TACOMA, WA.- Tacoma Art Museum and the Behnke Foundation have collaborated to present an exhibition that honors the recipients of the Behnke Foundation’s Neddy Artist Fellowship, one of the few major awards granted to visual artists in the Northwest. A Decade of Excellence: Celebrating the Neddy Artist Fellowship opens Saturday, January 29 at Tacoma Art Museum, and features various artworks by the fourteen artists who have been awarded since 1996.
The Neddy Artist Fellowship is granted to Northwest artists who demonstrate artistic excellence, innovation, unique vision, and a commitment to their art and community. It was organized in 1995 by the Behnke Foundation as a memorial to Robert E. (Ned) Behnke (1948–1989), a prolific painter in the Northwest. Although it was originally conceived as an award for painters, the fellowship has since expanded to recognize sculptors, printmakers, and photographers.
“The Neddy,” as the fellowship is often called, is an important acknowledgement of the talent and vigor of regional artists. A Decade of Excellence showcases the skill and passion of the fellowship artists and furthers the museum’s mission of presenting Northwest art. This exhibition also assists in achieving the Benhke Foundation’s goal of fostering a vital artist community in the Northwest.
“By presenting this exhibition, we not only increase awareness of the quality of artistic excellence in the Northwest, but we also recognize the Behnke’s generosity in acknowledging the efforts of Northwest artists,” noted Tacoma Art Museum Curator Rock Hushka. “A Decade of Excellence showcases some of the strongest artwork in the Northwest and honors the artists who have been awarded for their achievements.”
Neddy award-winners and artists represented in this retrospective include Michael Spafford, Juan Alonso, Cris Bruch, Donnabelle Casis, Laurie Chambers, Claire Cowie, Susan Dory, Claudia Fitch, Dionne Haroutunian, Doug Keyes, Mark Takamichi Miller, Jeffry Mitchell, Mary Ann Peters, and Benjamin Wilkins. The exhibition is comprised of more than fifty works, including paintings, sculpture, prints, and photography dating from 1986 to 2005. The works were selected primarily from the artists’ studios and local private collections with additional works from Tacoma Art Museum’s permanent collection.
A Decade of Excellence is on view through June 5, 2005. Other offerings at Tacoma Art Museum include Marsden Hartley: American Modern, on display through May 1, 2005, and Building Tradition: Gifts in Honor of the Northwest Art Collection, through September 11, 2005. Also on view is A Sense of Place: Selections from the Tacoma Art Museum Collection, through January 2006, and the museum’s Dale Chihuly Collection, on permanent display.