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ARA students and faculty shortlisted in 13th International ARC Salon Competition

ARC salon 2017

We are thrilled to announce that 18 of our students, alumni, and faculty have been selected as finalists in the 13th International Art Renewal Center (ARC) Salon Competition, for a combined total of 25 shortlisted entries.

The ARC Salon is billed as the most prestigious realist art competition in the Americas and perhaps the world. In 2017, the ARC received over 3,750 entries from 69 countries, with only the top 28% being shortlisted as finalists. The competition offers over $100,000 in cash awards and international recognition through partnerships with prestigious magazines, galleries, museum exhibitions, and a strong online presence.

The full list of finalists has been released, and the winners will be announced in February 2018. Congratulations and good luck to all the shortlisted artists! Here are the finalists from ARA, with a selection of their shortlisted works.


Current ARA students

Jennifer Barolet
Fortified Organic*

Susan Beaver
Peggy’s Cove

Lois Hunter
Tea Time*

Tea Time was inspired by the warm memories associated with this simple gold and white Limoge china set that belonged to Hunter’s maternal grandmother. By observing and feeling the surface of the smooth slightly translucent fine antique china while painting its form, Hunter imparts an intimate endearment both with the items and the previous owners.

Lois Hunter - Tea Time

Alexandrea Nicholas-Jennings

Viewing the artwork in the Vatican became the catalyst for Icarus – the story of ‘feathers and wax’ and the awareness of one’s own humility. Icarus is a painting concerned with being humbled by attempting to emulate nature as a classically trained artist.

Alexandrea Nicholas-Jennings - Icarus

Miriam Rosenthal
Untitled Figure*
Untitled Still Life

Anita Van Zeumeren
A Broken Gospel*

This piece is a response to the cultural genocide that occurred as a result of the Canadian government’s assimilation policies toward the First Peoples, particularly the Residential School system.  A believer in the overarching message of love and hope in the Bible, Van Zeumeren’s heart breaks to know that the message found within it was used to shame, humiliate and strip children and whole communities of their identity, religion, families, and culture. For 6,000 children, it cost them their lives. Gospel means “good news”. Tragically, in the hands of those with a colonial mindset it was bad news, thus a broken gospel. Van Zeumeren had the honour of listening to Indigenous elders share their spirituality, which she represents in the teaching wheel in the background and the feathers in the foreground of the painting. With this piece, she enlarges her own understanding of hope and love.


Past ARA students and alumni

Denise Antaya
Catching the Light*
The Hideaway

Catching the Light depicts a cattle barn situated outside of Port Stanley, Ontario along the northern shoreline of Lake Erie. When the sun started to set on this cold, winter day, the light painted the signs advertising the local businesses with a rich, warm glow. Antaya captures the coldness of the day and the warmth of the sun in this otherwise normal scene.

This multi-award-winning piece was also awarded Best Landscape in the 12th Annual International Guild of Realism Show in Carmel, CA, and Editor’s Choice in the Artwork Archive Online Contest, among others.

Denise Antaya - Catching the LIght

Jenny Carr
3 Rivers*

Carr’s inspiration for this painting came from the natural world, with its expansive beauty, endless variety of forms, colours, and textures. It represents the spiritual course of life like the running tide.

The scene includes nautical elements that Carr brough together from travels across the world, from a nautilus shell from a scenic Southern Coast river town called Batemans Bay in Australia, to the worn bottles from a muddy riverbed, to the driftwood from a canoeing excursion near Algonquin Park in Ontario. The background is an old door, like one from an old ship’s cabin, and a key opens doors to the unknown future or secures a hidden past. Lastly, the wheel represents the wheel of life, constantly changing and challenging us.

Jenny Carr - 3 Rivers

Miki K.T. Chart
Il Ciclo Di Vita

Sandra Murphy
Red Roadster*

Red Roadster was inspired by a lovely antique red car found in a local shop. The history of the car appealed to Murphy: How old is it? Who owned it? What did it mean to them? How did it end up in an antique shop? Murphy paired it with an odd paper mâché sparkler container, Hardy Boys and other books that once belonged to her son, a vintage game set, rusty old wheel and slinky: all things that might be found on a young boy’s shelf.

Sandra Murphy - Red Roadster

Alan Ray

This work is one of a series of figures where Ray depicts characters in quiet, private places with an air of mystery and intrigue. In “Disturbance”, a gentleman has been roused from his sleep by someone — or something. While investigating by candlelight, he comes across the answer. With Ray’s own charcoal cast drawing of Venus depicted in the background, the drawing lends a ghostly presence to the scene, adding to the man’s expression of surprise.

Alan Ray - Disturbance

Albert Slark (workshop participant)
Chinese Fan and Lemon

Matthew Tarini
Street Light

Jeffrey Weekes
The Workbench

The Workbench is a gathering of old tools and remnants from Weekes’s childhood, illuminated and put together in a fashion that he later realized resembled an old workbench in his grandfather’s basement. After building the scene in that same garage where he grew up, Weekes spent hours studying the colours and shapes to capture and embrace the essence of the sentiment he was trying to create. The original intention was to create the idea of a tattered workplace scene that appeared abandoned by its operator, leaving the viewer to ponder the whereabouts of its master, the intentions of what had taken place for the hours previous to this frozen moment, and what may happen next.

The scene recalls childhood memories of flicking the basement light to reveal a dusty and tattered workbench and carefully placed tools. Nuts, bolts, nails, hinge pins, pencils stored in old tins and recycled shelving made from wooden crates. This beloved room and many references to it continue to resonate through Weekes’s work.

The painting is framed in pieces of wood that appear in the painting itself.

Jeffrey Weekes - The Workbench


ARA faculty

Julie Beck (ARA Boston)
A Creative Block
Are We Men or Are We Comets
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
Not My Circus*

Not My Circus is a modern interpretation of the Dumbo story. In this painting, the feather represents the illusion of what we currently “think” we need in order to succeed or to be happy in life. Oftentimes, just as Dumbo thought he needed the feather to fly, our consumer society tells us what will make us happy or feel fulfilled. This illusion is dangerous and unhealthy and prevents people from finding true happiness. The crows represent different relationships, where a few look to be confronting each other, others look to be passive, and one directly engages the viewer.

While this story, like many other famous children’s movies, is meant to teach moral lessons and have a happy ending, it’s disheartening to revisit the story lines as adults in a more progressive era. Some characters can often be derogatory stereotypes of races and cultures, leading to a dichotomy of feelings about both the story and our society.

Julie Beck - Not My Circus

Emanuela De Musis (ARA Boston)
Reading Margaret Fuller*

Margaret Fuller, born in 1810, wrote what is considered to be the first major American Feminist work. Involved in the transcendentalism movement, she held “conversations”, in Boston, bringing together women to discuss and debate a variety of subjects. Her death at 40 years of age in 1850, shipwrecked off Fire Island New York while traveling back from several years abroad, occurred just two years after Seneca Falls, the first women’s rights convention in the US.

This leaves the artist to ponder the “what if?” and “what more could have been?”

As is, she is largely forgotten.

Emanuela De Musis - Reading Margaret Fuller

Eric Johnson (ARA Boston)
Me, Myself and Hyde*

Eric Johnson - Me, Myself and Hyde

Juan Martinez
Burning Woman*

Juan Martinez - Burning Woman