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Press Release: The State Museum of Pennsylvania Announces Finalists for 53rd Annual “Art of the State” Exhibition

August 24, 2020

Filed under Art of the State, Changing Exhibits, Exhibits, Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, Press Releases

Finalists have been announced for Art of the State 2020.

Art of the State is an annual juried exhibition that has been showcasing the work of Pennsylvania’s artists at The State Museum of Pennsylvania since 1968. The body of art that has been exhibited reflects over a half-century of creative endeavor in the Keystone State. Through the years, exhibitors have shared their ideas and engaged viewers in the categories of painting, photography, craft, sculpture, and work on paper.

Since The State Museum remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, winners of the 53rd annual exhibit will be announced via social media on Sunday, September 13, during a pre-recorded awards ceremony at 2:00 PM, rather than the usual awards ceremony in a packed auditorium.  Concurrent to the awards announcement, a 360-degree virtual exhibit is slated to launch allowing virtual visitors to “walk through” the 6,000 square foot gallery and see works featured in this year’s exhibit.  With “hot spots” containing details of each artwork and videos of larger installations, the intent is to replicate the feeling on an in person visit to the gallery. For those who cannot wait, a preview of featured artworks is available online.

The September 13 virtual awards ceremony will be distributed via Facebook and Twitter.  The 360-degree virtual exhibit, an exhibit catalogue pdf, and programming announcements can be accessed on the Art of the State 2020 landing page.

The exhibit includes 108 works of art from 109 artists from 29 counties. Finalists were selected from 1901 entries from 680 artists.

Selection jurors reviewed and rated all artwork submitted. Those with the highest ratings in each category are featured in the exhibition. The awards juror will determine the prize winners in each of the categories.

This year’s selection jurors are:

Lauren Frances Adams

Adams is a painter and installation artist who teaches painting at Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and completed her MFA in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University. Her work engages political and social histories through iconic images and domestic ornament. She has exhibited at Nymans House National Trust, The Walters Art Museum, the Mattress Factory, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Recent projects include Smack Mellon in Brooklyn and a site-specific collaborative public art project with Stewart Watson at a historic tavern museum in Alexandria, Virginia. She is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA award and a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation award. She is the winner of the 2016 Trawick Prize. Lauren is a founding member of Ortega y Gasset Projects, a project space in New York.

Clara Lieu

Lieu is an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design and a partner at Artprof.org, a free website for learning visual arts. Her drawings, prints, and sculpture have been exhibited at the International Print Center New York, Bromfield Gallery, the Danforth Museum of Art, Mark Miller Gallery, the Currier Museum of Art, Childs Gallery, and the Davis Museum. Lieu has received artist grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and the Puffin Foundation.

Ron Tarver

Tarver is visiting assistant professor of Studio Art at Swarthmore College. He previously had been a staff photojournalist for 32 years at The Philadelphia Inquirer, sharing a 2012 Pulitzer Prize. While at the Inquirer he was nominated for three additional Pulitzers and honored with awards from World Press Photos and the Sigma Delta Chi Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, among others. He is coauthor of the book We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, published by Harper Collins. Tarver is recipient of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts. He has received funding and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and two Independence Foundation fellowships. His fine art has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in many museum, corporate and private collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

This year’s awards juror is:

Susan E. Cahan

Cahan is an art historian, curator and educator who specializes in contemporary art and the history of museums. She is dean and professor of art history at Temple University Tyler School of Art and Architecture. Cahan holds a PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York and a BA in art history and English from Tufts University. Her research focuses on the relationship between social and artistic change and the confluence of factors that shape the way culture is imagined, discussed and advanced. Cahan served as dean for the arts at Yale College, 2009–2017. Prior to this she was the Des Lee Professor in Contemporary Art and an associate dean at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. From 1994 to 2003, she was a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and has served as a visiting professor in the department of art at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1996 to 2001 Cahan served as the senior curator for the private collection of Eileen and Peter Norton and director of arts programs for the Peter Norton Family Foundation. She has held positions at the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a recipient of an Arts Writer’s Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, among other awards.

More than $7,000 in cash awards will be presented during a virtual award ceremony broadcast via social media on Sunday, September 13 at 2:00 PM. A first prize of $500, second prize of $300, and third prize of $200 will be awarded in each of the five categories. The William D. David Memorial Award for Drawing, in the amount of $250, will also be presented.

The State Museum will select one of the pieces of art for its permanent collection for its Purchase Prize. An Art Docents’ Choice Award will also be presented.

Art of State is presented by The State Museum of Pennsylvania in association with the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation.

The Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation is the nonprofit partner of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, the state agency charged with collecting, preserving, researching and interpreting the treasures of Pennsylvania. Through private contributions, PHF supports PHMC in protecting and providing access to 24 historic sites and museums, approximately 9 million objects, and more than 250 million archival items.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 24 historic sites and museums administered by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History. The State Museum offers expansive collections interpreting Pennsylvania’s fascinating heritage. With exhibits examining the dawn of geologic time, the Native American experience, the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, a pivotal Civil War battleground, and the commonwealth’s vast industrial age, The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania’s story is America’s story.

For more information about Art of the State 2020 and The State Museum, visit www.statemuseumpa.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639


Artists selected to exhibit at the 2020 “Art of the State” competition listed by county:

Adams County

Jack Handshaw

Joh Ricci

Allegheny County

Alan Byrne

Laura Domencic

Catherine Drabkin

Sandra Moore

Marian Phillips

Sue Reno

Silvija Singh

Benjamin Thomas

Jennifer Rempel

Bedford County

George Radeschi

Berks County

Lorraine Abrunzo

Nicolas Bowen

Martha Ressler

Steve Scheuring

Douglas Wunder

Bucks County

Wayne Hibschman

Amedeo Salamoni

Lisa McGovern

Centre County

Linda Hale

Anni Matsick

Chester County

Caryn L. Hetherston

Francine Renee Schneider

Columbia County

Oren Helbok

Cumberland County

Elaine Haag

Jeff Hubert

Hannah Steele

Marjaneh Talebi

Karen Troyer

Marc VanDyke

Kathryn Yoder

Harold Zabady

Dauphin County

Andrew Guth

Ryan Spahr

Delaware County

Laura Ducceschi

Thomas Ferrie

Toni Kersey

Lois Sellers

Erie County

Jamia Borowicz

Tom Hubert

Huntingdon County

Stephen Tuttle

Indiana County

Sean Derry

Lackawanna County

Peter Hoffer

Lancaster County

Daniel Burns

Scott Cantrell

Amy Edwards

Bob Hughes

Becky McDonah

Christopher Pollock

Janette Toth-Musser

Shelby Wormley

Lebanon County

Beverlee Lehr

Isaac Pelepko

Luzerne County

Robert Bergstrasser

Richard Huck

Nikki Moser

Travis Prince

Curtis Salonick

Lycoming County

Nguyen Johnson

David Moyer

David Stabley

Monroe County

Susie Forrester

James Gwynne

Joni Oye-Benintende

Montgomery County

Robert Arnosky

Sarah Bloom

Cynthia Goodman Brantley

Maureen Drdak

Laura Madeleine

Nancy Nalbandian

Rita Siemienski Smith

John Stritzinger

Christine Webb

Susannah Thomer

Northumberland County

Sanh Tran


Jimmy Clark

Jerry DiFalco

James Erikson

Lexus Gore

Elizabeth Heller

John Hurd Jones

Suzanne Bonsall Kahn

Martha Kent Martin

Nancy Middlebrook

Quantum Liq and Mike Pavol

Mia Rosenthal

Brian Skalaski

Janine Wang and Brian Skalaski

Schuylkill County

Lorraine Felker

Rob Mull

Valerie Perez-Prosick

Michael Pyrdsa

Somerset County

Margaret Black

Union County

Eddy A. Lopez

Mark Mahosky

Wayne County

Ellen Silberlicht

Westmoreland County

Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer

Patty Kennedy-Zafred

Kevin O’Toole

Mandy Sirofchuck

Paul Sirofchuck

Stuart Thompson

York County

Paul Chaplin

Jo Margolis

Catherine Prescott

Theodore Prescott

Autumn Wright