Happy holidays to all members, artists, and friends. This is the time of year to sit back and take a wide-angle view of Pastel Society of America’s past year. And let’s take pleasure in sharing our good memories.

A very special congratulations goes the National Arts Club (NAC) on its 120th anniversary. PSA has a special relationship with the NAC. Not only was it the site of the first PSA Annual 46 years ago (and of every Annual Exhibition since), but it currently subsidizes the rental of our studio and office spaces. The NAC generously allows the parlor to be used for our Portfolio Critiques, and it facilitates the Material Fair and all other events, including the Gallery Tour and Reception and the Millburn school visit.

Our annual general meeting on Dec 4 allowed us to look back at leisure at 2018 (and eat far too many cookies!!!).

First thing was to collect the ballots for seats on the board of governors. This year’s nominees are Dianne B. Bernhard PSA (CT), Julie Hopkins PSA (NY), Arlene Thek (NY), and Jimmy Wright PSA-MP (NY), along with newcomer Marlene Wiedenbaum PSA-MP (NY) and JoAnne Wellner (NY). Kathy Detrano will leave the board to take a place on the advisory board, where she will be joined this year by Anna Wainright (NJ) and Kristin Divers (PA).

We are happy to report that PSA’s finances are all in order, satisfying state and federal requirements, thanks to JoAnn Wellner and accounting firm Spitz & Greenstein. PSA received a restricted donation of $25,000 in memory of Lila T. Gold, given by her niece Miriam Sosnick, for the creation of the Lila Teich Gold $1,000 award to be given annually for 25 years, starting in 2019. Another donation of unknown sum has been promised as an estate trust bequest by a long-time member who wishes to remain anonymous. Former board member Brenda Tribush continues to donate generously each year to support school scholarships and to the general fund. Donations of $1,000 or more to support PSA and the Annual Exhibition were given this year by Governors Dianne B. Bernhard, Richard McKinley, Pastel Journal, Carrie Raeburn, Arlene Thek, JoAnn Wellner, Duane Wakeham, and Jimmy Wright.

The PSA School for Pastel is helped each year by the PSA Raffle, which takes place at the Annual Dinner and is organized by board member Julie Hopkins. This year the raffle contributed $3,883 to the school. The raffle winners came from five different states: Elaine Augustine (AL) won Hall of Fame Honoree Diana DeSantis’s painting, Leah Phillips (GA) took home Maria Marino’s landscape, Betty Efferson (LA) scored Brian Bailey’s still life, Young Mi Bailey (NJ) walked away with Nanping Yun’s floral, while David Ivers (CT) is now the proud owner of Pirkko Makela-Haapalinna’s figurative work.

PSA School for Pastel is the only school in the country devoted exclusively to pastels. The school classes, comprising 27 students, are taught by Janet Cook, Diana DeSantis, Wennie Huang, and Maceo Mitchell. Our 12 workshops have seen 92 students this year. The 2019 school brochure will be on the stands (so to speak) in June, as usual produced by board member Leslie Lillien Levy.

PSA destination workshops have been gratifyingly successful. The February 2018 Dunedin, Florida, workshop with Richard McKinley was a sellout, as is the upcoming Hudson River Valley workshop with Sally Strand (July 21-27, 2019).

The jewel in PSA’s crown is, of course, the PSA Annual Exhibition. This year, of the 605 artists who collectively submitted 1,326 images, 76 were Master Pastelists; 73 were Signature members; 221 were Associate members; and 235 were non-members. Of the 178 artists whose works were juried into the exhibition, 57 were Master Pastelists; 66 were Signature members; 29 were Associates; and 26 were non-members. Five hundred fifty-five artists submitted images from 45 states. Another 50 artists submitted from 17 countries, including Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Taiwan, and the UK.

This year’s outstanding installation was once again supervised by board member Susan Story, with the installation design supplied by Jeff Webb.

The PSA Annual Exhibition Awards weekend was full of energy, fun, and even a splash of glitz! It’s always an enriching time, when artists meet fellow artists, enjoy new and old friends, and generally catch up on art and life issues.

New this year was an innovative Facebook video series produced by board member Arlene Thek to promote the 46th Annual Exhibition and its pastel weekend of events.

Starting the weekend’s events Friday evening, Richard McKinley walked us through the show observing, as he went, the variety of painting styles and techniques.

Our annual Materials Fair, organized by board member Arlene Richman, filled the Grand Galley of the National Arts Club all day Saturday. With a full-to-capacity vendor-table count, customers were eager and excited by the variety of displays. PSA received more than $2,500 in vendor donations. Added to the glamour of the event were the superb demonstrations by PSA stars Nancie King Mertz and Christine Swann.

Concurrent with the Materials Fair, the Portfolio Review also saw a sellout crowd. Participants brought images of their work for Peggy Rose, Sally Strand, and Duane Wakeham to critique. The critique is free to Associates and costs $20 for non-members. It’s worth planning for.

We are more than proud to say that this year, PSA awarded the largest total amount in cash and materials in the society’s history—$42,775. Karen Israel was chair of award donations and co-chaired the Awards Ceremony with Peggy Rose.

Mark Moss, photographer and husband of office administrator Cindy Harisch, streamed the Awards Ceremony (Sunday) on YouTube. This was the second year Mark has done this for PSA and we all really appreciate his efforts. Alexandra Moss, a photography major at FIT and Cindy and Mark’s daughter, documented the night’s events.

The Annual Exhibition produced bonanza sales for the artists. Nineteen paintings were sold—ten outright, and nine through the Collectors Purchase Program. Outright sales were of works by Dodie Ballantine, Margaret Dyer, Bethany Fields, Jane Hart, Julie Hopkins, Casey Klahn, Heidi Marshall, Glen Maxion, Marcia Holmes, and Linda Richichi. Members of the Collectors Purchase Program bought the works of Lyn Asselta, Sandra Burshell, Roberta Condon, Adrian Giuliani, Ray Hassard, Cristine Kossow, Maryann Mullett, Renee Mullis, and Anna Wainright. Just to recap the Collectors Purchase Program: participating artists receive $1,000 if their painting is selected. Collectors agree in advance to pay $1,000 for each painting of their choice among the designated work in the show.

This year’s Master Pastelist class includes Theresa Emmett Allison, Janet Cook, Barbara Jaenicke, Betsy Kellum, Cristine Kossow, Edward Robitz, Jeanne Tangney, Marlene Wiedenbaum, and JZ Xu. In addition, Pirkko Makela-Haapalinna and Colette Odya Smith were noted although they received the designation last year. An artist receives MP status after winning three awards in annual exhibitions

In other news…….

With the help of my co-editor Arlene Richman, the 2019 issue of Pastelagram will feature selected artists who have received awards donated by multiple members of the Giffuni family, including the Flora B. Giffuni Foundation. The issue will be published in July 2019. It was in 2015 that the magazine was redesigned in look and content. The new single topic magazine was introduced with the “Photo Finish: Take Control of Your Photos” issue. Since then, we’ve published “Content or What’s It all About,” followed by “Pastels and Women: ‘Fragile and Difficult’.” Last year’s Pastelagram“Patronage, Inspiration, Support” spotlighted the patronage of Dianne B. Bernhard’s Art Spirit Foundation and the art of PSA recipients of foundation awards.

Nearing completion is the redesign of the PSA website based on the design concepts of board member Cris Kossow with new cross-platform data board member Brenda Tribush. The new website is otherwise funded with unrestricted PSA funds.

The PSA online presence continues to grow with 6,088 members of the Facebook Group page and 3,243 members of the PSA Atelier Group, now closed to new members. Thank yous go to advisory board member Adrian Giuliani (NJ), and to Denise Page (WA), and Lynn Howarth (Scotland) for monitoring and administration of the PSA groups. The Facebook pages now serve along with the eBlasts as the PSA newsletter for member and society news. Also, join us and our 1,502 followers on Instagram at Pastel Society of America or search pastel. We’d love to see a photo of each member’s studio for our ongoing #1000studios project on Instagram.

The Third China (Suzhou) International Pastel Biennale was held in Suzhou in October with Brian Bailey officially representing PSA at the official events and teaching a workshop. Plans are currently underway for the October 2019 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the introduction of pastel to China. Richard McKinley will be the keynote speaker.

According to membership chair and board member Maria Marino, we now have 1,234 dues paying members.

Communications director Leslie Levy’s eBlasts reach all members. Please keep your email address current with PSA administrator Cindy Harisch so that you continue to receive Leslie’s eBlasts. Leslie also produces the school brochure and the annual catalog.

Advertising and the Awards Ceremony PowerPoint presentation was organized by board member Peggy Rose.

IAPS will take place in Albuquerque from June 4 to June 9. PSA board member Richard McKinley serves as IAPS president. We hope to see many of you there.

We’ve already started working on the 47th PSA Annual 2019.
Here are the dates:
March 15, Prospectus available online
June 11, Midnight PST, Online entry deadline
Sept 3-29, 2019 Annual Exhibition
Aug 26, Receiving
Sept 3, Open to public
Sept 20, Tour and reception
Sept 21, Materials Fair
Sept 22, Awards Ceremony and Annual Dinner
Sept 28, Demo and early pickup
Sept 29, Final pickup

So with the dates of next year’s Annual set, we look forward to your participation in the society’s future events. We also hope you reach out to other members for camaraderie and art talk, join us on online, and keep the pastel dust flying!!

Best wishes,
Jimmy Wright PSA President