Palm Coast, FL – Offering works with a definitive South American flair, Jan Jackson walked through her pieces on display to take photos with her newest collection featuring dogs, being sure to point out the story in the piece.

Every painting is story – Gargiulo Art Foundation 2020 Artist of the Year Jan Jackson displays some of her newest works at Galleria d’Arte Palm Coast during the opening reception on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

As the 2020 Artist of the Year, Jackson becomes the 21st artist the Gargiulo Art Foundation has bestowed with the honor, and the soft-spoken painter was humbled by the selection.

“I was very honored,” said Jackson, often enveloped in her work.

Sharing her talents with the local community, from making her mark as an artist on the Palm Coast Arts Foundation’s Turtle Trail to teaching for three years and fostering a dedicated pastel group with the Flagler County Art League, Jackson has more than paid her dues as an arts community staple.

Hanging the show in the Galleria d’Arte Palm Coast for the opening reception on Saturday afternoon, gallery owner Lisette O. Lewis noticed something Jackson had not over the years – as her locale changed, so did her work.

“I’ve developed a style that’s really, truly my voice,” said Jackson. “I’ve been a writer and editor and I just felt the same way about fine art as about writing, that there’s a voice there somewhere. You just keep working at it until you find it. I think you get inspired by something and you let it take off.”

Gargiulo Art Foundation 2020 Artist of the Year Jan Jackson (left) is congratulated by friends Laura O’Brien and Ed O’Brien, during the opening reception at Galleria d’Arte Palm Coast on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

Jackson found her inspiration in the mola, a garment made by the Kuna Indians in Panama and from there she found her voice, incorporating the animal-themed patterns it into her painting technique and style.

“I started my style and it developed and changed. You just go with the flow,” said Jackson. “When I looked, I didn’t know this before I brought it to the gallery.  The darker work is (from) the southwest and the lighter with more blues on the other side of the wall, are since we moved to Florida. Interesting because Arizona and New Mexico is the most beautiful light you’ve ever seen.”

It’s customary for judges to take a mix of criteria into consideration including a visit to the home studios of nominees. Tom Gargiulo, CEO of the Gargiulo Art Foundation said he was stunned by the body of work on display, making Jackson this year’s standout.

“One part is you not only have to be a good artist, but we’re looking for people that have done some good things for the art community,” said Gargiulo.

“Jan fit that bill and the other three nominees also fit that, but when we went to the artist’s studio Jan’s home studio was just overwhelming,” he shared.

“We saw a lot of work that you wouldn’t see publicly and that’s the purpose of the artist of the year, to show an artist in more depth than you would normally see. That’s another good reason for this gallery is the ability to show an artist’s work in more depth than you would in a group show.”

It’s a meeting of the minds as past Artists of the Year gather to attend the Gargiulo Art Foundation’s 2020 Artist of the Year opening reception for Jan Jackson on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at Galleria d’Arte Palm Coast. From left Judi Wormack (2016), Dr. Lee Richards (2019), Arlene C. Volpe, Tom Gargiulo CEO of the Gargiulo Art Foundation, Jan Jackson (2020), Jan Geyer (2014), JJ Graham (2009), Edson Beckett (2010) and Trish Vevera (2018).

Lewis was pleased to offer space and support the annual Artist of the Year show which brings together the City of Palm Coast through a grant to the Gargiulo Art Foundation, to highlight artists in the community.

“If you see this woman’s work from 25 years, how her life traveled,” she mused.

“To see her, you would never know it, but then you look at her work and how in-depth she is and how fascinated she is with different cultures, I really wanted Jan to have the whole space to herself,” said Lewis.

The Gargiulo Art Foundation 2020 Artist of the Year Show will be on display at Galleria d’Arte Palm Coast during March and April. There is no cost to tour the gallery. Visit for details.