Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Santiago Is My Pick

By F. Lennox Campello

Santiago Is My Pick

Nicole Santiago

In 2005, the Bethesda Painting Awards were established by local DMV business owner and art collector Carol Trawick. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda and established The Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation in 2007. She is the former Chair of the Maryland State Arts Council, Strathmore, Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. and founder of The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards.

She also puts her money where her mouth is and funds not only this regional painting award, but also the equally wonderful Trawick Prize.

 Erin Redeke
Gina Gwen Palacios

Eight painters have been selected as finalists for the Bethesda Painting Awards. Nearly 300 artists from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. submitted work to the 15th annual competition created to exclusively honor regional painters. The work of the eight finalists will be on display at Gallery B in Bethesda (the former Fraser Gallery) from June 5-29, 2019.

The Best in Show winner will be awarded $10,000, second place will be honored with $2,000 and third place will be awarded $1,000.

The artists selected as finalists are:

Mary Anne Arntzen, Baltimore, MD

Taha Heydari, Baltimore, MD

Lillian Bayley Hoover, Baltimore, MD

Gina Gwen Palacios, Baltimore, MD

Erin Raedeke, Montgomery Village, MD

W.C. Richardson, University Park, MD

Nicole Santiago, Williamsburg, VA

McKinley Wallace III, Baltimore, MD

A public opening will be held on Friday, June 14th from 6-8pm. Gallery B is located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite E in downtown Bethesda. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 12-6pm.

The competition’s jurors are Kyle Hackett, Professor of Studio Art, American University, and the 2014 Bethesda Painting Awards Winner; Sue Johnson, Professor of Art, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Susan Zurbrigg, Painting and Drawing Area Head, Professor of Art, James Madison University.

Based on the images that I’ve seen so far, and essentially based on this gorgeous painting, my fave so far is Nicole Santiago… by the way, I suspect that by the time this article sees print, the winner would have been announced – so let’s see how close I came to nailing this puppy.

Santiago’s paintings are overly crowded delights of enviable technical skill and narrative clues – she takes the classical Greek concept of “fear of empty space” to new levels of contemporary meaning as we struggle to decipher and understand all the clues and visual crumbs that she leaves behind in each painting!

Nicole M. Santiago holds a BFA in studio art from Indiana University and an MFA in painting from the University of New Hampshire. She is primarily a figure painter/ drawer who focuses on domestic scenes and layered familial narratives. Over the past 20 years, Santiago has shown in more than 100 group/solo exhibitions. She is currently a member of the First Street Gallery in New York City. Her works have also been published in several respected art publications including The Artist’s Magazine, Art New England, and International Painting Annual 1 (INPA-1). Santiago has also taught studio art at a variety of institutions including the University of New Hampshire, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire Institute of Art, Oregon State University and Berea College. She is an associate professor of art at the College of William & Mary where she teaches drawing, color theory and design… and she’s a really good painter as well!

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