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McDonald Biennial Exhibition

Alumni fund exhibition through 2019

(LEFT) William McDonald congratulates Holly Sheets at the inaugural Biennial in 2011

Wilmington College’s Harcum Art Gallery was ablaze with color as art students’ 33 acrylic and watercolor paintings were judged for the first Janet and William McDonald Prize in Painting and Printmaking.

Junior Holly Sheets’ trio of untitled acrylics caught the eye of the judges — which included the chief curator from the Dayton Art Institute and New York City’s ACA Galleries curator — to win the top prize of a trophy and $1,000 check.

Hal Shunk, professor of art and Harcum Gallery curator, made the announcement at the exhibition’s opening Jan. 19, 2011.
The inaugural McDonald Biennial Exhibition is the brainchild of Wilmington College alumni Janet and William McDonald, who have committed to funding the event every two years through 2019.

“Bill and I were very pleased with the first Biennial,” Janet said, noting the large crowd at the opening coupled with the student artists’ enthusiasm served to put art in the community spotlight. “We were glad to do this.” Indeed, the couple wished to share their love for art with their alma mater by sponsoring a painting and printmaking exhibit and competition designed to motivate WC students to consider careers as working artists.

“We want to encourage Wilmington students to consider careers as painters and printmakers,” William said. “With this in mind, we tried to choose a project that might encourage the painting and printmaking student to (1) work a bit harder in studio courses, (2) embrace public exposure and evaluation of his or her works, and (3) build the strongest portfolio possible.”

In addition to Sheets winning the Best of Show, three runners up, Carissa Cruee, Zach Hughes and Audrey Ingram, were awarded $250, while Jessica Cherf and Morgan Tipton received honorable mention prizes of $150.

Shunk expressed his appreciation for the McDonalds’ “kind gift” that has served to enhance the prominence of art at the College.
“Janet and Bill gave their time, their resources and their love into every aspect of this exhibition,” he said. President Dan DiBiasio echoed those sentiments with the College’s gratitude. "By establishing the McDonald Biennial Exhibition, Bill and Janet are motivating our art students, enhancing the arts at Wilmington College and demonstrating a great affection for their alma mater.”