Celebrating Creativity and Community Contributions

Greetings, art enthusiasts and community supporters! VLA is thrilled to unveil the “Arts Appreciation Program,” a platform dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the outstanding contributions of artists who have enriched our vibrant community.

2023 Contest Winners

We invite you to explore the captivating works of our 2023 Contest winners, each piece showcasing the diversity and richness of artistic expression within our community. Learn more about the winning artists and their works below!



About the Doors and Thresholds Series (During Pandemic): A time for reflection, a time to go deep. As metaphors for opportunities of rebirth, Doors and Thresholds leave the past behind and give us space where everything may happen: They can mark the edges between different states of being, making possible the encounter to create something new.

Artwork Description

Life as a journey and my own strong experiences have driven and inspired my work. As an artist, I express my experiences from within. Forms flow spontaneously and the constantly evolving process gives way to imagined spaces, caves and labyrinths, passages of time and unknown places,leaving traces which I compare to inner maps left in an intimate geography. Metaphors are my means of expression. Geometric forms and archetypal symbolism illuminate my search and become magical components of my work, continuously opening unlimited possibilities of expression. I create with knives, palettes, fingers and brushes, adding and scraping textures, creating a strong impact on every canvas.

Lucia GomezAbout the Artist: Lucia Gomez 

Instagram: @lucia_gomez_arte

The paintings of Lucía Gómez have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions and Art Fairs, museums and galleries in the United States, Canada, South, and Central America, and in Europe, including; The  Cultural council for Palm Beach, Continuum Art Fair, Palm Beach Art Fair, and Boca Raton Art Fair in Florida, ,The Monmouth Museum in New Jersey;  Guild of the Boca Raton Museum of Art;  The Coral Springs Museum of Art; The Cornell Museum of Art in Delray Beach Florida; The Essex art Center in Lawrence Massachusetts among others. In Colombia, she has had exhibitions at the Arte Loft Gallery in Medellín, Arte y Conexion, The Santillana Foundation for Ibero-America in Bogotá, Enrique Grau,Museum, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, La Localidad Gallery, Cámara de Comercio in Bogotá; Alcaldía de Medellín and Comfamiliar Museum in Barranquilla.

Lucia was born in Colombia and studied art with her father, Colombian Master Ricardo Gómez Campuzano, and at the Sienna Art School in Madrid, continuing  her art education in Colombia with Masters Freda Sargent, Nelly Rojas, and other Masters, while taking part in multiple workshops for many years at the Atena Art Studio of Master Hernando Gonzáles in Bogotá, Colombia.

Lucia resides and works in Colombia and the USA alternatively; Her work is abstract following her own artistic path, primarily oil, and mixed media.


THE LEGAL LESSONS OF HATE (H+8) AND WAIT (W+8) by Annamarie Trombetta

The Pan flute vs. The Magic flute (Free standing sculpture triptych) 

Artwork Description

My three oil paintings, Legal Lessons of H 8 (Hate) and W 8 (Wait) is a free standing triptych and a  sculptural painting, one can walk around or can be hung on a wall as a traditional painting. The complete  size is twenty four inches in height and fifty six inches in width and three and a half inches in depth. This  piece was created in response to the ongoing past and current legal and political circumstances that have  permeated our world for the past few years. The sub theme in the painting infers the god of Pan ( the root  word Pan means “all” as in panic and pandemic) symbolized by the pan flute and the horned goat. On the  opposite side, inspired by Wolfgang A. Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, there is a wooden flute and a  goat without horns. The juxtaposition of a goat on both sides, one representing the menacing, horned  goat, Pan, and the other the biblical societal scapegoat burdened with the communal injustices is a means  of weighing the opposites in the same judicial system. I was inspired by Mozart’s opera, influenced by  the Freemasons and masonic symbolism of the number three, which is exhibited in Mozart’s opening  notes, the three ladies, the three trials, the three cords. I mirrored the importance of the number three, in  my triple canvases. The childhood colored cubes create the word Hate (H+8), the root cause of  injustice and Wait ( W+ 8), as victims are subjected to losing extreme amounts of time from the legal  system. The free wielding “Bad to the Bone” skeleton is contrasted next to the stunted power and  growth of judges by limiting laws aspiring to create justice. Like John Lennon, Andy Warhol, Jodi  Foster and Taylor Swift, I too was plagued with a stalker who anonymously mailed me the “Last  Rights” anti-Catholic booklet that is depicted in my painting in 2015 after my two solo exhibits. In the  same year, an internet ad misattributing my identity to a painting I that I did not create by using my  name and self authored biography. My experiences with the legal system have inspired this painting. I  hope my images or experiences will change or upgrade new societal laws which will protect victims of  crimes more than the current laws, which empower people who know how to manipulate the legal  system and perpetuate more problems than sincere, societal citizens can cope with at this time in life.

About the Artist: Annamarie Trombetta

Annamarie TrombettaWebsite:

Born in Brooklyn, in high school she attended Brooklyn Museum School and then Parsons School of  Design, New York Academy of Art, National Academy School of Fine Art, Art Students League,  William Butler Yeats Summer School,Sligo, Ireland and Ercole Alber DeFois in Vihers, France. One  woman solo exhibits include Richmondtown Historic Museum, 2001 Garibali-Meucci Museum in 2002,  and in 2024, Wagner Gallery S.I .N.Y, Central Park Dana Center 2003, Staten Island Museum 2004. In  2015 she had two exhibits at Union League Club andItalian American Museum in New York City.  Trombetta’s biography is in Who’s Who in American Art, Who’s Who in American Women and The  World’s Who’s Who of Women.  

Artist Statement 

Throughout the years, my artistic sense of aesthetics seeks to express the desire for meaning by way of  creating iconography as a form of subtlety and sincerity. My art is a vehicle which attempts to evoke an  unspoken dialogue between the image and the onlooker. With every work, either two or three  dimensional, I strive to bring forth theories, ideas and compositions which may or may not be applicable  to thoughts and feelings from the past. The level of dimensions are varied, visually, emotionally and  intellectually; subtle and direct – substantial yet visionary – exoteric, yet esoteric images relating to the  material world of form and the ethereal world of ideas. Some of my works are paintings that are free  standing, or set within a wooden structural format and transform the painting or paintings into three  dimensional pieces sculpturally.  


783 JIRON SAN MARTIN by Adela Hurtado

Artwork Description

For my first photography project, Shikumen of Shanghai, I explored the ruins of early 20th century houses named shikumen, taking photos of personal items left behind by families in haste. When I returned years later, the entire site was gone. My photos were now pieces of evidence of what once existed. That feeling never left me.

The Colors of Trujillo took this feeling to a personal level. I was taken to visit my family’s hometown of Trujillo, Peru every summer as a child—an experience shared by many immigrant families. Over time though, my trips got shorter and shorter and for many years I didn’t go. I finally returned in 2018 with my family, and it was wonderful, with me taking many photos of the buildings. The project focuses on Trujillo, its streets, and its colorful old buildings. What started as me taking photos of the buildings, listening to my father tell me their stories, learning what they used to be and who used to live in them, turned into something more. Every year I return, a building disappears or is in worse shape. Every year I return, I take more and more pictures. Now my photos are named after the buildings’ street addresses and I bring out their colors, imagining what they once looked like. These buildings house countless memories and cultural aspects of days gone by and have adopted new identities over time. My hope is that in the future these buildings are not only found in my photos, but are found still standing strong, still making up the colors of Trujillo.

About the Artist: Adela Hurtado

Adela HurtadoWebsite:
Instagram: @adelaenchanted

Adela Hurtado is a 2D animator, production designer, photographer, and lawyer based in New York. She graduated from NYU, Fordham Law, and Peking University. Before transitioning to animation and filmmaking, Adela worked as a human rights and public interest attorney. Since then, she has embarked on an artistic career, creating photography projects in Peru and China and working on animation and live-action films. She is developing her own animated projects, most recently this year at Gobelins in Paris. Adela’s heart is in animation, and her dream is to one day direct an animated feature film set in Peru!

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