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About TWS

About the Texas Watercolor Society

In 1949, TWS was founded by Margaret Pace Willson and Amy Freeman Lee with the mission to advance the art of painting in watercolors, and hold annual exhibitions of watercolor paintings.” In the beginning the exhibit was selected by nationally recognized jurors and limited to artists residing in Texas.

Today, more than 74 years later, TWS continues to promote the high standards set by its founders. Thus, as a national exhibit, TWS proudly takes its place among the elite watercolor organizations in the nation.

The exhibitions were held at the Witte Memorial Museum and McNay Art Museum from 1950 until 1970. In 1950, the first exhibit had 49 paintings and 15 awards with $100 for the top award.

The 25th Exhibit offered $25,000, the most prize money in the history of watercolor exhibitions in this country: 72 awards for 110 paintings, chosen from 600 entries. There were two traveling circuit exhibitions in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana. By 1979, 2,465 paintings had been exhibited with 10,150 paintings submitted.

42nd Exhibit: TWS became a national show awarding $2000 for Best of Show, with membership throughout the nation.

In 1999 we celebrated our 50th Anniversary Exhibit of the Texas Watercolor Society at the San Antonio Museum of Art with the first all color catalog including photos of all of the paintings and a special $1000 Award for Texas Artists. The exhibition honored our two living founders: Amy Freeman Lee and Margaret Pace Willson. The exhibit was the headliner of San Antonio’s fourth Watercolor Month. The book, Texas Watercolor Society, Fifty Years of Excellence, featured 125 of our 356 members, debuted. Show entries reached an all time high of 865.

Today, TWS continues to exhibit and promote some of the of the best artists working in that unique and vibrant medium — watercolor.