Artist Trust Announces 2019 Twining Humber and SOLA Awards

Published: June 3, 2019

Categories: Featured | Grants & Fellowships | Press Releases

June 3, 2019 – Artist Trust awards the 2019 Irving and Yvonne Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement  to Sherry Markovitz of Seattle. The Twining Humber Award is an unrestricted award of $10,000 given annually to a Washington State self-identified woman visual artist, age 60 or over, who has dedicated 25 years or more to creating art. The award is made possible by a generous gift to the Artist Trust Endowment Fund by Yvonne Twining Humber.

A Seattle resident since 1970s, Markovitz is a painter and sculptor. She’s best known for her beaded animal heads and dolls, which are painted and decorated with buttons, feathers, sequins, artificial flowers, and other materials. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and museums nationally and internationally, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto. Sherry is represented locally by Greg Kucera Gallery. She was selected for the Twining Humber Award for her artistic excellence and longtime dedication to her craft.

“Sherry Markovitz has made one of the most original bodies of sculptural work ever to be formed in the Northwest,” says Greg Kucera. “She is a profoundly private artist whose work has engaged the public in very emotional and intellectual ways without her own presence necessarily being part of it. Throughout her career, Markovitz has created works that challenge commonly held notions of female decoration and craft by taking her work to the outer limits of each, nearly to a heroic level. Influenced by a broad range or ethnic and cultural traditions from around the world, she has been able to reference many historical eras in her work. By taking the decorative notion of beading into contemporary art, she has influenced a number of other artists in the region and the nation.”

This year Artist Trust also offered the SOLA Awards, three $3,000 unrestricted grants. Founded in 2016 by Ruffner, SOLA, which stands for Support Old Lady Artists, was created to honor and reward women artists over the age of 60 for their energy, vision, persistence, and dedication to maintaining creative momentum over the long haul.

“Recognition and financial remuneration are often scarce for women artists, even those who have been making art for over 20 years,” says Ruffner. “That’s why I founded SOLA, a nonprofit with a flippant name but a solid acronym, because I am serious about my commitment to give back to my community.”

This year’s SOLA Awards recipients are interdisciplinary artist Mary Coss of Seattle; printmaker and collage artist MalPina Chan of Olympia; and jewelry artist Nancy Worden of Seattle. Each artist has been a fixture in the Northwest for many years, and they have contributed to their arts communities through their work at METHOD Gallery, Puget Sound Book Artists, and Seattle Metals Guild respectively.

“We’re so grateful for Ginny Ruffner and the SOLA board’s partnership in expanding this important program recognizing established women artists,” says Shannon Halberstadt, Artist Trust CEO. “Ginny is a beloved artist in our region, and SOLA only adds to her legacy as an innovator.”

Artist Trust received 50 applications for the 2019 Twining Humber & SOLA Awards. The applications were reviewed and the awardees were selected by an independent peer-review panel consisting of visual artists Norie Sato of Seattle, June Sekiguchi of Tacoma, and Barbara Sternberger of Bellingham.

About Artist Trust
Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in Washington State artists since its founding in 1986, through grant programs and direct support. Artist Trust also provides a comprehensive suite of career training and professional development resources to help artists achieve their career goals.

Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Find out more at

More information about the recipients and panelists is below.

2019 Twining Humber & SOLA Awards Recipients

Sherry Markovitz (born 1947, Chicago, Illinois) received her BA from the University of Wisconsin in 1969, and moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where she earned her MFA in 1975. Markovitz’s early collaged paintings were on unstretched canvas or board, occasionally embellished with beads and ribbons. In the 1980s, that decorative impulse led to a series of fully beaded animal heads suggesting feminine trophy heads. In the 1990s, Markovitz developed wholly abstract works constructed from organic papier machê forms, still beaded, but much more restrained. By 2000, Markovitz began a series of doll images in beaded sculptures and also watercolor works on paper. The 2000s brought forth a number of other beaded sculptures based on stuffed animals followed by paintings of dolls and then, by 2012, dogs painted on unstretched cotton. In the last few years, Markovitz has created linear forms using pliable, looping branches, covered in beading.

MalPina Chan was born in California and received a BFA from Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana. After relocating to the Northwest, MalPina continued her studies in printmaking, artist books, kiln-formed glass, and photography. Her primary method is mixed media, printmaking, and collage incorporated into prints, artist books, and glass works. The context of MalPina’s work is woven together from her identity as an Asian American, a woman, and a mother. She is interested in cultural inheritance and societal pressures on personal culture. Her exploration of social justice, inclusion, equality, immigration, cultural shifts, our collective history, and current discourse propels her work. The Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development program and the award of the James & Janie Washington Foundation Artist-in-Residency enriched MalPina’s studio practice. In 2012, an Artist Trust GAP Award supported her studies at the Pilchuck Glass School. MalPina’s work was featured in the inaugural “INK THIS!” exhibition at Tacoma Art Museum, “Local Heroes” exhibit in the Sherry Grover Gallery – Bainbridge island Museum of Art, “Beyond Talk: Redrawing Race” at the Wing Asian Art Museum, “Just One Look” Allen Library – Special Collections UW, and the “EMERGE” at Bullseye Glass Gallery in Portland OR. Her artist books are included in the publications 500 Handmade Books Vol. 2 and 1000 Artists’ Books. MalPina’s work can be found in public and private collections: the Cynthia Sears Collection – Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, the libraries of University of Washington, University of Puget Sound, Evergreen State College, the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, plus Harborview Hospital and UW Medical Center. MalPina is a founding member of Puget Sound Book Artists and continues to serve on the board. She also works as a curator, mentor, and educator.

Mary Coss is a Seattle interdisciplinary visual artist whose haunting projects provide commentary on the human condition. Born in Detroit, Coss received an MFA from Syracuse University, Dept. of Experimental Studios then traveled the country, settling in the Northwest where she actively exhibits, curates, and mentors young artists. Coss re-contextualizes common artifacts using abstraction to explore issues of identity, memory, and social justice. She works outside categorical distinction moving fluidly between conceptual and social art practices, installation and traditional sculpture, poetry, and digital media. Coss exhibits extensively through the US, showing at several Northwest museums and internationally. Her public art is found in public housing, parks, and schools throughout the Northwest. Travel is integral to her work, with residencies and cultural exchanges through Eastern and Western Europe and South and Central America. The critically acclaimed Layers of the Hijab, a three-year social engagement project, received financial support from the NEA and the city of Seattle. Recognized through grants from Artist Trust, 4Culture, and Ford and Puffin Foundations, her work, Public Debt to the Suffragette, received the “Art to Change the World: Inspiring Social Justice” Special Recognition Award from the ACLU at ArtPrize. Coss’s community and cultural work includes co-founding a rape crisis center that flourishes after 30 years, a public art program teaching youth employable skills in southeast Seattle, METHOD, an artist-run installation gallery, and Seattle’s light festival, Borealis.

Nancy Worden received her BA in studio art from Central Washington University in 1977 and an MFA from the University of Georgia in 1980. She has been exhibiting her work in the US and Europe for more than 30 years. Her jewelry can be found in major public collections including the Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia as well as many private collections. Her work has been published in Ornament, Metalsmith, American Craft, Sculpture, ARTnews , and many books. In 2009, the Tacoma Art Museum organized a midcareer survey of Worden’s work and produced a full-length monograph, Loud Bones: The Jewelry of Nancy Worden. Worden has been an Artist Trust Fellowship recipient (2005) and was named a Distinguished Alumni of the Year at Central Washington University (2004). She lives in Seattle where she produces artwork that comments on human behavior.

2019 Twining Humber & SOLA Awards Panelists

Norie Sato, artist, Seattle
June Sekiguchi, artist, Tacoma
Barbara Sternberger, artist, Bellingham


About Artist Trust
Artist Trust is a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Since its founding in 1986, Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in individual artists through grant programs, and provides a comprehensive suite of professional development training and resources to help artists achieve their career goals. Learn more at