For Immediate Release

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Gibbes Museum of Art Names John Westmark Winner of the 2012 Factor Prize for Southern Art

(May 14, 2012 - Charleston, South Carolina) – The Gibbes Museum of Art tonight announced that painter John Westmark has won the 2012 Elizabeth and Mallory Factor Prize for Southern Art and the $10,000 cash prize that accompanies the award. Westmark accepted the award at the museum’s Annual Meeting Celebration on May 14. The Factor Prize acknowledges an artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South. Artists were nominated for the 2012 Prize online at through February. In March, seven panelists narrowed the list to five finalists who along with Westmark, included Aldwyth, Brian Dettmer, Young Kim, and Bob Trotman. The Factor Prize website not only serves as a nomination point for artists but it is also an archive of information about Southern artists that can be used by curators, collectors, academicians, and the public.

“Selecting a winner is always difficult, and with such high-caliber artists on the short list, this year was no exception. John Westmark’s work stood out among the rest for his technical skill and innovative use of materials, but also for his narrative approach that speaks to the southern storytelling tradition,” said Angela Mack, Executive Director of the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Born in Alabama and raised in Florida, John Westmark is a painter whose large-scale works incorporate store-bought paper sewing patterns collaged directly on the surface. Populated by figures cut and shaped from the patterns, Westmark’s paintings create mythical narratives, much like folklore cut from the fabric of human experience.

According to Westmark, “The support and acknowledgement from the Gibbes Museum and Elizabeth and Mallory Factor is a huge boost to my art making practice. I am extremely thankful and honored to be the 2012 winner of the Factor Prize.”

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. 

Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection and presents special exhibitions annually. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives.

As the aesthetic heart of the Lowcountry, the Gibbes serves the community by stimulating creative expression, increasing economic vitality through tourism, and improving the region’s superb quality of life.

135 Meeting Street * Charleston, SC * 29401