Monday, April 30, 2012

Hunting Art Prize Gala 2012

This past Saturday, April 28, Steve and I had the privilege of attending a black tie event in Houston: the 2012 Hunting Art Prize Gala. The Hunting Art Prize, a $50,000 award given to one lucky Texas artist each year, is the most generous art prize in the United States. This year there were 1600 entries, and my painting, "Music of the Spheres" was one of 105 finalists juried into the show. The event is one night only, and consists of elaborate flower displays and ice sculptures, fancy food and expensive wine, and a select group of special guests. The best part for the finalists is that they not only have the opportunity to win 50K, but they can also sell their piece at the event. All artwork sales go directly to the artist, but are also matched by Hunting to be donated to charity. It is really an amazing event! My painting, "Twin Arts," was a finalist last year, but I was unable to attend the gala. This year I didn't want to miss it! So Steve and I found a dog sitter, drove the 4 1/2 hours to Houston, and checked into a nice hotel. We dressed to the nines and headed to the event, which was held at the Friedkin Companies Campus in Houston.

My painting had a great spot. People would come all the way across the room to look at it, because it drew them in. Ah, the power of figurative art! :-)

Here I am with my painting. We had to ship it to Houston, due to its size - I was relieved to see that it made it there in one piece! 

My painting was actually hanging next to the winner (on the right in the photo above). This year's winner was a Houston artist named Michael Bise. His winning piece was a large graphite drawing of a grade school class. There were curious-looking circles scattered throughout the drawing, which made for an interesting topic of discussion among those of us who hadn't a clue what they meant!

Sushi chefs.

Ice sculptures and desserts!

Human statues, and elaborate floral displays.

Here I am taking a closer look at the winning piece and discussing it with one of the other guests.

Steve and I both agreed that, compared to the art festivals I've been a part of in the past, this event was completely different. The guests here loved and appreciated art, and wanted to take the time to look at it and talk to the artists. By comparison, visitors to art festivals tend to breeze by or avoid eye contact with the artists, because they're afraid of getting solicited, or they are simply ignorant about art. This was not the case at the Hunting gala! Steve and I really had a great time mingling with guests, eating food, drinking wine, and enjoying the overall atmosphere, which celebrated art and culture.

And at the end of the night, I was proud to say that I SOLD my piece! There is no greater compliment to an artist or affirmation of their work than when someone is willing to purchase it! I am thrilled that "Music of the Spheres" has found a new home.

The next day, Steve and I explored Houston a little before heading back to Dallas. We visited Hermann Park (complete with an outdoor theatre, an obelisk, Japanese gardens, and a large sculpture of Sam Houston), and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The museum has a fantastic collection, including a beautiful portrait by Sargent.

"Mrs. Joshua Montgomery Sears," by John Singer Sargent (1899)

Overall, we had a great experience, and I look forward to entering this competition again next year!



  1. Congratulations! What an amazing honor - and it looked like a wonderful experience!

  2. Congratulations Anna! You truly are an amazing artist. :O)


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