John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925). Santa Maria della Salute, 1904. Translucent and opaque watercolor and graphite with graphite underdrawing, 18 3/16 x 23 in. (46.2 x 58.4 cm). Purchased by Special Subscription, 09.838

One of the aspects I enjoy most about being a member of the National Council on the Arts is reading through all of the grants recommended by the panels for our vote. I am impressed by the abundance of art happening in the United States.

As a painter and watercolorist I was excited when I read of the grant to the Brooklyn Museum of Art for the current John Singer Sargent Watercolor Exhibit, a collaboration of that museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to present both of their collections of Sargent’s watercolors, never before seen together. I’ve visited the exhibit (now up at the Brooklyn Museum), spoken with the curators, and plan to revisit the exhibit a number of times. Personally, spending over 40 years of my life painting watercolors, it is a treat to be able to see how Sargent handled the medium. From a scholarly perspective it advances the study of Sargent in American art.

I am also looking forward to the exhibit of [Edward] Hopper’s drawings, which opened in May at the Whitney Museum. The drawings will not only be of interest to the viewer but will add to the scholarship of this American artist.

As I spent 15 years living in the foothills of Appalachia and saw firsthand some amazing folk art produced by neighbors, I eagerly follow the folk and traditional arts grants. This [spring] I was interested in the Junior Appalachian Musicians, a traditional music program outreach, and also the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, an apprenticeship program from four Maine tribes. I have some antique baskets made from tribal artists that I have included in my paintings and are in my studio.

As an opera lover I am excited about the support of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and opera-based teaching as I think learning, exposure, and growing a love of opera and music begins at an early age.

Click here to read on the National Endowment for the Arts website.