Butler Museum Reveals National Art Exhibition Winners

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The winners of the National Midyear art exhibition at The Butler Institute of American Art were announced Sunday.

The annual juried show is on view in the museum’s McIntosh and Finnegan/Hynes galleries through Aug. 11.

The exhibition includes 89 works by 79 artists. The juror was Audrey Flack, who selected the pieces from submissions from 275 artists living throughout the United States and its territories.

Flack, of New York City, is well-known to Butler audiences. Her 10-foot plaster sculpture of Queen Catherine of Braganza is part of The Butler’s permanent collection. It can be seen on the first floor of the museum.

John Jude Palencar, top winner of last year’s National Midyear. An exhibition of works by Palencar is now on display at The Butler.

New this year is a one-person exhibition by the previous year’s winner, John Jude Palencar, an illustrator and fine artist who lives in Medina.

Palencar is well-known among science fiction, horror and fantasy fans. He was commissioned to paint the 2019 calendar art for George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” series, which inspired HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” He also created the cover art for Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance Cycle” fantasy novels.

In years past, the juror ranked the awards as Best in Show, and first, second and third place. But for this year, Flack created more descriptive awards.

Here are the winners of the 2024 National Midyear Exhibition:

  • Mastery of Medium (celebrating artists with exceptional proficiency and mastery in their chosen medium): Brian Burt of Mason, Ohio, “Inspiration is for Amateurs” (oil on panel, 12” by 14”).
  • Expressive Storytelling (acknowledging artists who effectively communicate powerful narratives or evoke deep emotion): Harold Zabady of Camp Hill, Pa., “5th Avenue” (oil, 72” by 48”).
  • Experimental Vision (for artists who push the boundaries or art by exploring new forms, concepts or interdisciplinary approaches): Becca Gruitza, Sharon, Pa., “Banana Bread 2” (clay, beads and Swarovsky crystals, 8” by 2.4”).
  • Innovative Technique (for artists who demonstrate exceptional skill and creativity in their use of traditional or unconventional techniques: Chanda Weigel, Youngstown, “Pushing 50” (oil and mixed media, 23” by 23”).
  • Allied Artists of America Award: Michael Jackson, “Rose and I” (oil on canvas, 40” by 30”).
  • Fred Staloff Award (primarily landscapes): Michael Frassinelli, Holliston, Mass., “Pianista Cabinet of Curiosity” (acrylic on canvas, 36 by 28”).
  • Phil Desind Award: John Johnson, Los Angeles, “Double J” (oil, 21” by 19”).
  • Director’s Award: Ron Barron, Youngstown, “Nuts & Bolts & Screws, Oh My 3” (flatbed scanner photography triptych, 24” by 20”).
  • Gerald Zona Memorial Pastel of Excellence Award: Patricia Blackman, “The Woman in the Velvet Dress” (pastel on sanded board, 25” by 20”).

Honorable mention:

  • Mark Giangaspero, “Angela,” oil.
  • John Smolko, “The Beast (Mason High School Varsity Wrestling, 113LBS),” colored pencil on crescent ragmat.
  • Brian Burt, “Inspiration is for Amateurs,” oil on panel.
  • Autumn Joi Ellis, “Braylin,” oil.
  • Mary White, “Suburban Farmer – Brother of the Artist,” oil.
  • Michael Hornyak, “Future Site for a Memorial that Hasn’t Happened Yet,” oil on canvas.
  • Rick Vian, “Grizzly Gus Goes Medieval,” polyurethane on canvas.
  • Zachary Bako, “Bo Nikal for ESPN,” photograph.
  • Michael DeBonis, “CELEBRATION,” oil on canvas.
  • Jody Nudell, “Root Dance,” watercolor.

Pictured at top: “5th Avenue,” an oil painting by Harold Zabady of Camp Hill, Pa., won the award for Expressive Storytelling.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.