90th Annual Award Winners Announced


The Jury of Awards met at Brookgreen Gardens to decide the 16 prize recipients of National Sculpture Society’s 90th Annual Awards Exhibition.  The Jury of Awards is composed of at least two sculptors and a curator and this year included Kirsten Kokkin, Fellow of National Sculpture Society; Scott Penegar, Sculptor; and Stephen W. Motte, Curator of Collections and Interpretation –Florence County Museum, Florence, SC.

The top prize — the NSS Gold Medal and Charlotte Geffken Prize — went to Canadian sculptor, Louise Solecki Weir for her ceramic piece, Lullaby for Earth and Sky Opus 8. Weir trained in Fine Arts at Vancouver Community College before studying at the University of Georgia in Cortona, Italy. She eventually received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute in Canada. About her work, Weir says “Childhood is in all of our histories and in our future and fates. Throughout history lullabies have been sung to soothe and calm so one can rest and face the day anew. In the portrait, I am expressing the fragile miracle that is life and the sense of being imbued with a spirit or soul. The body surface mimics the history of land, marked by movements of tectonic plates, earth, water, and wind; the physical world to which we are inextricably woven.”

The NSS Silver Medal and Maurice B. Hexter Prize went to NSS Fellow, Martin Gates for his wood carving Ivory-Billed Echoes – The Wood Remembers. Gates’ interest in chiseling began at his family’s antique business where he studied and restored finely carved furniture. He later enrolled at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, where he honed his skills. Today he works from his Florida studio and is inspired by the avian wildlife that surrounds him. “I carved this memorial to celebrate the largest of our native woodpeckers once thought to be extinct. Recent sightings have given a glimmer of hope that a few may remain in the bottom land swamps of Arkansas and Louisiana,” Gates begins. “Always held in high regard by indigenous peoples, their heads and bills are thought to possess magical powers. Traded far and wide, some remnants have even been found in caves in Colorado. In more recent times the woodpecker has gained the nickname ‘Lord God Bird’ said to be exclaimed by folks seeing it for the first time. They must be something to see!”

Connecticut artist and NSS Fellow, Janice Mauro won the NSS Bronze and André Harvey Award for her carving, COVID Memorial VI. Educated at the National Academy of Design, Mauro has exhibited in several museum shows and her work is in the collections of the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, and her bronze fountain, The Source, is permanently installed at Brookgreen Gardens. “I began working on this piece, and its accompanying series, during the first year of the pandemic,” Mauro states. “Originally, the meaning of this piece was heavily tied to the collective unbalance, fear, and defeat many of us felt during that time. The hole not only resembles the shape of the virus, but also serves as a metaphor for the all-consuming sense of uncertainty. The figure purposefully disappears into the wood, embodying loss. I realize now, though, that this piece continues to reveal more meanings, influenced by both personal and worldly events.”




  1. NSS Gold Medal and Charlotte Geffken Prize of $4,000

For the best overall sculpture in the exhibition (First Place, “Best in Show”)

      Lullaby for Earth and Sky Opus 8 by Louise Solecki Weir


  1. NSS Silver Medal and Maurice B. Hexter Prize of $3,000

For the second best overall sculpture in the exhibition (Second Place)

     Ivory-Billed Echoes – The Wood Remembers by Martin Gates, FNSS


  1. NSS Bronze Medal and André Harvey Award of $2,500

For the third best overall sculpture in the exhibition (Third Place)

     COVID Memorial VI by Janice Mauro, FNSS


  1. The Anna Hyatt Huntington Award of $1,000 and a Brookgreen Medal – For a work in any medium displaying high quality in concept, design, and execution

     Neptune’s Work for Modern Times by Tom Durham, FNSS


  1. Fred and Cheryl Newby Patrons Award of $1,000 (no specifications)

      Raven Celebrates Inventing the Wheel by Paul Rhymer, FNSS


  1. Marcel Jovine President’s Prize of $1,000 – for a realistic work, preferably in the form of a bas-relief

      Surviving With No Home by Suzanne Storer, NSS


  1. Marilyn Newmark Memorial Award of $1,000 – For a realistic sculpture done in the classical tradition

      Blaze of Glory by Fan Yu


  1. Marion and Gilbert Roller Memorial Prize of $1,000 (no specifications)

Corriente by Mick Doellinger, NSS


  1. Pietro and Alfrieda Montana Memorial Prize of $750 – For an

outstanding work, either carved or cast

      Big Baby by Béla Bácsi, FNSS


  1. The Susan and Robert Polack Prize of $1,000 – recognizing artistic achievement by a first-time exhibitor

     Song of Protectedness by Gedion Nyanhongo


  1. Agop Agopoff Memorial Prize of $500 – For a classical sculpture

     Tim by Lesa Cook


  1. Ortmayer/Corcoran Teacher Inspiration Award of $500 (no specifications)

    Let the Light In by Lee Hutt, FNSS


  1. Jane B. Armstrong Memorial Award of $400(no specifications)

    Colleen by Steve Flom


  1. Margaret Hexter Prize of $300 for a creative sculpture in the round

    Ghosting by Vincent Russo


  1. Edith H. and Richman Proskauer Prize of $300 for a non-traditional sculpture

    St. Sebastian by Elizabeth Jordan


  1. Beverly Hoyt Robertson Memorial Award of $200 and Gloria Medal For the work of the highest quality by a young sculptor (age 40 or younger)

     Vision by Heather Rison