Systemic Racism and Recent Violence – A Statement from the Board

We stand in solidarity with those who demand change in the fight against the systemic racism that has been perpetrated against people of color throughout the history of this nation. We will not remain silent while people of color suffer disproportionately and brutally at the hands of our prejudiced criminal justice system. We too must take responsibility for the part we have played within this system of oppression. Systemic racism, which has permeated every aspect of life for people of color, will not end until the intentional and long-standing inequity in housing, healthcare, education, economic and political power is rectified. The daily violence against people who are black and the resulting widespread protests against this violence has created a palpable sense of urgency in this work.

One year ago, we, as an organization, began to focus on creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization across leadership and membership. We began by participating in a program offered through Nonprofit Enterprise at Work called Champions for Change. The Champions for Change program works to build capacity for racial equity leadership in Washtenaw County. As a result, we are now making fundamental changes to our organization. In this work, we found that our name, Ann Arbor Women Artists, is a barrier not only to diversifying our membership but also in collaboratively working with other nonprofits. We are in the process of changing our name and have rewritten our values to emphasize these goals. 

We are creating proactive policies to engage with local nonprofits and communities to increase diversity within our membership and developing new programs such as a mentorship program to assure we are meeting the needs of all our members in an equitable manner. This is a beginning – we have much to learn and more to do.

We, as a nonprofit, have a responsibility to and are working to assure all members feel welcome, heard, and supported. We have created new opportunities to bring members together to form new friendships, to share perspectives, and to start new collaborations.

We are committed to assuring our values – diversity, equity and inclusion – permeate every aspect of our work. They will be kept at the forefront in our teaching, learning, creating, innovating and collaborating in the fight against systemic racism.

Our Values

Personal honesty, integrity and respect in our work as a board, membership, and community members

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership, membership, and community engagement

Passion for teaching, learning, creativity, innovation, and sharing

Collaborative community approach connecting members and collaborating

Virtual Critiques

Open To All AAWA Members

Virtual Critiques

You will need access to the internet during the critique, and a built-in camera/microphone on your device or a webcam, as we will be using Zoom.

There is a limit of 7 people for each critique group, first come, first served. Please send a message to AAWA on Facebook/Instagram or contact Payton Cook directly to participate.

Spring 2020 Online Juried Exhibit

Our Spring Juried Exhibit was scheduled to be held in the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor from late March through April. Unfortunately, the global COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the in-person exhibit.

In place of a physical exhibit, we have assembled a virtual exhibit for you here. Please enjoy this slideshow of the beautiful pieces selected by our juror, Ed Kennedy, and read his remarks below.

  • FIRST PLACE: Blooming | Watercolor & Gold Ink | 18x12" | $295 | Tia Sunshine Dye
  • SECOND PLACE: Szabadsag Ter | Watercolor | 14x11" | NFS | Patricia Davenport
  • THIRD PLACE: Girl in the Grass | Fabric and Colored Pencil | 11x14" | $500 | Alessandra Lipman
  • HONORABLE MENTION: Time Can Be So Sweet | Oil | 36x48" | $2250 | Sue Cutler
  • HONORABLE MENTION: Alaskan River of Ice | Photography | 10x30" | $550 | Betsy Finn
  • HONORABLE MENTION: Elizabeth and Her Knots | Oil | 18x9" | $1000 | Brein Harpster
  • HONORABLE MENTION: Heat Wave | Pastel | 18x24" | $1200 | Bob Palmerton
  • Horse Kiss | Oil | 30x30" | Eva Antebi-Lerman
  • Pesticide Casualty Costa Rica | Graphite & Colored Pencil | 21x22" | Judith Bemis
  • Detroit: Andrea & Rooster | Acrylic | 20x20" | Barbara Boyce
  • Traverse City Super Ruben | Acrylic | 21x27" | NFS | Barbara Boyce
  • Segovian Geraniums | Watercolor | 30x24" | $750 | Cheryle Chidester
  • Gifts - Water & Soil | Acrylic | 22x18" | NFS | Mary Eldridge
  • Keweenaw | Acrylic | 14.5x14.5" | $125 | Mary Eldridge
  • Little Boy Blue | Digital Painting | 16x16" | NFS | Betsy Finn
  • National Park: Portugal | Collagraph | 18x32" | $355 | Kath Frajbis
  • Hocking Hills | Woodcut | 16x22" | $425 | Dennis Gordon
  • Jennabelle in Peachy Pink | Oil | 13.5x10.5" | $450 | Catherine Hetherington
  • Cabbage | Watercolor | 12x16" | $225 | Aiko Holt
  • Contemplation | Pastel | 12x10" | NFS | Marie Howard
  • Beatnik Dave | Linocut Print | 11.5x9.5" | NFS | Faith Jasmund
  • Frida | Charcoal | 25.5x21.5" | NFS | Faith Jasmund
  • Vibrant City | Pastel | 12x9" | $425 | Linda Klenczar
  • Tree of Life | Colored Pencil | 36x11" | $480 | Laila Kujala
  • Berries | Photography | 11x14" | $250 | Pamela Lindberg
  • Sunflower | Photography | 11x14" | $250 | Pamela Lindberg
  • Inubiyori 200110 | Watercolor | 10x7" | NFS | Yoshiko Mishina
  • Summer Explosion | Watercolor | 20x26" | $450 | Mary Murphy
  • Bromeliads | Watercolor | 15x14" | $300 | Nancy Murray
  • Going Home | Photography | 24x16" | $250 | Ann O'Hagan
  • Purple Mountain Majesty | Pastel | 12x18" | $800 | Bob Palmerton
  • Iris in the Sun | Watercolor | 10x10" | $225 | Teri Pattison
  • Summer: A Rose is a Rose | Watercolor Crayon | 24x18" | $450 | Carole Pawloski
  • Yellow Light Day and Time | Mixed Media | 9x12" | NFS | Brittany Roden
  • Mexican Sunflowers | Mosaic | 17x17" | $350 | Lynlee Sky
  • Jordyn in a Mood | Graphite Pencil | 23x18" | NFS | Karen Smith
  • Interiors | Acrylic | 16x12" | NFS | Laurie Wechter
  • The Assignment | Oil | 25x19.5" | NFS | Bob Wesley
  • Dad is Snoozing | Oil | 25x20" | $500 | Lesli Weston
  • Burntside Evening | Photography | 15.5x23.5" | $325 | James Whiteside


Juror’s Statement

The AAWA show is challenging as a judge, not only because of the number of high quality works submitted, but also due to the variety of media and subject matter.  My criteria for selecting artwork for inclusion into the show as well as selecting awards were based on fundamentals that I believe transcends both medium and subject matter.  For me, the first criteria being overall impact.  The work must capture my attention.  It should hold my attention and want me to explore the work longer, moving my eye throughout the work.  The work should illustrate good design principles.  It does not matter if the artwork is a sculpture, photograph, painting or a drawing.  Design matters.  I look to see if the artist has good command of their selected medium such as good drawing skills, the use of color, understanding of edges, texture, material, value, etc.  For example, photographs should show that the artist understands focus, exposure, etc. Drawings should demonstrate an understanding of line, shading, proportion, etc.  Even so, there still remains preferences that each judge may have, including me. So do not be discouraged if your work was not selected into the show or if you did not win an award.  All of the work I reviewed was wonderful and perhaps next time….

Notes on the award winners:

1st place – Blooming:  This work checks all the boxes.  The design is well thought out.  The relative position of the heads, the gaze of the eyes, the use of flowers all help orchestrate movement of your eye through out the painting.  The artist also understands color and in particular its restraint.  Drawings and proportions are spot on.  A wonderful work.

2nd place – Szabadsag:  The artist captures the feeling of light and atmoshere on a warm fall day.  There is an understanding of perspective and design that invites the viewer into the painting.  It has a wonderful color harmony that enhances the subject.  It certainly reminds me of a fall day in Ann Arbor and I would love to go sit on that bench.

3rd place – Girl on the Grass:  This work is well executed.  Although a simple subject (a girl on grass) the artist understands design and can draw.  The background compliments the subject and heightens attention on the girl.  The variety of texture and shapes adds interest without distracting from the focal point. I can only imagine how the actual texture of the fabric would add to the overall feel of this work.  Well done.

Congratulations to all of the winners:

  • First Place: “Blooming” by Tia Dye Sunshine
  • Second Place: “Szadbag Ter” by Patricia Davenport
  • Third Place: “Girl on the Grass” by Alessandra Lipman
  • Honorable Mention: “Alaskan River of Ice” by Betsy Finn
  • Honorable Mention: “Elizabeth and Her Knots” by Brein Harpster
  • Honorable Mention: “Time Can Be So Sweet” by Sue Cutler
  • Honorable Mention: “Heat Wave” by Bob Palmerton