About WHS

Mission Statement

The mission of WHS shall be to elevate the stature of watermedia painting and to educate the public to the significance of watercolor as an important creative permanent painting medium; to further the interest of painting in watercolor by artists, art students, and others engaged in the visual arts; to establish and promote the highest aesthetic standards in the field of watercolor painting at the Springfield Art Museum, Missouri; and to cooperate with and to promote membership and participation in other similar organizations located throughout the United States and abroad.

Watercolor USA Honor Society has a passionate mission:

  • Watercolor USA Honor Society will endeavor to cultivate and promote an interest in watercolor painting through Watercolor USA, an annual competitive exhibition sponsored by the Springfield Art Museum. WHS members will encourage and support every artist’s efforts to gain prominence and a significant voice through the prestigious venue of Watercolor USA.
  • Watercolor USA Honor Society’s purpose will be to focus national attention on the Springfield Art Museum, as a repository for conserving, preserving, and collecting watercolor painting. The Museum’s permanent collection will provide the ultimate perspective on watercolor paintings from the twentieth century and beyond.
  • Watercolor USA Honor Society will be devoted to strengthening and enlarging the Museum’s collection of contemporary watercolor painting. Through the solicitation of gifts to the collection and by direct purchases of significant works of art, WHS will partner Springfield Art Museum, as it builds the most formidable collection of contemporary watermedia painting in existence.
  • Watercolor USA Honor Society will recognize and honor the individual artists who either won awards in Watercolor USA, have had work accepted into three Watercolor USA Exhibitions or have served as jurors for the exhibition.
  • Watercolor USA Honor Society members will commit to be educational leaders for the advancement of the medium of watercolor by contributing their time and efforts both as members of WHS and as individual ambassadors to champion the advancement of watercolor painting. WHS members will share the goal of providing educational experiences for the benefit of the members of the Society and for the general public through exhibitions, demonstrations, lectures, workshops, and symposia. Educational support for the future of watercolor painting with an energetic exchange of knowledge will be ongoing and ever evolving.

History of Watercolor USA Honor Society

pdf A Brief History of Watercolor USA Honor Society

pdf A Complete History of Watercolor USA Honor Society 1986-Present by Missie Dickens and Sandra Schaffer, WHS Historians (PDF)

pdf Articles of Incorporation of a Central Not For Profit Corporation 10/7/85

History WHS Bylaws

History WHS Standard Operating Procedures

WHS Lifetime Achievement
Award Recipients

1997 Charles LeClair and Ed Reep

2000 Carolyn Brady and Glenn Bradshaw

2003 Keith Crown and Milford Zornes

2006 Bill Armstrong and Harold Gregor

2009 Lee Weiss

Posthumous recipients:

Judy Richardson Gard

Electra Stamelos

Georg Shook

Rob Erdle

2012 Katherine Chang Liu and Judi Betts

2015 Miles Batt, Sr. and Kent Addison

2018  Dean Mitchell and Donald K. Lake

2021 Cheng-Khee Chee, Marilynne Bradley

Qualifications for Signature
Membership in WHS

Persons who are granted Juror-selected Awards from Watercolor USA, or whose paintings are purchased for the permanent collection of the Springfield Art Museum from said exhibition or who serve as jurors for Watercolor USA are eligible to become signature members of WHS. Effective 2000 forward persons accepted into 3 exhibitions of Watercolor USA will be eligible for signature membership. Upon joining and paying dues, members may participate in all WHS activities and may sign WHS after their signature.

WHS Past Presidents

  1. Bill Armstrong 1986-1987
  2. Lee Weiss 1988
  3. Judy Richardson Gard 1989-1990
  4. Georg Shook 1991-1992
  5. Ellen Murray 1993-1994
  6. Electra Stamelos 1995-1997
  7. Rob Erdle 1998-1999
  8. Carolyn Lord 2000
  9. WHS Ad Hoc Committee 2001
  10. Elizabeth Yarosz-Ash 2002-2003
  11. Missie Dickens 2004-2005
  12. Howard Kaye 2006-2007
  13. Sandra Schaffer 2008-2011
  14. Bob Mejer 2012-2016
  15. Laurin McCracken 2016-2020