The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that celebrates wildlife and the great outdoors through fine art, live entertainment and special events, has announced California-based artist Kathleen Dunphy as the 2024 Featured Artist for next year’s event, held throughout five downtown Charleston venues, February 16 - 18, 2024. In addition, Dunphy’s original piece, Family Outing, has been chosen as the 2024 Featured Painting and will be the subject of the official SEWE 2024 poster. The piece will be on display prior to the event at Gallery by SEWE, located in The Shops at Charleston Place at 205 Meeting St, and will be auctioned off at the SEWE VIP Gala & Sale on February 15.
“Everyone in the wildlife art world knows about SEWE. Participation in any capacity is a coveted honor; to be asked to attend as Featured Artist is a distinction that will no doubt be one of the highlights of my career,” said Dunphy. “The conservation and educational aspects of SEWE take it to a level beyond the typical art show, adding a deeper meaning to the event. The entire city of Charleston comes alive for the festival and there are times during the weekend when it seems like the whole world has come to view the art and take part in the excitement. Being named Featured Artist has pushed me to explore new and more challenging subjects, and I can't wait to bring my artwork to Charleston.”
Each year, SEWE scours the country and carefully curates a fine art collection for its event, drawing from the exceptional talents of some of the nation's top wildlife painters and sculptors. SEWE designates one Featured Artist to symbolize the event's mission and create a central piece of art that represents SEWE's spirit. In joining this honored tradition, Dunphy stands alongside a distinguished lineage of internationally known artists who have proudly held the Featured Artist title, sharing the stage with notables like John Banovich, Julie Jeppsen, Greg Beecham and Ryan Kirby, among others.
"Kathleen is an extraordinary artist who exemplifies what SEWE strives to promote to a national art audience. She is an award-winning and universally respected artist. Since her first appearance at SEWE as a special guest, she has remained a true friend of the show.” said John Powell, President of SEWE. “She has helped our conservation efforts on a national stage by connecting SEWE to the National Marine Mammal Foundation and her work has been highly acclaimed in the Gallery by SEWE. We are honored that Kathleen will represent SEWE as the 2024 Featured Artist."
Family Outing, the 2024 Featured Piece, portrays a serene scene of a Canada geese family on a tranquil lake. This picturesque moment was inspired by the artist's observations near her home, where she frequently engages in plein air painting. For Dunphy, Canada geese hold special significance, symbolizing the changing seasons and the promise of warmer days as they migrate north in their distinctive 'V' formation.
In describing her inspiration for the painting, Dunphy recounted, "As I was setting up my easel one morning, this pair of proud parents floated past with their awkward, downy goslings in tow. I was captivated by the glimmer of rim light on their feathers and the gentle interactions between the family members as they navigated the lake together. It was just another mom and dad taking the kids on a family outing, a different species in a parallel universe to ours."
Before establishing herself as a wildlife artist, Dunphy operated a successful floral design business for several years while accompanying her husband during his service in the Air Force. Upon returning to the United States, she shifted her focus toward developing her career in fine art. In 2000, Kathleen received a scholarship at the esteemed Academy of Art University in San Francisco, paving the way for her noteworthy future as a wildlife artist.
Dunphy holds prestigious signature status with significant organizations like the California Art Club, Oil Painters of America, and the American Impressionist Society. In 2012, she joined the respected Plein Air Painters of America. Her work has received top awards, including Best of Show from the American Impressionist Society and the Acadia Invitational Exhibition in Bar Harbor, Maine, as well as Grand Prize at the Federal Duck Stamp Competition. Her work has also been featured in respected publications including Plein Air, Southwest Art, Western Art & Architecture and Western Art Collector Magazines.
SEWE tickets will be available for purchase online beginning Friday, October 6. Patrons may also visit Gallery by SEWE that Friday to receive discounted SEWE tickets, enter giveaways, enjoy complimentary libations, watch live painting by SEWE artist Eleanor Parker, purchase permanent bracelets from Hermosa Jewelry and view the Featured Piece, which will be on display.
SEWE is recognized as one of the nation’s premier wildlife art shows and kickoff event for Charleston’s tourism season. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to showcase the finest in wildlife art, create awareness for the conservation of wildlife and the environment, positively influence wildlife and nature education and impact the local and statewide economies through increased tourism.
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