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National watercolor exhibit returns to Bradenton

BRADENTON -- The National Watercolor Society’s 90th Annual Exhibition’s Traveling Show only visits five cities nationwide this year -- and Bradenton has again been selected, serving as the first stop.

ArtCenter Manatee will host the collection Tuesday through March 18 with an opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday. Each year, more than 1,500 artists from around the world submit water media paintings. The original jury-selected exhibition of 100 works hung at NWS’ permanent gallery in Los Angeles last fall. Thirty entries were chosen for the traveling show.

“When I came here five or six years ago, I contacted the National Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society,” said ArtCenter Board of Directors Vice President Anne Abgott, an acclaimed watercolor artist. “We’ve been able to host both, and it has brought lots of attention to the ArtCenter.”

Southern California-based artist George James has combined synthetic paper and the traditional watercolor media to win numerous awards. Kathleen Maling, of St. Augustine, has gained fame in the watercolor world for her alligator paintings. Pennsylvania-based artist Carole Pickle “is probably the top abstract artist,” Abgott said.

Works by James, Maling and Pickle will be on display in Bradenton.

“People come from all over the country to see this and plan trips around the event,” said ArtCenter Executive Director DiDi Hager. “What better way to experience it than in the winter where it’s warm and sunny? This prestigious exhibit and Bradenton this time of year offers people the best of both worlds.”

In conjunction with the NWS show, the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society will present works by its members.

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at (941) 745-7057. Visit his blog at

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