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Paint Off Turns 20 in Style

Alameda man takes first prize in annual competition in the downtown plaza, hosted by the Mill Valley Art Commission.

The Depot Plaza has long served as a blank canvas of sorts for children to chalk to their hearts' content. On Sunday afternoon, for the 20th year, artists from around the Bay Area were afforded the same opportunity in the Mill Valley Art Commission's Paint Off in the Plaza.

The event featured 35 artists painting scenes that are visible from the plaza in any style or medium, with a variety of cash prizes awarded to the best of the bunch. More than 200 people turned out Sunday to watch the painters, with more than half voting in the People's Choice category.

David Savellano of Alameda took home first prize in every category for his "Mill Valley in the Round" piece. Savellano won the People's Choice Award, the Artists' Choice, and the $250 Jack Beck Award, named for the Mill Valley artist and creator of the event. Beck, who served as a judge for the competition, created the Paint Off 20 years ago in the same vein as the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

San Francisco resident Christopher Duke garnered second place for his work on glass, while fellow San Franciscan Scott Grabowski, who nabbed first place in every catgeory in 2009, took third.

All 35 artists will show their work in the Mill Valley City Hall Council Chambers in September as part of the First Tuesday Artwalk.

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