Artist Award

This award is provided annually to an outstanding Arkansas woman artist to pursue and complete new creative work: workshop training, research, and travel, or essential equipment or supplies to that end. New creative work in all media is eligible for consideration.

2020 Artist Award Winner: Eloa Jane

Native of Brazil, she moved to the United States in the mid 2000’s for a fresh start. Her unstable financial condition and the many unanticipated pressures of being an immigrant put her in a fragile emotional state. Eloa Jane had been artistic growing up. Now, after a 25-year Architecture career and a drastic relocation, the art of her youth resurfaced as a healing tool.

With little resources, she experimented with what she had in abundance, namely, junk mail. She made baskets and wearables before moving on to more daring creations. She signed up for her first craft show in 2008 and, later that year, joined an art gallery. From then on, she continued to create and exhibit at various galleries in Massachusetts, Virginia and Arkansas.

Some of her highlights are the 2014 WAH Center Special Merit Award, the 2019 Best-In-Show by Artists of Northwest Arkansas (ANA) an Honorable Mention by Circle Foundation For The Arts (CFA) in Lyon, France and the 2020 Artist Award winner of the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Most notably, she was awarded the Mid-America Arts Alliance Artistic Innovation Grant in 2019 which allowed her to create Neighbors & Neighborhood, her first series and largest-scale project yet whose works have featured in publications like artGuidemag and The Idle Class.

The Kind Mowers

Recycled Paper Relief

Picasso the Pet Pig

Recycled Paper Relief

Waves of Music

Recycled Paper Relief

Moonlight Paddle

Recycled Paper Relief

2019 Artist Award Winner: Melissa Wilkinson

Melissa Wilkinson (West Memphis) was selected from a field of 28 applicants to receive a stipend to travel to Washington, DC, for an in-situ examination of wildlife collections housed at the Smithsonian Institution that are unavailable to the public. A watercolor artist whose work currently draws from 19th Century natural history prints, Wilkinson made detailed photographs, notes and sketches of actual plant, animal, fossil and rock collections to inform a new body of work.

Wilkinson earned her BFA in Painting and Drawing from Western Illinois University and her MFA in Painting from Southern Illinois University. She is currently Associate Professor of Art at Arkansas State University.

Learn more about Wilkinson and her work on her website:

Shell Secrets 1

Watercolor on paper

Seeing Beetle; part of series

Watercolor on paper, 8″ x 8″

Gumball Rose

Watercolor on paper

Echo; part of series

Watercolor on paper, 16″ x 20″

Shell Secrets 2

Watercolor on paper

All Surface

Watercolor on paper, 16″ x 20″

Past Recipients

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2005

Debbie Finley
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2003

Ilayali Alvarez-Hallmark
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2002

Maria Botti Villegas
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1996

Brandy Banks, Jerri Miller, Lynn Hackney
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1995

Cynthia Powell, Lisa Brumbelow