In a whirlwind of year-long planning, the highly anticipated Pastel Society of America’s 50th Annual Exhibition: Enduring Brilliance! returned to its home, the walls of the newly renovated galleries of the National Arts Club. The five sleek, well-lit interlocking art spaces created on the ground level of the club, are easily accessible to the public and residents of New York City’s historic Gramercy Park neighborhood. The one hundred thirty-nine pastels on exhibit represented a survey of the best contemporary art in various styles made exclusively in soft pastels.
The year of planning culminated in a celebratory occasion, the 50th Annual Award ceremony, recognizing the recipients of $51,955 in cash and material awards for their outstanding paintings. Dr. Louis A. Zona, executive director and curator-in-chief of the Butler Institute of American Art, served as the 2022 juror of awards.
Peter Seltzer, PSA Signature-Master Pastelist, was initiated as a member of the legendary PSA Hall of Fame. Three of his exacting large-scale still lifes were the feature of the historic Parlor Gallery. Of Peter’s painting, Dr. Zona asks rhetorically, “Is there a more accomplished still life painter in America? I sincerely believe there is not.”
After the reception in the elegant parlors of the club, artists, friends, family, and patrons sat down together for the first time in two years in the Grand Gallery for a gourmet banquet by the club’s renowned Executive Chef Lynn Bound. Between the rounds of 50th celebratory toasts, the continuous buzz of conversation and laughter filled the gallery. Joyful is the only accurate description of the afternoon and evening events.
2022 is the year the PSA School for Pastels became a hybrid forum for teaching pastel painting and drawing. From a studio in any location with internet access, students worldwide can join the students painting in the PSA pastel classroom. A few highlights of the year were the academy courses broadcast from Halla Shafey PSA, Egypt; Richard McKinley PSA-MP, HFH, Oregon; Loriann Signori PSA, Maryland; and Corey Pitkin PSA, New York state.
While 2023 hints at new challenges to the successful administration of the society, your talent, enthusiastic love of pastels, and generous donations of time and monetary gifts create the unique community known as the Pastel Society of America. May collectively, our lights come together as a beacon of creative energy to illuminate the path forward into the new year 2023.
Jimmy Wright PSA President