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2023 Regional Juried Exhibit Prize Winners!

Congratulations to all the fantastic artists from this year’s Regional Juried Exhibit!

This year’s show was juried by Nehemiah Dixon, Senior Director for Programs and Community Engagement at The Phillips Collection. Artists from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia were invited to submit original hanging work, in any medium, to be considered. Response from the call was significant, with 170 artists submitting over 700 pieces. Dixon selected 113 pieces for the show.

Nehemiah Dixon, III is the Senior Director of Programs and Community Engagement at The Phillips Collection, America’s first modern art museum located in Washington, DC. In this role he is responsible for the oversite and strategy of a robust and innovative community engagement plan, through the development and delivery of public programs, exhibitions, and commissions at both the Museum and The Phillips Collection’s satellite location (the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus also known as THEARC), and the coordination of community engagement activities across DC by partnering with organizations such as the DC Public Library, The Nicholson Project, TASSC International, Washington Sculptors Group, and other local arts organizations and artists. Nehemiah collaborates deeply with his colleagues in curatorial, digital, and design staff to implement exhibitions, public programs, symposia, and workshops at the museum, online, and at the museum’s satellite location in Washington DC’s eighth ward. He oversees the Head of Public Programs, the Head of Experiential Learning, and the Manager of Community Projects.

On Tuesday, January 10th, Dixon spent several hours making the tough decision on who would be awarded the First, Second, and Third Prizes, along with several Honorable Mentions. Here are his selections.

FIRST PRIZE: “Tenement Talk, after Gordon Parks” by Paula Cleggett

About the Piece: Neighbors tend to their homes and have a friendly exchange from their apartment porches.

“Tenement Talk, after Gordon Parks” by Paula Cleggett, Oil on Canvas

Artist Statement: Strength. Beauty. Fierce freedom. Cultural comfort. Can they coexist on canvas? My travels and daily observations present me with people and places that convey these characteristics and offer a wellspring of opportunities for creative expression. Whether colorful fall foliage or a vacant wintry hillside, nature’s strength, grace and beauty are evident and boundless. I find immense pleasure in capturing a moment of Earth’s continually changing palette.

No less intriguing are engaging faces and figures that mirror individual strength, confidence yet an at-ease-ness. Some are graphic and grouped, others representational and solitary. All connect me with our diverse humanity, all of whom share life’s dreams and dramas.

I paint with oils, gaining confidence with every completed canvas, all while keenly observing the world around me.

Click HERE to purchase this piece. See more of Paula’s work HERE.

SECOND PRIZE: “Studio 54 No.1” by Susan Balamaci

About the Piece: Semi-abstract high contrast dance scene.

“Studio 54 No.1” by Susan Balamaci, Oil on Canvas

Artist Statement: There is so much about the world that excites me and that pulls me toward it. There are things I wanted to be part of, but never was: partly by design, partly because of who I am. I explore and capture these moments on my canvas. I crave the fun and the energy that is out there; I want to capture it and hold on to it in my painting. My exploration is in the moments and energy that happen in an instant, my intention is to capture that impermanence of energy and motion. These micro-moments are both nostalgic and catalytic to me because I love watching people and remembering to feel inspired to want it again. It energizes me to make more memories and most importantly to have more fun.

Click HERE to purchase this piece. See more of Susan’s work HERE.

THIRD PRIZE: “Dollar Mike” by Scot McKenzie

About the Piece: Based on an imagined character from a Kendrick Lamar song. Dollar Mike depicts a corrupt and pretentious fool; a wayward soul. So deeply a clown and so deeply unaware, he elicits sadness, derision, and humour all at the same time.

“Dollar Mike” by Scot McKenzie, Steel, Patina, & Paint

Artist Statement: Metals are unforgiving materials to work with and challenging technically. It seems impossible at times to achieve subtle expression in form. The tension I feel between the ideas I imagine visually and my ability to realize them in three-dimensional reality is compelling, and vital to my artwork. I do everything by hand, experimenting with a palette of direct-metal sculpture techniques to contend with the limits of what is possible in bronze and steel. These struggles are like a mirror, or perhaps a window, into the tenuous balance between the natural world and modern technology.

Click HERE to purchase this piece.


Jeffrey Felten-Green “Upton O’Good, You Take the Cake!”
Terence Nicholson “Adams Morgan 2003: The Sum of All Fears”
Isabella Merlos “Searching for Freedom”
Sara Bardin “Capricious”
Felicia Reed “Circles of Giving”
Naaz Sadri “Nature in Peace”

The 2023 Regional Juried Exhibit runs until April 16, 2023. You can view all pieces virtually here. Or call (202)-549-4172 for a viewing appointment at Hill Center.

Chloe began as Hill Center's Programming Assistant in June 2022, and now works as the Marketing & Communications Coordinator.

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