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Posted on: May 6, 2020

Fort Worth Artist Takes Top Award in Watercolor USA 2020

still life with silver


Springfield, MO. (May 6, 2020) – The Springfield Art Museum is pleased to announce that Fort Worth, Texas artist Laurin McCracken has won the Kenneth M. Shuck Memorial $3,000 Cash Award for his entry, Still Life With Silver, in this year’s Watercolor USA annual juried exhibition.

McCracken is a realist watercolorist whose work is largely influenced by the Dutch and Flemish still life painters of the 16th and 17th centuries. He is a signature member of more than a dozen watercolor societies including the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Southern Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, and Watercolor USA Honor Society. He is an Elected Member of the Allied Artists of America in their Watermedia Category.

Organized in 1962, this year marks the 59th year of Watercolor USA. The nationally known exhibition is open to artists from all 50 states and U.S. territories, and seeks to discover what is new and what is next in the world of contemporary American watermedia. This year’s exhibit was judged by Misa Jeffereis who currently serves as an Assistant Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. 

Of the 471 entries submitted by 283 artists from 48 states and the District of Columbia, Jeffereis selected 81 works by 81 artists representing 30 states for inclusion in the exhibition. Overall, 18 artists from Missouri were selected for the exhibition including Carolyn Wallace (Ava); Judge Bockman (Battlefield); Robert Langford (Branson); Fred Schollmeyer (Chamois); Jennifer Wiggs (Columbia); Richard Dutton (Hallsville); Debora Reed (Joplin); Diane Stolz (Kansas City); Lana Cease (Maryville); Kelly Eddington (Monroe City); Susan Sullivan (Nixa), Sharon Warren (Springfield); Belinda Lee, Sarah Lorentz, and Francois Olivier (St. Louis); Annette McGarrahan (St. Peters); Trevor Doell (Walnut Grove); and Marilynne Bradley (Webster Groves).

Jeffereis notes, “I was particularly drawn to artists who were able to transform an ordinary scene into a world of wonder and imagination: a barn, train, streetscape, bouquet of flowers, flowing stream… I am honored to be witness to the talent and commitment of the watercolor painting community in this country.”

According to Museum Director Nick Nelson, “Watercolor USA is one of our Museum’s most beloved and long-lived exhibitions. I find great comfort in things that provide consistency and certainty. Considering the current global pandemic, this year’s Watercolor USA will be special to me for that reason. In its 59 years of existence, Watercolor USA has carried on alongside national triumphs and tragedies and this year will be no different. However, due to the global pandemic, we have had to modify our processes for this year’s exhibition, and we plan to create additional virtual resources, including online viewing opportunities for those unable to visit the Museum in person.” 

Other top award winners include:

•    Greg G. Thielen Memorial $2,000 Cash Award: Steve Cavallo (North Carolina), A Distant Memory

•    Bill Armstrong Memorial $1,500 Cash Award: Alisa Shea (New York), Cutting the Mustard

•    Robert E. Goodier Memorial $1,000 Cash Award For Traditional Transparent Watercolor: Susan Sullivan (Missouri), Glenn’s Café 

In addition to the Springfield Art Museum awards, the Watercolor USA Honor Society provides 11 additional cash awards, several artist materials awards, and a $500 reciprocal Award of Excellence from the National Watercolor Society. These awards are selected by Watercolor USA Honor Society board members. 

See all the award winners and more at Watercolor USA, beginning on June 6 through August 16, at the Springfield Art Museum located at 1111 East Brookside Drive. Due to public health concerns, the opening reception for this exhibition has been changed to a closing reception to be held on Friday, August 14 at 5:30 PM. The Watercolor USA reception has a long history of generous support from the Southwest Missouri Museum Association. Admission is always free. Donations are gratefully accepted. 

Image credit: Laurin McCracken, "Still Life With Silver," 2020, Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of the artist.


The Springfield Art Museum is Springfield, Missouri’s oldest cultural institution, founded in 1928. A department of the City of Springfield, the Museum invites you to connect with the world, your community, and yourself through active engagement with art objects. For more information, please visit or contact Joshua Best, Development and Marketing Coordinator at (417) 874-2859 or

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