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Posted on: May 6, 2019

Texas Artist Takes Top Award in Watercolor USA 2019

Stephen Zhang, "Mindscape," an abstract watercolor painting.


Springfield, MO. (May 6, 2019) – The Springfield Art Museum is pleased to announce that Plano, Texas artist Stephen Zhang has won the Kenneth M. Shuck Memorial $3,000 Cash Award for his entry Mindscape, in this year’s Watercolor USA annual juried exhibition. Plano is located just north of Dallas, Texas.

Zhang is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas and has served as a Creative Director for Fossil, Filson, and Lodge26 Branding Agency. Zhang has won numerous awards for his watermedia works including awards from the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and the Chinese National Art Exhibition. His work has been featured in American Art Collector, International Artist, and Watercolor Artist, among many others.

Organized in 1962, this year marks the 58th 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 noted watercolor artist Dean Mitchell.

Of the 485 entries submitted by 281 artists from 47 states, Mitchell selected 90 works by 80 artists representing 34 states for inclusion in the exhibition. Overall, 13 artists from Missouri were selected for the exhibition including Robert Langford (Branson); Fred Schollmeyer (Chamois); Jennifer Wiggs (Columbia); Richard Dutton (Hallsville); Debora Reed (Joplin); John Keeling (Kansas City); Kelly Eddington (Monroe City); Dana Neuenschwander (Nixa), Alicia Farris and John Short (Springfield); Lizzy Martinez (St. Louis); Ali Cavanaugh (St. Genevieve); and Marilynne Bradley (Webster Groves).

Mitchell notes, “It was difficult to select the 90 works for the exhibition because this medium has come into the 21st century with unprecedented creativity. The artists of this century are pushing this medium into a mature force that can no longer be looked upon as the stepchild to oil painting.” According to Museum Director Nick Nelson, the large number of works included in Watercolor USA is sure to draw large audiences. “Exhibitions of the recent past have been juried exclusively by museum curators and directors, so the use of artists of note (to jury) takes the show in a very different direction, but one that has delighted audiences with larger and more diverse exhibitions.”

Other top award winners include:

-Greg G. Thielen Memorial $2,000 Cash Award: Elaine Daily-Birnbaum (Wisconsin), Enough

-Bill Armstrong Memorial $1,500 Cash Award: Annell Livingston (New Mexico), Fragments, Geometry, and Change #212

-Robert E. Goodier Memorial $1,000 Cash Award For Traditional Transparent Watercolor: Chris Krupinski (Ohio), Blue and Gold

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

See all the award winners and more at Watercolor USA, beginning with an opening reception on June 7 at 5:30 PM, graciously sponsored by the Southwest Missouri Museum Associates. The exhibit runs through September 1 at the Springfield Art Museum located at 1111 East Brookside Drive. Admission is always free. Donations are gratefully accepted.


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

Image credit: Stephen Zhang, Mindscape, 2018, Watercolor on paper. Copyright Stephen Zhang.

Watercolor USA
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