The Pastel Society of America’s celebration of the 41st Annual Open Exhibition, “Enduring Brilliance,” which kicked off on Friday September 22 with a reception and gallery tour (see last week’s post) continued on Sunday, September 24, with the centerpiece awards ceremony, honorees presentation, and the annual celebration dinner. The ceremony opened with the introduction of the society’s new president, PSA Master Pastelist, Jimmy Wright. Jimmy then gave a fitting tribute to his predecessor, Rae Smith, who spoke emotionally of her years of devotion to the PSA and the continuation of founder Flora B. Giffuni’s vision. Jimmy then acknowledged the hard work of the Board of Governors, the volunteers, and the office-secretary Cindy Harisch who tirelessly give to the society.
This year, 61 of the 180+ paintings on display received cash and material awards totaling more than $30,000 in value. The top prize, the PSA Founders Award ($5000), was given by the Flora B. Giffuni Foundation to 2012 PSA Hall of Fame inductee and Master Pastelist, Frank Federico, for his painting Montfrin Rooftops. Patricia Tribastone garnered the Art Spirit Foundation Dianne B. Bernard Gold Medal Award for her painting Hanging Out. Other top awards went to artists Robin Frisella, Claudia Bicen, Leslie Lillien Levy, Joe Hing Lowe, Gigi Horr Liverant, Judy Evans, Theresa Emmett Allison, Alan Flattmann, Kari Tirrell, and Steve Smith. These and the remaining award winners truly demonstrated the diversity and best that the pastel medium has to offer. For a complete listing of award sponsors and award winning paintings, visit the Pastel Society of America website at: www.pastelsocietyofamerica.org.
Each year the PSA designates an outstanding artist for inclusion into the societies Hall of Fame, based on his or her special achievements in pastel painting. This year’s inductee was PSA Master Pastelist Dan Slapo. PSA president Jimmy Wright commented on Dan’s pursuit of artistic excellence in the medium of pastel and lifelong devotion to teaching. Due to health issues, Dan was unable to attend the event, but his daughter accepted the award on his behalf and read a touching personal statement from Dan. Among the attendees were a number of his students who attested to the influence he has had upon the next generation of pastel artists. Dan is quoted as saying, “Being with my students is best. I love to teach, and that’s what keeps me alive. I’m happiest when I see great progress in their work.”
The Friend of Pastel Honoree for 2013 was bestowed upon Richard Kendall, curator-at-large at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Richard is considered one of the leading experts on the artwork of Edgar Degas, having curated numerous exhibitions in major museums, both in the United States and abroad, including “Degas and the Dance” in 2002-2003 with his wife, Jill DeVonyar. In next week’s post, I will discuss some of the comments Richard had to share during the ceremony.
After the ceremony, a majority of those in attendance adjourned to the lounge in the historic National Art Club as the exhibition space was prepared for the dinner and the announcement of raffle painting winners to benefit the PSA School for Pastels.
On, Saturday, September 28th, the exhibition festivities closed with one final event—a pastel demonstration by renowned portrait artist, Alain Picard, PSA. If you missed it, you can also see Alain at work in one of three new DVDs produced for ArtistsNetworkTV, available at Northlightshop.com.
To all of the pastelists that earned acceptance into this year’s exhibit and to those fortunate enough to have garnered an award, congratulations! Now the work begins for next year!