Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, Announces Winners of Various Awards At 2012 Annual Meeting Celebration

On Monday, May 14, 2012, the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, welcomed nine new Board members and announced the winners of the 2012 Factor Prize for Southern Art, the 2012 Mary Whyte Art Educator Award, and the 2012 Philanthropy Award at the museum’s Annual Meeting Celebration.

Painter John Westmark was recognized as the winner of the 2012 Factor Prize for Southern Art and received the $10,000 cash prize that accompanies the award. The Factor Prize acknowledges an artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South. Born in Alabama and raised in Florida, John Westmark is a painter whose large-scale works incorporate store-bought paper sewing patterns collaged directly on the surface. Populated by figures cut and shaped from the patterns, Westmark’s paintings create mythical narratives, much like folklore cut from the fabric of human experience.

Throughout the year, artists were nominated or could self-nominate for the Prize online at ( In March, seven panelists narrowed the list to five finalists who along with Westmark, included Aldwyth, Brian Dettmer, Young Kim, and Bob Trotman.

Robin Boston, a 9th-12th grade art teacher from Stratford High School in Berkeley County received the 2012 Art Educator Award and the $2,500 cash prize that accompanies the award. Established in 2007, the Mary Whyte Art Educator Award is designed to recognize a high school visual art teacher in the tri-county area who has demonstrated superior commitment to his or her students and craft. High school teachers submitted online applications through early March on (

Boston submitted a lesson plan Student Inventions: Art and Engineering that was a hands-on, interdisciplinary, reality-based collaboration between visual arts and engineering students based on the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) educational initiative. The project was a cross-curricular unit involving engineering, computer technology, industrial design, commercial art, innovative thinking, competition, teamwork, and creativity.

Boston earned her Bachelors of Art from Charleston Southern University and her Masters Degree from the University of South Carolina. She has been teaching at Stratford High School since 1997 and has been the Director of Berkeley County Summer Gifted and Talented High School Program since 1991.

In addition to Boston, the other finalists this year were Ashley Webb of Wando High School and Carol Gardner of Hanahan High School. The Mary Whyte Art Educator Award is named for renowned Charleston watercolorist and donor Mary Whyte, whose work is currently on view at the Gibbes in the exhibition Mary Whyte: Working South. Additional supporters of the Award are the Cynthia Schell Charitable Trust and Bettina Whyte.

Harriet Smartt was honored with the fourth annual James S. Gibbes Philanthropy Award. Smartt has been a dedicated member of the Gibbes since 1993, is Past President of the Women’s Council, currently serves as Second Vice President on the Gibbes Board of Directors. In 2003, Smartt created the Museum Fellows program which has brought in over $2.2 million in revenue and engaged hundreds of members who have helped sustain the institution over the past nine years.

The Board of Directors of the Gibbes Museum of Art welcomed nine new members to their ranks.  New members are Thomas Bennett, Tippy Brickman, Kenneth Canty, Gale Messerman, Lorraine Powers, Harold Rhodes, Elizabeth Saal, Kristin Stevens, and Barbara Tribble.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905.  Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works, principally American with a Charleston or Southern connection, and presents special exhibitions throughout the year. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives that serve the community by stimulating creative expression and improving the region’s superb quality of life. Highlights of the Gibbes collection can now be viewed on Google Art Project at (

For further info call the Gibbes at 843/722-2706 or visit (


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