Winner Jury’s Choice Award announced for Schaefer Portrait Challenge 2022

MACC SPC22 Jury Prize Winner, Sally French. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

With the opening of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer Portrait Challenge exhibit, now running through March 19, the center has announced the winner of the Jury’s Choice Award for the Schaefer Portrait Challenge 2022.

Kaua’i artist Sally French received a $15,000 cash prize for her portrait titled The Gilded Fly. Sponsored by Carolyn Schaefer, this award is one of the premier cash awards in the United States for portraiture, recognizing the talent and vital role artists play in our lives. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free.

Carolyn Schaefer presents Jury Prize to artist Sally French MACC President CEO Art Vento with slate. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

For this year’s Schaefer Portrait Challenge, judges Carl Jennings, Codie King and Jan Sato selected 48 portraits from 166 entries from five islands. Their selection includes works in both classical and contemporary styles in painting, drawing, sculpture and mixed media. Artists were encouraged to have a direct relationship with their subject by recording live sessions, relying less on photography. Computer-based and digital art, photography and other reproductive media were not accepted.

Sally French is a well-known and award-winning artist who lives and works on Kaua’i. She was born in Stockton, California. She was an artist in a Schäfer Gallery 2008 exhibition Wunderlust -The Keeper’s Tale, served as a jury member in the 2012 SPC, and was a selected artist for the 2015 SPC. Her works can be seen in renowned museums such as Honolulu’s Contemporary Museum, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Public Places Collection. Her works have been featured in group exhibitions across the US, including New York, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and others.

MACC SPC22 Participating Artists. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

“It is with the greatest thanks to Carolyn Schaefer and the founders of this portrait challenge for offering such a substantial award,” notes French. “We artists create in a vacuum, alone in our studios, not knowing if our efforts are related to anyone. When an artist receives a cash prize, it likely returns to the studio in the form of equipment or materials, increasing not only the artist’s self-esteem but also the length of time an artist can give to the studio. The more time an artist can devote to the discovery process, the more the art can be developed, making these awards an important part of cultural growth that benefits the community as a whole.”


Called The Gilded Fly, this self-portrait explores the challenges posed to her in 2021, starting with a global pandemic and continuing recently with a breast cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy and a double mastectomy.


The winning work is mixed media on panel, 66″ h x 44″ w composed of sprayed acrylic, wax pencil, sanded resin, gold leaf and a wandering fly that was part of the work during the artist’s creation as a ‘gilded fly’ and all. eventually become part of the title of the work.

Speaking of French’s award-winning work, Neida Bangerter, director of the Schaefer Gallery, said: “Sally has masterfully imbued this work using her imagination and drawing skills to create a storybook self-portrait. The result and depth of her struggle suddenly floats by in a life raft and it’s going just fine Not many artists are able to articulate experience and give the depth of their process of dealing with a life changing situation I also love that they really take us from the traditional smell of what portraits should look like, that’s her strength – making us think about what we’re seeing.”

MACC SPC2022 Gallery Director Neida Bangerter, Judges Codie King, Jan Sato, Carl Jennings, Deputy Director Jonathan Clark. PC: Bryan Berkowitz

Schaefer Portrait Challenge 2022 features 48 works by 47 artists and their portraits of the people of Hawaii, with inclusion determined by a statewide jury competition. The exhibit is open through March 19, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Schaefer International Gallery at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.


Visitors to the gallery can vote for their favorite piece in the exhibit through March 11, leading to a winner of the $5,000 “Gene and Ruth Freedman People’s Choice Award” sponsored by the Eugene and Ruth Freedman Family Foundation, which will will be announced during a reception on Sunday 13 March in the gallery.

Gallery opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. / Admission is free

COVID protocols: The gallery has adopted various health and safety procedures in accordance with current local and state guidelines. All visitors must be fully vaccinated to enter (including a booster injection from January 24, 2022). Gallery visitors at one time will be restricted to accommodate social distancing and everyone will be required to wear face masks. There is a hand sanitizer dispenser and touch points such as door handles and toilets will be sanitized regularly. If conditions change during the course of the exhibition, the MACC will adjust the requirements accordingly. More information on MACC’s COVID-related protocol is available at

This exhibit is organized and presented by Maui Arts & Cultural Center and sponsored by the Eugene and Ruth Freedman Family Foundation, and the continued support of Carolyn Schaefer. Additional funding from County of Maui, Office of Economic Development.

Show public events: (everything must take place with current health protocols on the date of the event)

Quick Draw Night: Thursday 17 February, 6-9pm

  • A creative studio experience taught by professional artists exploring playful ways to create a portrait.
  • For adults (21 years and older) Includes art materials, snacks and drinks without a host.
  • Tickets: $25. To reserve a room contact: [email protected]

Observe and play Family Day: Saturday, February 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • Families are invited to view the exhibition together, view portrait demonstrations by professional artists, and create a work of art to take home. FREE.

The Gene and Ruth Freedman, People’s Choice Award Reception: Sunday, March 13, 2pm

  • The public is invited to the results of the popular votes of the visitors to the exhibition, one artist will receive this prize of $5,000 sponsored by the Eugene and Ruth Freedman Family Foundation.


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