The Latest from American Women Artists

Carrie Waller Abundance

Associate Artist members are eligible to enter our 16th Annual Juried Competition. Finalists will exhibit along with Master Signature and Signature members at the R.S. Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas in the fall. Entry deadline is July 11, 2013. Visit our website for a Prospectus.


Entries Open for 16th Annual Juried Competition
Associate Artist members are eligible to enter our 16th Annual Juried Competition.  Finalists will exhibit along with Master Signature and Signature members at the R.S. Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas in the fall.  Entry deadline is July 11, 2013. Visit our website for a Prospectus.
Member Show in Texas November 1 – 24, 2013


Signature and Master Signature members: mark your calendars for the 16th Annual Member Show in Fredericksburg, Texas.  The opening reception is Friday, November 1 from 6 – 9 PM at the R.S. Hanna Gallery.  Stay tuned for more information about a paint out, demos and our awards brunch.  Up to the minute updates will be posted on our AWA Facebook page.

Award Winners Selected for AWA’s Online Competition



Over 500 entries from Associate Artist members launched our first-ever online competition, impressing selection and awards judges with the depth and breadth of their artistic merit.  Ninety five finalists were selected. View the finalists in a slideshow on the gallery page on the AWA website.

Taking the Grand Prize in Sculpture is Garden Reverie a17x8x8 Clay original for bronze by Tamara Bonet, shown left.  The Grand Prize winner in Painting is Valerie Craig for her oil painting, Willistown Sunrise, shown below.

Second Place in Painting goes to D. Wynne Dixon for Hard Boiled Lemon and Egg Squeezer. Second Place in Sculpture goes to Tammy Bality for Little Sentinel, a 22×8 lead crystal and stainless steel. Jammey Huggins won Second Place in Sculpture for Keeper of the Night, a 21 h x 10 Bronze.  Ann Kraft Walker won Third Place in Painting with A Velvet Gaze. The AWA Board of Directors selected six distinguished artists as Award of Merit winners, including Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, Kami Mendlik, Nancy Bass, Elizabeth Pollie, SarahJane Doberstein, Shanna Kunz and Georgene McGonagle.

“Sculpture is an artobjecteven more than an art image,” said Sculpture Awards Judge Judeth Davis. “Sculpture must present a full three dimensional presence where balance, proportion and material use are meaningful to the rendering of the idea.Because of the production aspect of sculpture, the work needs to capture interest, not just by its concept but also with the precision of its execution.”

Summing up her experience as Awards Judge for Painting, AWA Master Signature member Elizabeth Robbins offered excellent advice to artists entering online contests. “Artists should know that if the painting doesn’t read well as a thumbnail, then it won’t read well blown up…that’s what I looked for first,” she noted.  “If enlarged, it continues to read well, then I look at brushwork, understanding of edges, temperature changes, originality and if the painting intrigued me.”


AWA Welcomes New Board Members, Announces Board Officers 
Sculptor Judeth Davis of Glendale, California and painter Paula Holtzclaw of Waxhaw, North Carolina have joined the AWA Board of Directors as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.  Newly-elected 2013 Board Officers also include President Ann Larsen, of Edinburg, New York and Vice President Kathrine Lemke Waste of Sacramento, California.  A distinguished panel of Past Presidents and Master Signature members makes up the rest of the board, including Carol Swinney of Casper, Wyoming, Bethanne Kinsella Cople of Alexandra,Virginia and Nancy Boren of The Colony, Texas. 

 Star York: Sculpting a Future for Women in Fine Art  

Photo by Jack Kulawick / feature article by Nicole Cardoza  


Star York demonstrates technique at the 2012 Master Class for American Women Artists  

 AWA – An Idea Takes Shape

“I think we should be proud of the fact that what often distinguishes men from women is that women tend to be more nurturing – that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be part of a group that supports and helps women grow.”

             This was Star York’s motivation when she somewhat reluctantly became the first President of American Women Artists.

The idea for an organization to support women building careers in fine art was born out of an exhibit at the Tucson Museum of Art in 1990. The exhibit included York and fellow AWA members Joni Falk and Rosetta. It also featured work by Henriette Wyeth, the daughter of one of America’s most prolific illustrators, N.C. Wyeth. The experience exhibiting their work together inspired some of the women to organize their own show.

             Desiring to do more to promote women in the arts, they approached York to head the new organization. Already an established sculptor with a thriving career, York had been on the peripheral during those first few years when American Women Artists was not yet fully formed. She admits she had no desire to join an organization or go to a lot of meetings, but she wanted to do something for and with her peers.

             “So many artists work in isolation and I recognized that a lot of people just need some sort of help to move them from the level of aspiring artist to professional,” says York. “When you work in a vacuum sometimes you don’t know which way to go and it can mean the difference between making it or not.”

“Still this attitude…”

York has been making her living as an artist since high school, where an arts and crafts teacher with his own, small caster introduced her to sculpture.

             “I always thought my stronger suit was drawing, but learning to cast my own work gave me a push towards sculpture,” York says.”I loved the permanence of it – to take something soft and transform it into hard metal and I love the idea that you can touch it and experience it through your hands.”

York started out doing miniatures in silver and gold while studying in her home state of Maryland. In 1985, when York decided to move into doing larger pieces in bronze, she chose Santa Fe, New Mexico because it was home to the foundry she wanted to work with. New Mexico was also home to the well-known Shriver Gallery. York was encouraged by a friend to approach them about exhibiting her work. Six years later York was the bestselling artist in the gallery.

               “There was still this attitude that women artists were not of the same caliber as men,” York says, “but bronze art had become sort of trendy and people had got used to seeing women in that genre, which helped me.”

Inspired by Success

               Inspired by the success of the women artists who had gone before her, York and original American Women Artists board members Joan Potter and Sherrie McGraw shaped the direction AWA would take. They judged shows together, decided on awards and – when they were going through challenges-drew encouragement from the women of AWA.

             “Sometimes we’d pull out the letters from past award winners or people who had participated in the shows,'” York remembers. “It was so touching to find out what a little bit of a hand from us did to help the lives of these women.”

York’s office in Santa Fe became the AWA headquarters and her assistant, Trish Roque, put in the administrative hours necessary to establish American Women Artists as a non-profit organization.

“Mentoring was really one of the key things they wanted to provide, women artists helping women artists,” Roque says.       

Roque recalls those early days with fondness, laughing about dealing with physical mail instead of email, slides instead of digital photos and checks instead of PayPal.

“It was fun – I got a behind the scenes look at the life of an artist.” Roque says of her time working for York and subsequently AWA.  “There was lots of grunt work that needed to be done and it got done – if there were challenges I don’t remember them. It was fantastic, that’s what I remember.”


A Continuing Legacy

Star York’s work can be seen at the Manitou gallery in Santa Fe, New Meixco, the K. Newby Gallery in Tubac, Arizona,  the Medicine Man Gallery in Tucson, Arizona, The Signature Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona and at Sorrel Sky Gallery in Durango, Colorado. In 1999 York was honored with a solo exhibition at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

York continues to mentor women through American Women Artists, most recently teaching and demonstrating at the AWA 2012 Master Class in Tucson, Arizona.


The Dance, bronze, from York’s Ancestral Series: Mares of the Ice Age  

AWA Board and Officers 2013
Ann Larsen, President, Edinburg, NY
Kathrine Lemke Waste, Vice President, Sacramento, CA
Paula Holtzclaw, Secretary, Waxhaw, NC
Judeth Davis, Treasurer,Glendale, CA
Carol Swinney, Immediate Past President, Casper, WY
Bethanne Kinsella Cople, Past President, Alexandria, VA
Nancy Boren, Past President, The Colony, TX 

Join Us and Be a Part of a Great Group!
American Women Artists is now accepting Associate Artist Members. Women who draw, paint, or sculpt in a representational style – whether with a contemporary or traditional approach – are welcome and encouraged to apply for membership. For details, please click on Join Us under Quick Links in the box to the right. 

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