Scholarship and Awards

Portland Open Studios is pleased to honor several artists each year for their talents by offering several awards.

The Kimberly Gales Scholarship award goes to an artist under 30 years of age who is already developing a distinctive artistic voice.

The Shelley Hershberger Service Award goes to a volunteer who goes above and beyond in supporting Portland Open Studios.
For more information about Shelley Hershberger, click here.

The Merit Award goes to an artist who receives the highest score from the jury.

 2015 Winners

Kimberly Gales Scholarship Sarah Fagan
Merit Award Carole Murphy


 2014 Winners

Kimberly Gales Scholarship Emily Myers
Shelly Hershberger Memorial Service Award Erin Leichty
Merit Award Sandra Carlson


 2013 Winners

Kimberly Gales Scholarship Renee Hartig.
It is easy to lose yourself in the turbulent skies uniquely portrayed with crosshatched brushstrokes that frequently dominate Renee Hartig’s paintings. She clearly adores landscapes, and her paintings explore the diversities that Oregon has to offer: deserts, beaches, mountains, forests, and farms. Amidst these settings Hartig also seeks to consider man’s influence on the land. Her landscapes are often split by a road or spotted with utility poles, but even the inclusion of beach paths and corn rows subtly address the overwriting effect of man on nature. The contrast is noted, but judgement is withheld – Hartig finds beauty in both. Hartig paints a la prima, all in one sitting, pre-mixing her colors so that her brushwork is unblended and precise, resulting in work that seems like a vision realized, landscapes as seen through this talented artist’s eyes (and that she’s young is irrelevant).
Hartig is currently represented by five galleries, including Mary Lou Zeek Gallery in Salem, OR and LaFontsee Gallery in Grand Rapids, MI. She has had more than fifteen solo shows, more than thirty group shows, donates work to auctions and benefits annually, and regularly works by commission.
Shelly Hershberger Memorial Service Award Shawn Demarest.
Over the past six years, Shawn Demarest has dedicated hundreds of hours volunteering as a participating artist and board member. In her role as Member Services Chair she worked to represent participating artists’ interests and concerns. Demarest has organized exhibits of Portland Open Studios artwork, headed the volunteer committee, and much more.
Whether from observation or in the studio, Demarest’s constant desire is to capture fleeting and profound scenes – often mundane roads close to her home and studio. Moving primarily to the studio after a practice dominated by plein air experience lets Demarest work larger, with greater refinement and varied brushwork, including glazing and subtle edge work, while retaining her ability to realize local color and atmosphere. Ultimately, her gold is to have the paintings capture the sense of being there, the captivating moment of being aware of your presence in a place.
Demarest received a BFA in studio art from the University of Colorado. She is the 2013/2014 Artist in Residence at the University Club of Portland, is a RACC Project Grant recipient, and two of her paintings reside within RACC’s Portable Works Collection. Demarest is represented by the Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery.
Merit Award Thomas Soule
Thomas Soule’s sculptures are packed with ambivalence, contrasting hard edges and flat surfaces with soft geometric shapes and sensuous curves. Many of Soule’s latest works have jutting, sharpened spears above wide, smoothed-out rectangles, serving as hips for spindly, tapered legs. His sculptures feature allusions to furniture, animals, and modernist abstraction. The ambiguities and contradictions cultivate many interpretations. Soule has hand-rubbed linseed oil across the surface, reinforcing that, despite some potentially threatening features, these semi-upright tripedal creatures are domesticated; they are meant to be touched and to live in a home.
Soule has a master’s in sculpture from UC Santa Barbara. He taught studio art and art history at UCSB and other colleges in that area for 15 years before moving to Portland, where he has lived for the past 20 years.


 2012 Winners

Kimberly Gales Scholarship Carlie Leagield is one of the two Kimberly Gales Scholarship for emerging artists winners this year. Her process involves pouring and painting on glass. After drying she removes the composition from the glass and applies it to paper, canvas, board, or directly on the wall. She is interested in various textures in the repetition and the accumulation of things that create complex spaces that are both chaotic and ordered almost simultaneously. She works in a process of discovery… making a mark, erasing, connecting one line to another, overlapping, seeing through, and editing out.
Kimberly Gales Scholarship Alec Zemper is one of the two Kimberly Gales Scholarship for emerging artists winners. Alec feels that people are the most dynamic, graceful, and difficult subject that can be represented in a traditional form. His work has always maintained a focus on the people in his life. Alec is self-taught and teaches life drawing and portraiture to college students and recent graduates out of his studio in SE Portland. This year he is attempting to slow down his pace, work on larger scale figurative pieces and hone his portraiture skills.
Shelly Hershberger Memorial Service Award The Service Award goes to an artist who has assisted Portland Open Studios well above and beyond the call of duty. Kindra Crick has dedicated several years of service and care through her participation as an artist and board service. Kindra is an artist and experimentalist who uses painting and print-making to combine her love for scientific inquiry with visual expression. The foundation of her work begins with an idea or question expressed as notes or drawings. Images and mark making build upon each other in layers, creating a history to dig back into, to bury or reveal. Themes that emerge in her work are those regarding emotion, perception, and the illusion of knowledge.
Merit Award Heather Fields has been awarded the Merit award for the highest jury score. In collaboration with John Fields, they focus on symmetrical form with Heather’s painterly approach to design. Their work is created in the off hand tradition of glass blowing, no molds, no paint. Together they explore ideas by developing pieces in series.Regardless of the design elements being explored, the intention is always to spark the subtle connection between their suggestion of an image and each individual viewer and their own unique experiences.