The State Museum of Pennsylvania Announces Finalists for 53rd Annual “Art of the State” Exhibition, Virtual Awards, Online Exhibit Launch

The State Museum of Pennsylvania Announces Finalists for 53rd Annual “Art of the State” Exhibition, Virtual Awards, Online Exhibit Launch

HARRISBURG, PA — Finalists have been announced for Art of the State 2020.

Art of the State is an annual juried exhibition that has been showcasing the work of Pennsylvania’s artists at The State Museum of Pennsylvania since 1968. The body of art that has been exhibited reflects over a half-century of creative endeavor in the Keystone State.

Through the years, exhibitors have shared their ideas and engaged viewers in the categories of painting, photography, craft, sculpture, and work on paper.

Since The State Museum remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, winners of the 53rd annual exhibit will be announced via social media on Sunday, September 13, during a pre-recorded awards ceremony at 2:00 PM, rather than the usual awards ceremony in a packed auditorium.

Concurrent to the awards announcement, a 360-degree virtual exhibit is slated to launch allowing virtual visitors to “walk through” the 6,000 square foot gallery and see works featured in this year’s exhibit.

With “hot spots” containing details of each artwork and videos of larger installations, the intent is to replicate the feeling on an in-person visit to the gallery. For those who cannot wait, a preview of featured artworks is available online.

The September 13 virtual awards ceremony will be distributed via Facebook and Twitter.  The 360-degree virtual exhibit, an exhibit catalogue pdf, and programming announcements can be accessed on the Art of the State 2020 landing page.

The exhibit includes 108 works of art from 109 artists from 29 counties. Finalists were selected from 1901 entries from 680 artists.

Selection jurors reviewed and rated all artwork submitted. Those with the highest ratings in each category are featured in the exhibition. The awards juror will determine the prize winners in each of the categories.

This year’s selection jurors are:

Lauren Frances Adams

Adams is a painter and installation artist who teaches painting at Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and completed her MFA in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University.

Her work engages political and social histories through iconic images and domestic ornament.

She has exhibited at Nymans House National Trust, The Walters Art Museum, the Mattress Factory, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Recent projects include Smack Mellon in Brooklyn and a site-specific collaborative public art project with Stewart Watson at a historic tavern museum in Alexandria, Virginia.

She is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA award and a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation award. She is the winner of the 2016 Trawick Prize. Lauren is a founding member of Ortega y Gasset Projects, a project space in New York.

Clara Lieu

Lieu is an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design and a partner at, a free website for learning visual arts. Her drawings, prints, and sculpture have been exhibited at the International Print Center New York, Bromfield Gallery, the Danforth Museum of Art, Mark Miller Gallery, the Currier Museum of Art, Childs Gallery, and the Davis Museum.

Lieu has received artist grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and the Puffin Foundation.

Ron Tarver

Tarver is visiting assistant professor of Studio Art at Swarthmore College. He previously had been a staff photojournalist for 32 years at The Philadelphia Inquirer, sharing a 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

While at the Inquirer he was nominated for three additional Pulitzers and honored with awards from World Press Photos and the Sigma Delta Chi Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, among others.

He is coauthor of the book We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, published by Harper Collins. Tarver is recipient of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

He has received funding and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and two Independence Foundation fellowships.

His fine art has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in many museum, corporate and private collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

This year’s awards juror is:

Susan E. Cahan

Cahan is an art historian, curator and educator who specializes in contemporary art and the history of museums. She is dean and professor of art history at Temple University Tyler School of Art and Architecture.

Cahan holds a PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York and a BA in art history and English from Tufts University.

Her research focuses on the relationship between social and artistic change and the confluence of factors that shape the way culture is imagined, discussed and advanced.

Cahan served as dean for the arts at Yale College, 2009–2017. Prior to this she was the Des Lee Professor in Contemporary Art and an associate dean at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

From 1994 to 2003, she was a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and has served as a visiting professor in the department of art at the University of California, Los Angeles.

From 1996 to 2001 Cahan served as the senior curator for the private collection of Eileen and Peter Norton and director of arts programs for the Peter Norton Family Foundation.

She has held positions at the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

She is a recipient of an Arts Writer’s Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, among other awards.

More than $7,000 in cash awards will be presented during a virtual award ceremony broadcast via social media on Sunday, September 13 at 2:00 PM.

A first prize of $500, second prize of $300, and third prize of $200 will be awarded in each of the five categories.

The William D. David Memorial Award for Drawing, in the amount of $250, will also be presented.

The State Museum will select one of the pieces of art for its permanent collection for its Purchase Prize. An Art Docents’ Choice Award will also be presented.

Art of State is presented by The State Museum of Pennsylvania in association with the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation.

The Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation is the nonprofit partner of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, the state agency charged with collecting, preserving, researching and interpreting the treasures of Pennsylvania.

Through private contributions, PHF supports PHMC in protecting and providing access to 24 historic sites and museums, approximately 9 million objects, and more than 250 million archival items.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 24 historic sites and museums administered by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History. The State Museum offers expansive collections interpreting Pennsylvania’s fascinating heritage.

With exhibits examining the dawn of geologic time, the Native American experience, the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, a pivotal Civil War battleground, and the commonwealth’s vast industrial age, The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania’s story is America’s story.

For more information about Art of the State 2020 and The State Museum, visit

Artists selected to exhibit at the 2020 “Art of the State” competition listed by county:

Adams County

  • Jack Handshaw
  • Joh Ricci

Allegheny County

  • Alan Byrne
  • Laura Domencic
  • Catherine Drabkin
  • Sandra Moore
  • Marian Phillips
  • Sue Reno
  • Silvija Singh
  • Benjamin Thomas
  • Jennifer Rempel

Bedford County

  • George Radeschi

Berks County

  • Lorraine Abrunzo
  • Nicolas Bowen
  • Martha Ressler
  • Steve Scheuring
  • E. Douglas Wunder

Bucks County

  • Wayne Hibschman
  • Amedeo Salamoni
  • Lisa McGovern

Centre County

  • Linda Hale
  • Anni Matsick

Chester County

  • Caryn L. Hetherston
  • Francine Renee Schneider

Columbia County

  • Oren Helbok

Cumberland County

  • Elaine Haag
  • Jeff Hubert
  • Hannah Steele
  • Marjaneh Talebi
  • Karen Troyer
  • Marc VanDyke
  • Kathryn Yoder
  • Harold Zabady

Dauphin County

  • Andrew Guth
  • Ryan Spahr

Delaware County

  • Laura Ducceschi
  • Thomas Ferrie
  • Toni Kersey
  • Lois Sellers

Erie County

  • Jamia Borowicz
  • Tom Hubert

Huntingdon County

  • Stephen Tuttle

Indiana County

  • Sean Derry

Lackawanna County

  • Peter Hoffer

Lancaster County

  • Daniel Burns
  • Scott Cantrell
  • Amy Edwards
  • Bob Hughes
  • Becky McDonah
  • Christopher Pollock
  • Janette Toth-Musser
  • Shelby Wormley

Lebanon County

  • Beverlee Lehr
  • Isaac Pelepko

Luzerne County

  • Robert Bergstrasser
  • Richard Huck
  • Nikki Moser
  • Travis Prince
  • Curtis Salonick

Lycoming County

  • Nguyen Johnson
  • David Moyer
  • David Stabley

Monroe County

  • Susie Forrester
  • James Gwynne
  • Joni Oye-Benintende

Montgomery County

  • Robert Arnosky
  • Sarah Bloom
  • Cynthia Goodman Brantley
  • Maureen Drdak
  • Laura Madeleine
  • Nancy Nalbandian
  • Rita Siemienski Smith
  • John Stritzinger
  • Christine Webb
  • Susannah Thomer

Northumberland County

  • Sanh Tran


  • Jimmy Clark
  • Jerry DiFalco
  • James Erikson
  • Lexus Gore
  • Elizabeth Heller
  • John Hurd Jones
  • Suzanne Bonsall Kahn
  • Martha Kent Martin
  • Nancy Middlebrook
  • Quantum Liq and Mike Pavol
  • Mia Rosenthal
  • Brian Skalaski
  • Janine Wang and Brian Skalaski

Schuylkill County

  • Lorraine Felker
  • Rob Mull
  • Valerie Perez-Prosick
  • Michael Pyrdsa

Somerset County

  • Margaret Black

Union County

  • Eddy A. Lopez
  • Mark Mahosky

Wayne County

  • Ellen Silberlicht

Westmoreland County

  • Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer
  • Patty Kennedy-Zafred
  • Kevin O’Toole
  • Mandy Sirofchuck
  • Paul Sirofchuck
  • Stuart Thompson

York County

  • Paul Chaplin
  • Jo Margolis
  • Catherine Prescott
  • Theodore Prescott
  • Autumn Wright

Thanks for visiting! MyChesCo brings reliable information and resources to Chester County, Pennsylvania. Please consider supporting us in our efforts. Your generous donation will help us continue this work and keep it free of charge. Show your support today by clicking here and becoming a patron.

Buy Us a Cup of Coffee