folks and was also a finalist for Best Theatrical Singer.

“I’m honored to be picked for this award,” Smith said. If you want to congratulate him yourself, stop in to Butch Cassidy’s Café, where he works as a host “for lunch and sometimes dinner.”

Best Theatrical Singer: Terri Jackson

As comfortable in the theater as she is singing lounge jazz, Jackson is a top talent featured in our center section.

Best Arts Event: LoDa Artwalk

Three years we’ve had this category and three years Artwalk has won. No surprise since Mobilians love their monthly street parties.

Correction for July 13 Artifice: While Elan Barnehama taught at UMass Amherst, he has moved on to Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.