Thursday, June 14, 2012

Art of the Portrait 2012: Day 2,
The Awards Banquet

Chairman Edward Jonas

The big occasion of the Art of the Portrait Conference is always the Awards Banquet and Gala, held on the Saturday evening of the event weekend.  During the reception, the International Portrait Competition award winners - including the William Draper Grand Prize recipient - are announced, recognition is given to attendees with the most outstanding portfolios, the Leadership in the Fine Arts Award is presented, the Gold Medal is awarded for lifetime achievement in the arts, and a keynote address is given by the guest of honor.  It is a non-stop and exciting event where artists honor their own, and as such, has previously been considered the Academy Awards® of portrait and figurative art.

Cocktail reception before the banquet.

Attendees waiting for the banquet room doors to open.

At 7:00 PM, the door opened to the ballroom, and banquet attendees began streaming through the doors to find seats for the evening.  Very shortly after everyone was seated, dinner was served, complete with an art-themed dessert.  Once the audience was well sated, it was time for the ceremonies to begin.

Michael Shane Neal with the 2012 Portfolio Winners 

William Draper Grand Prize Winner Julio Reyes leaving the stage after receiving his award from Jack Richeson.

Lou Wetmore

The 2012 banquet will likely be remembered as one of the most emotional award events in the history of the Art of the Portrait.  After the portfolio and portrait competition awards were handed out, Lou Wetmore came to the stage and gave a humorous and touching memorial to his older brother Gordon.  The tribute, which was followed by a short film by Tony Pro dedicated to the fallen Chairman, was filled with funny stories about Gordon's entry into the art field and how Lou has mischievously masqueraded as Gordon at past conferences to gain accolades meant for his sibling.   But the overall message was one of love and pride, and also of gratitude, as Lou felt Gordon would be happy knowing his vision for the Portrait Society of America was still moving forward.  This was later followed by the Gold Medal presentation to Marshall Bouldin, in which Bouldin was introduced by his son Jason Bouldin.  The younger Bouldin's emotions were hard for him to keep in check as he presented a man who was mentor, friend, and colleague, as well as father.  By the time the elder Bouldin had graciously and humbly accepted his award, and offered his thoughts on being an artist, there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd.

Wende Caporale presenting the Wetmore Leadership in the Fine Arts Award to Derek A. Gillman

Derek Gillman

Jason Bouldin giving a touching introduction of the 2012 Gold Medal Award winner, his father, Marshall Bouldin.

"Happiness is a by-product of trying to obtain a goal." ~ Marshall Bouldin

Edward Jonas presenting the Gold Medal Award to Marshall Bouldin.

"Isn't it great to be an artist?" Bouldin asked the audience.  Bouldin, born in 1923, announced his plans to retire from painting in 2024.

Derek A. Gillman, President of the Barnes Foundation and Museum, gives the keynote address.

Derek Gillman President and Executive Director of the Barnes Foundation and Museum had the unenviable task of taking the stage twice;  once after Lou Wetmore, and then again after Marshall Bouldin.  Had these been bookings on The Tonight Show, he could easily have claimed he had a terrible agent.  Gillman even joked that he planned never to follow children, animals, or Marshall Bouldin onstage again.  But Gillman is no stranger to taking front-and-center in a difficult situation.  When he was appointed to lead the Barnes Foundation, it was during a period of many years of contention and controversy, yet he took the helm and helped guide this educational institution during its move from suburban Philadelphia to Center City.  It was for this stewardship that he was awarded the newly-re-named Wetmore Leadership in the Fine Arts Award.  His slide presentation later in the program introduced those unfamiliar with the late Andrew Barnes, to the eccentric collector's assortment of Modern and traditional art.

David Gluck, Kate Stone, and Gregory Mortenson

David Kassan, Candice Bohannon, and Julio Reyes

With 20 Finalists and 30 Certificate of Excellence Winners, it was difficult to fit everyone on the stage!

When the banquet ended, many of the conference-goers headed to the hotel lobby to celebrate and socialize into the early hours of the next day.


David Gluck said...

Holy crap, look at the pic of me with all the other finalists. I have this "hark, a deer over yonder" dumb expression on my face. Man, I rule.

jane said...

I'm just amazed at seeing so many artists in suits. All at the same time. Wow.

Alexandra Tyng said...

Unfortunately I couldn't find a suit, so I had to wear a dress!

Thanks so much for the synopsis, Matt! It's fun to relive the excitement of the awards banquet.