Because Talent Doesn’t Come in Pink and Blue

This hasn’t been the best month for finding good news. I found the article I am including today, but I’ve been sick and I didn’t have time to look into at more than a cursory level. Still, there is enough to like about this story to include it for #WATWB.

The Pittsburgh Foundation has established the Bennett Prize to recognize and encourage emerging women artists who paint in the figurative realist style.

The biennial award comprises $50,000 and a solo museum exhibition. Art collectors Steven Alan Bennett and Elaine Melotti Schmidt of San Antonio, Texas, endowed a $3 million fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation to ensure that the prize will be awarded every two years in perpetuity.”

Through this generous gift, the couple establishes a legacy associated with a style of art that they like, and they will be helping female artists for many years to come. They are driven both by their appreciation for art and artists, but they also have a goal to correct an imbalance in the art world:

The collectors hope that the prize will call attention to the winners and finalists, giving them opportunity to join the largely male artist presence in museums and galleries. Mr. Bennett also believes figurative realism is becoming increasingly popular after having fallen out of favor in the latter half of the 20th century, and he would like such works to be seen by a wider audience.”

I wish I knew more about the state of women artists and about Figurative Realism, but I’ll have to take their word for it. There is one thing that they donors said that I absolutely agree with:

Although the digital age has introduced art to a wider audience, “nothing — nothing with a capital N — beats being able to see a painting face to face. Nothing, nothing, nothing,” Mr. Bennett said.

This is the eleventh month of the “We are the World” Blogfest journey to spread the message of light, hope and love. The founders have challenged participants to share something from the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts, Shilpa Garg, Peter Nena, Eric Lahti, Roshan Radhakrishnan and Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, welcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months.

#WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time. You are always welcome!


  1. I’ll have to take their word for it, too, Dan, but I agree with the statements about seeing paintings face-to-face. That naturally applies to almost anything that we see via media–it’s almost always a better experience to see it in person if possible. For the most part, I prefer seeing events with lots and lots of people through media, since I’m not a big fan of huge crowds and of course, there are other things that are the same way. I’m also glad that we have the availability of so many good things these days through media. As with so much else, it’s a mixed blessing.

    Hope you feel better soon!!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Janet. My daughter (Art School grad) thought they may be overly focused on larger venues, but it’s really hard to know.

      I agree with the in-person. There are some things that are just meant to be experienced live.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you don’t have the icky flu bug, but regardless, I also hope you get some rest and feel better.

    I agree that art is best experienced face-to-face. I will always remember an experience at the Smithsonian and the goose bumps I felt standing in front of works by the masters. That feeling cannot be replicated by art on a computer screen. Thanks for bringing a story of the arts to #WATWB and how one couple is trying to promote female artists in Pittsburgh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mary. In general, I’m in favor of things that seek to level the playing field for women. The situation in the Tech Industry is very tough for women.

      I remember when Faith was in art school, visiting her shows in a gallery, and it was really a pretty cool experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In light of the recent news events, this was a really nice article to read. Kudos to these
    two generous people to set up the Bennett prize to advance the opportunity for women artists in this style of art. And additionally, to level the playing field for women in the art world. Thanks for sharing.

    Please feel better soon. If we lived close, I would make you chicken soup!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. I am felling better. Sat-Wed was long enough. I just commented to Mary about liking the effort to level the playing field. It’s long overdue, in a lot of industries, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s also a problem in the art world.


  4. An awful lot of people have said after getting sick with whatever this is going around, they find they get a relapse, so maybe you should rest up. Maybe let your daughter have a hand at a post while you sleep in.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Feel better soon. It is nice to hear about people trying to level the playing field for women artists. I have read a bit about women artists and written about them too, and as in other fields, they have been discriminated against and left out but I think things are starting to improve a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know much about how artists discriminate among themselves, but any arts funding for women, in perpetuity, is a good thing. I can only hope that this kind of generosity catches on everywhere in the art world.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Women and minorities are under-represented in big city Art Museums. I have wondered why some of the greatest artists have had female apprentices and they don’t try to promote their art, sort of like a symbiotic relationship. I think Pittsburgh has wonderful museums and this endowment money will be put to “good use,” Dan! :)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I agree with that statement. NOTHING equals seeing art in person. When I saw Michelangelo’s David, I couldn’t help weeping, I was so overwhelmed. I’d seen it for YEARS in pictures, and I’d seen two copies of it in two different public sites in Florence, but none of that prepared me for The Real Thing. I had the same experience, though not as profound, with a Modigliani painting and a roomful of Impressionist paintings. After that, I could understand why people collect original art. And I’m super, super grateful for those who donate art to museums!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with the statement about seeing things face to face. I don’t know much about arts but a friend recently told me that arts is the future. I’m happy these guys are promoting young talents. Thank you Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know, John. This was the part I wanted to look into. I asked my daughter (art school grad) and she thought it might be more the case in larger museums and galleries. I’m not sure what the focus of the donor is, but anything that encourages artists is a good thing in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Dan – not commenting on the sick bug … just glad I don’t have it – and also glad to see you’re both improving. I was interested the in the figurative art definition – and Wiki has quite an interesting article on it. I too prefer something I can see in an art work … but then my tastes are forever changing … so glad these two endowed this prize – good to read about and to introduce me to figuartivism … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Just was reading an article about “you’re contagious longer than you think” – yeah, I’ve should have read that earlier – it’s 6 days! Hope you slow down, Dan:)
    About this post – I “live” art so have already too much on my plate.
    But it’s true, still more males than females in art. – and still some prejudice as well I remember, some repairmen for the fridge coming in, looking at the paintings, and asking, “Who’s the painter?” and both father and son 6’3″ and 6’4,” pointing at the 5’3″ female. They looked as if they couldn’t believe it was actually the case, till I started talking about the paintings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did my best to stay away from work. I felt pretty good by Wednesday but I worked from home that day. By the time I went in, I think I was beyond contagious. I don’t like it when people come to work when they are obviously sick.

      I hope this endowment works to help sway the thinking about women in art. It seemed like a nice thing for them to do.


Add your thoughts or join the discussion. One relevant link is OK, more require moderation. Markdown is supported.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.