The Peggy Vermeer and Barone Sculpture Awards


The annual Palm Springs Art Museum Artist Council Exhibition (ACE) continues to December 13.  Five artists were acknowledged for their work. Two award recipients are Veralee Bassler, recipient of the Karen and Tony Barone Award for Sculpture, and Beth Adams, recipient of the Peggy Vermeer Award.

Veralee Bassler is the recipient of the Karen and Tony Barone Award for Sculpture, sponsored by Karen and Tony Barone, for her work Danzante #2.  Bassler, 82 years old, began her journey in clay in high school and believes that she and clay are “good old friends”. Using the pinch clay technique, (where the work in “pinched” into form) Bassler created her winning piece. “My objects are direct, virtuosity not being my way. As for influences, some are rocks, some are cacti (hence, Danzantes), some are the richly painted and ancient weathered walls of Oaxaca, Mexico,” she noted in her statement.

“We have the privilege of sponsoring the Karen & Tony Barone Sculpture Award each year. It is important to us to recognize, encourage, and inspire other sculptors who put their hearts and souls into producing works of art that will enrich the public,” said artist/philanthropists Karen and Tony Barone. (I was honored to be the first recipient of the Barone Sculpture award for my piece, 4 fame).

Peggy Vermeer moved to the desert in 1962 and her indelible mark is hard to miss. She continues to give much to the community, as a teacher, artist, museum docent and inspiration. She is the first local artist to have a piece, Medea, purchased and donated to the museum’s permanent collection. It should be no surprise that the piece was purchased and donated by philanthropist Donna MacMillan.

“The Artists Council started the Peggy Vermeer Award in 2016 to honor our longest serving member and a great supporter of local art and artists. Peggy was one of the early leaders of the Artists Council and served on the Board for many years. She was also one of the first docents at the museum. The award is sponsored by contributions from individual Board members,” noted artist council president Maryanne Sutherland. “This year Beth Adams received the Peggy Vermeer Award.”

This year’s award is especially poignant with the recent passing of Peggy Vermeer. She was 93 years old. Her passing leaves a void in the local art community as well as to the Artist Council. The award, created during her lifetime, is testament to her contributions to the arts community.

Beth Adams, recipient of the Vermeer award, created Waterfall/Window. The piece is 48 in. x 30 in., acrylic on canvas. In her description, Adams stated, “Waterfalls can be symbols of impermanence, of continuous evolution and fluidity. The downward movement is derived from the still center, immutable, infinite potentiality. Waterfalls are emblems of continued motion; water is the symbol of unconscious energy. Waterfalls are ever changing, renewing: representing openness, flexibility, power, form, and spirituality. Water is one of the four crucial elements for life. For me, my waterfall paintings symbolize continuous creation and life.”

Continuous creation and life – an apt description of Peggy Vermeer. Thank you Peggy for the light you gave to the art community.

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