Artist Trust awards the 2020 Irving and Yvonne Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement to Ross Palmer Beecher of Seattle and three SOLA Awards to Susan Bennerstrom of Bellingham, Carol Gouthro of Seattle, and Barbara Sternberger of Bellingham.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, 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.
For the second year Artist Trust also offered the SOLA Awards, three $3,000 unrestricted grants. Founded in 2016 by Ginny 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.
“In this time of turmoil, it feels especially important to support these four exceptional artists, whose artistic practice collectively goes back over eight decades,” Artist Trust Board President Mark Olthoff shared. “Their ingenuity and dedication to the work are inspiring, and their lived experiences as women artists teach us that working through difficult times is part of having a long-time creative path.”
Ross Palmer Beecher (2020 Twining Humber Recipient) grew up in Riverside, CT. She came to Seattle in 1978 and began to make political cartoons as hand-colored Xerox prints at Pike Place Market before she made found object art. She joined the Greg Kucera Gallery in 1986, where she has had more than ten one-person exhibitions and been exhibited in many thematic exhibitions. In 1980, Community Psychiatric Clinic offered her a part-time job running their art program. When the AIDS epidemic broke out, Bailey-Boushay House hired her to run its art therapy program. She’s now 63, single, and still enjoying doing patient care there through the art program. Working with patients to make art informs her own art-making. Surveys of Beecher’s work have been exhibited at the Hallie Ford Museum in Salem, OR; the Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA; the Seattle Art Museum, and the Portland Art Museum.
Susan Bennerstrom (2020 SOLA Recipient) grew up in an old farmhouse in the woods in undeveloped Bellevue. She studied art and art history at WWU from 1967 to 1970, at which point she dropped out and hitchhiked for six months in Europe in order to go to museums and fill her head with art. Travel continues to be an essential part of her process, re-igniting her imagination and passion for the visual world. Finishing her degree felt like unfinished business, and she returned to WWU in 2018 to complete her BFA. Susan has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and has received a number of awards, including a Pollock-Krasner Award, a Ballinglen Arts Foundation Fellowship, a Betty Bowen Special Recognition Award, and three Artist Trust GAP Awards. WWU’s Western Foundation has established The Bennerstrom Prize, a scholarship given each spring to an outstanding art student.
Carol Gouthro, (2020 SOLA Recipient) a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Carol was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received her BFA with Honors degree with a major in Ceramics from the University Of Manitoba, School Of Art in 1976. Shortly after graduating she moved to Seattle and began working at Pottery Northwest as a studio artist where she remained for 7 years. Carol has worked as a practicing studio artist and ceramics instructor for over 35 years. Her work has been represented by Francine Seders Gallery, Foster White Gallery, Pacini Lubel Gallery, and currently Gallery IMA. In 2019 she taught at La Meridiana Ceramic School in Tuscany and Gaya Ceramic Center in Bali Indonesia. Carol is looking forward to being a presenter at the Virtual 2021 One Thousand Miles Apart Ceramic Conference. Carol’s work has been published in many books and periodicals and is included in museum and private collections.
Barbara Sternberger (2020 SOLA Recipient) was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1957. She studied painting at the University of California at Irvine, receiving her MFA in 1983. Sternberger’s art career commenced in Southern California, then seamlessly continued in the Pacific Northwest when she and her husband artist, Ed Bereal, moved to Bellingham, WA in 1993. Sternberger has exhibited both regionally and nationally, and her paintings are included in numerous private and public collections. Her work is deeply influenced by tenets of Ch’an Buddhism and its relationship to painting: essence, truth, spirit resonance, and breath. Her paintings have been the subject of two solo museum exhibitions: at the Museum of Northwest Art and the Whatcom Art Museum. Sternberger’s work has been featured in the U.S. Art in Embassies Program. Barbara has taught a painting course at Western Washington University every summer for the past twenty-five years.
Artist Trust received 42 applications for the 2020 Twining Humber & SOLA Awards. The applications were reviewed and the awardees were selected by an independent peer-review panel consisting of visual artists Pamela Awana Lee of Pullman. Barbara De Pirro of Allyn, and Deborah Lawrence of Seattle. This was the first Artist Trust grant panel to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic – to learn more about this process visit our blog.