Schaefer Portrait Challenge seeks artists

The entrance to the Schaefer International Gallery during the last Schaefer Portrait Challenge at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. -- Photo courtesy of the MACC

The Schaefer International Gallery at Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului sends a reminder for all Maui artists that the date draws near for application and jurying for its signature triennial exhibition, Schaefer Portrait Challenge 2018.

The Jury date for Maui artists’ submission for the Challenge is from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 23 at the MACC in the Alexa Higashi Meeting Room, located near the gallery.

The Schaefer Portrait Challenge is a statewide juried exhibition that has been held triennially since 2003. It features artists from throughout Hawaii and portraits of subjects who have distinguished themselves in the eyes of the artist. Portrait subjects have included people well-known throughout the state, people who are known in their immediate communities and self portraits. The MACC works closely with local arts organizations on each island to reach out to that community’s artists and ensure a community-based effort.

The origins of the Challenge date back to 1999, when a group of visual arts professionals from across the state gathered at the MACC to develop and shape an exhibition that would help revive interest in portraiture and honor Hawaii culture and people.

The exhibit became a reality after several years of discussions and planning and was made possible with the commitment of two donors who stepped forward to fully underwrite the awards.

The gallery floor with some of the juried portraits. -- Photo courtesy of the MACC

The exhibition features two substantial cash prizes: the Jurors’ Choice Award for $15,000, which was made possible with the generous support of Jack and Carolyn Schaefer Gray, and the Marian Freeman People’s Choice Award for $5,000, which was made possible with the generous support of Gage Schubert.

The winner of the Jurors’ Choice Award will be announced at the Artists’ Opening Reception. The winner of the Marian Freeman People’s Choice Award is selected by visitors to the gallery in January and February who cast ballots for their favorite piece in the exhibit. This winner will be announced at a separate reception in March.

The jurors for this Challenge are Charles Cohan of Oahu, Carol Bennett of Kauai and Jennifer Owen of Maui. These jurors look for portraits that communicate both visually and conceptually. Beyond technical proficiency, the artist must reveal their subject’s inner spirit or essence, and convey that essence to the viewer.

Artists interested in participating in the 2018 Challenge are encouraged to access the “Call to Artists” prospectus and application, which are available on the MACC’s website at SPC2018.

The 2018 exhibit will be on public display Jan. 16 through March 18. As with all exhibits at the MACC, admission is free and open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, as well as before performances and during intermissions in the Castle Theater.