Maui Arts & Entertainment

Jurors’ Choice Award Winner Announced for Schaefer Portrait Challenge 2022

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MACC SPC22 Jurors Choice Award Recipient, Sally French. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

With the opening of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer Portrait Challenge exhibit running now through March 19, the Center has announced the Jurors’ Choice Award winner for Schaefer Portrait Challenge 2022.

Kaua’i artist Sally French was awarded a cash prize of $15,000 for her portrait entitled, The Gilded Fly. This award is sponsored by Carolyn Schaefer, and is one of the most substantial cash awards in the United States for portraiture, recognizing the talent and essential role artists play in our lives. The exhibit is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission.

Carolyn Schaefer Presents Jurors Choice Award to artist Sally French MACC President CEO Art Vento with lei. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

For this year’s Schaefer Portrait Challenge, jurors Carl Jennings, Codie King, and Jan Sato selected 48 portraits out of 166 submissions from five islands. Their selection includes works in both classical and contemporary styles in painting, drawing, sculpture and mixed media. Artist were encouraged to have a direct relationship with their subject to include live sittings, with less reliance on photography. Computer based and digital art, photography and other reproductive media were non-accepted.

Sally French is a well-known and award-winning artist who lives and works on Kaua’i. She was born in Stockton, California. She was a featured artist in a Schaefer Gallery 2008 exhibit Wunderlust -The Keeper’s Tale, served as a juror in the 2012 SPC, and was a selected artists for the 2015 SPC. Her works are on display at noted museums such as Honolulu’s Contemporary Museum, the Honolulu Academy of Arts and in the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Public Places Collection. Her works have been on display in group exhibits throughout the US including New York, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and others.

MACC SPC22 Participating Artists. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

“It is with the deepest gratitude to Carolyn Schaefer and the founders of this portrait challenge, for offering such a substantial award,” French notes. “We artists create in a vacuum, alone in our studios, without knowing if our efforts connect to anyone. When an artist receives a monetary award, it likely returns to the studio in the form of equipment or materials, boosting not only that artist’s self-worth, but the duration of time an artist will be able to give to the studio. The more time an artist can focus on the process of discovery, the more developed the art can become, thus these awards become an important part of cultural growth that the community as a whole benefits from.”

This self-portrait, which she entitled The Gilded Fly, addresses the challenges presented to her in 2021, beginning with a world pandemic and continuing most recently with breast cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy and a double mastectomy.

The winning work is mixed media on panel, 66″ h x 44″ w composed of atomized acrylic, wax pencil, sanded resin, gold leaf and an errant fly that became part of the work as a ‘gilded fly’ during its creation by the artist and thus eventually becoming part of the work’s title.

Of French’s awarded work, Schaefer Gallery Director Neida Bangerter commented, “Sally masterfully imbued this work conceptually letting her imagination and drafting skills create a story book self-portrait. The outcome and depth of her struggle is suddenly floating by in a life raft and doing fine. Not many artists are able to articulate experience and deliver the depth of their process of coping with a life changing situation. I also love that she really throws us off the traditionalist scent of what portraiture is expected to look like. That is her strength – making us think about what we are seeing.”

MACC SPC2022 Gallery Director Neida Bangerter, Jurors Codie King, Jan Sato, Carl Jennings, Assistant Director Jonathan Clark. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

Schaefer Portrait Challenge 2022 features 48 works by 47 artists and their portraits of the people of Hawai’i, with inclusion determined by a statewide juried competition. The exhibit will be open through March 19, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Schaefer International Gallery at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Visitors to the gallery through March 11 can vote for their favorite piece in the exhibit leading to a winner of the $5,000 “Gene and Ruth Freedman People’s Choice Award”, sponsored by the Eugene and Ruth Freedman Family Foundation that will be announced at a reception on Sunday, March 13 pm in the gallery.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 pm / Admission is free

COVID protocols: The gallery has adopted several health and safety procedures in accordance with current local and state guidelines. All visitors must be fully vaccinated to enter (including a booster shot as of Jan 24, 2022). Gallery visitors at one time will be limited to accommodate social distancing and all are required to wear face masks. A hand sanitizer dispenser is available and touch points such as door handles and restrooms will be sanitized regularly. If circumstances change during the course of the exhibit, the MACC will modify requirements accordingly. More information on the MACC’s COVID-related protocol are available at


This exhibition is organized and presented by Maui Arts & Cultural Center and sponsored by the Eugene and Ruth Freedman Family Foundation, and the continued support of Carolyn Schaefer. Additional funding provided by County of Maui, Office of Economic Development.

Exhibit Public Events: (all to take place with current health protocols in place on the date of the event)

Quick Draw Night: Thursday, February 17, 6-9 p.m.

  • A creative studio experience taught by professional artists exploring playful ways to make a portrait.
  • For adults (21 and over) Includes art materials, snacks, and no-host beverages.
  • Tickets: $25. To reserve a space contact: [email protected]

Observe and Play Family Day: Saturday, February 26, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • Families are invited to view the exhibit together, watch portrait demonstrations by professional artists, and make a piece of art to take home. FREE.

The Gene and Ruth Freedman, People’s Choice Award Reception: Sunday, March 13, 2 p.m.

  • The public is invited for the results of the popular votes of the visitors to the exhibition, one artist will receive this $5,000 award sponsored by the Eugene and Ruth Freedman Family Foundation.

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