2021 Fine Arts Competition announces members of the judges panel

The Marginal Way Preservation fund proudly announces that Hilary Irons, Ken Erroll Backhaus, Don Demers, and Chris Caraviello have agreed to serve on the panel of judges for the 2021 Fine Arts Competition.

About the Judges:

Hilary Irons

Hilary Irons studied painting at Parsons School of Design and received her BFA in 2002 as well as her MFA at the Yale School of Art in 2008. She has attended residencies at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, the Stephen Pace House, and Hewnoaks. She is the recipient of a Leon Levy Grant and an Al Held Prize.  Hilary is a co-founder of Able Baker Contemporary, an artist-run space in Portland, Maine.

Hilary is the Gallery and Exhibitions Director at the University of New England.  She is in charge of curating and facilitating the UNE Gallery in Portland and the UNE Ketchum Library Gallery in Biddeford.  The UNE Galleries focus on exhibits that thematically highlight the intellectual interests of UNE while showcasing thought-provoking artwork in all media.

Kenn Erroll Backhaus

Kenn Erroll Backhaus is a Master Level Artist in both the Oil Painters of America and the American Impressionist Society. He is a member and past President of the Plein Air Painters of America, the oldest and most prestigious Plein air organization in the country. He has also achieved Signature Member status, the highest level, in the California Art Club, one of the oldest and most active art organizations in the country. His paintings have won numerous awards, including Best in Show, Collector’s Choice, Master’s Award of Excellence and Artist’s Choice Awards. His work has been included in several museum shows. Kenn was one of the host artists in both the past APT Television Series, Passport and Palette and the past PBS Series Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape. One of Kenn’s paintings graced the cover of Plein Air Magazine in the fall of 2011. His works appeared in a Plein Air Magazine article in March of 2012 and he was also featured in Plein Air Magazine’s June/July issue, 2016.  His paintings were published in two books, Art of the National Parks, in 2013 and in the book, 100 Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic in 2014.  One of Kenn’s works recently won a Masters Award of Excellence at the American Impressionist Society exhibit held at the famous Salmagundi Club in New York City.  In November of 2014, Kenn was invited, along with 9 other artists, on a painting trip to China by Chinese-American Master Artist, Zhiwei Tu and the Zhiwei Tu Museum of China. This trip proved to be a great honor and a very humbling experience.

Kenn is very passionate about the historic traditions of representational painting and has given back to the profession for twenty-five years in various educational programs and workshops. Kenn’s experience has long been recognized, and he has been and continues to be asked to judge numerous national art exhibits and shows across the country.

Don Demers

Mr. Demers was born in 1956, in the small, rural community of Lunenburg, Massachusetts. His interest in painting maritime subjects began while spending his summers on the coast of Maine near Boothbay Harbor.

After finishing an exemplary high school art program, he furthered his education at the School of the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, and the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA.

Don’s maritime experience came about as a crewmember aboard many traditional sailing vessels including schooners and square-riggers.  He continues to be an avid sailor.

His professional career began as an illustrator and expanded into the field of fine art. His illustrations can be found on many book covers and in national publications such as Reader’s DigestSail MagazineField & StreamSports AfieldYankee, and National Geographic.

Demers’ paintings have been featured in a number of publications including American Artist magazine, Artist magazine, Plein Air magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur Art and Antiques, Yachting magazine, Nautical QuarterlyNautical World, Offshore magazine, and Maine Boats and Harbors. His work has also been featured and discussed in a number of texts including Concordia Yawls, The First Fifty Years, by Elizabeth Meyer, Marine Painting and Yachts on Canvas, both authored by James Taylor, of Greenwich, England. Yacht Portraits published by Sheridan House, A Gallery of Marine Art, Rockport Publishers, an instructional textbook titled Marine Painting, Techniques of Modern Masters published by Watson Guptill and Bound for Blue Water written by J. Russell Jinishian and published by Greenwich Workshop.

Demers is a “Fellow” of the American Society of Marine Artists, an elected member of the Guild of Boston Artists, an elected member of the California Art Club, and a signature member of PAPA (Plein Air Painters of America).  He has won a record seventeen awards at the Mystic International Marine Art Exhibition, Mystic, CT. including the Rudolph J. Schaefer Maritime Heritage Award in 2006.  Demers’ illustrations have been recognized by the Museum of American Illustration four times in their national competition representing the finest examples of work in the field. Recognized for his communication skills, Don conducts workshops for artists as well as producing instructional DVDs.  He also lectures on his landscape and marine art.  His audiences include museums, art associations, yacht clubs, historical societies and educational institutions.

Don Demers paintings are published as limited edition prints through The Greenwich Workshop in Seymour, Connecticut.

More information about Mr. Demers can be found at http://donalddemers.com/theartist.html

Chris Caraviello

Mr. Caraviello was born in Medford, Mass and received a degree in Art History from Tufts University. He is active in the arts community of Ogunquit and is Board vice president of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. He also serves on the board of directors of Andover ABC House (A Better Chance) – a residence for female minority scholars attending Andover High School.

Caraviello is widely known in the community as gallery owner of Van Ward Gallery in Ogunquit, which celebrated 25 years in business in 2017.  The Van Ward Gallery features primarily contemporary and period fine art, as well as many works found in the surrounding Ogunquit Art Colony. Chris also features works from Van Ward Gallery at the Cliff House in Cape Neddick.

Prior to opening Van Ward Gallery, Caraviello was associated with Renjeau Gallery in Natick, Mass., and Newman Galleries, in Boston.

He and his wife, Dianne, live in Cape Neddick. They have three children, Van Caraviello, Natalie Gomez-Martinez and Ommel Bonilla.

To find out more about the Van Ward Gallery, visit http://www.vanwardgallery.me/index.html