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The Western Federation of Watercolor Societies’ 37th Annual Juried Show in Las Vegas


The University of Nevada Las Vegas is currently featuring the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies’ annual juried show. The exhibit shows the work of over 100 artists who live and work in one of the eleven states that are part of the WFWS: the Arizona Watercolor Association, the Colorado Watercolor Society, the Idaho Watercolor Society, the Nevada Watercolor Society, the New Mexico Watercolor Society, the San Diego Watercolor Society, the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild, the Southwestern Watercolor Society, the Utah Watercolor Society, the Watercolor Society of Oregon, and the West Texas Watercolor Society. The WFWS was started in 1974 as a means to promote artist excellence and to provide a platform from which to promote watercolor as an artist medium. The organization, which boasts over 5000 artists, facilitates watercolor competitions and annual exhibitions.

The WFWS’ main annual event is a juried exhibition which is hosted every year by one of the eleven regional member society. The show currently underway here in Las Vegas, at UNLV, is open to the public Monday through Friday from noon to five and admission is free.  This year’s host (in collaboration with UNLV), the Nevada Watercolor Society, was started in 1969 and works to promote the watercolor medium in Southern Nevada. Its mission statement reads in part: The purpose of the Society shall be the elevation of the stature of watercolor as an art medium and the education of the public as to the significance of watercolor as an important creative permanent painting medium. The Society shall be dedicated to the highest aesthetic standards. The Society shall further the interests of painters in watercolor by its programs and competitive exhibits, and shall encourage its study by art students and others engaged in watercolor painting. 

Charles Rouse’s, Acapulco Bussing










This years 37th Annual Exhibition features many still lifes, portraits and realist paintings. There are a few abstract pieces, for example Dyanne Locati’s Wine Tasting which won an Award of Excellence and Sharon Stone’s Journey which received an Award of Merit. Among my favorite pieces were Charles Rouse’s Acapulco Bussing, showing a young boy hanging out of a bus window, which received the Dottie Burton Memorial Award of Excellence.  Another one of my favorites, for its bright colors and clear line definition, is Shella Spargo’s Zocalo which won the Kitty Boeddeker Award. A painting that brought nostalgic memories of going apple picking with my grandfather as a little girl is Tricia Love’s Hanging Baskets which depicts, as titled and of the same variety, the baskets from my childhood. This work won her the Mary Shaw Award.

Tricia Love’s, Hanging Baskets

The room where the works are displayed is a large space at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall. It is interesting how the curators chose to show the work by placing them in rows of five, from eye level all the way up to the ceiling.  I have great eyesight and rather enjoyed the methodical method I could employ to see all the works. Some of my peers felt they were hung too high. I felt that it made it easy to discuss particular paintings as well as look up their information on the cards below.

I strongly recommend going to see this free exhibition. It is on until June 2nd, 2012.

For more information contact Ed Hoag at 702-873-5880 or

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