ellen lesperance

Ellen Lesperance, She Stormed the Compound Singing: “Old and Strong, She Goes On and On, On and On, You Can’t Kill the Spirit, She is Like a Mountain", 22 × 29 in., gouache and graphite on paper, 2009. Image courtesy of artist.

WHO Ellen Lesperance of Portland, Ore., is a mixed-media artist who draws inspiration from activism—namely, women in direct action campaigns and the clothing they wear. The work that enamored the Betty Bowen committee uses gouache and graphite to recreate sweater patterns on paper (see photo, left).

WHAT The Betty Bowen Award is SAM’s big annual grant given to an artist from the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) who’s impressed a board of local contemporaries (this year’s nominating committee includes two former Bowen winners, photographer Isaac Layman and sculptor Dan Webb). The artist wins $15,000 in unrestricted cash and a spot on the walls of SAM.

WHEN Lesperance and Bowen "Special Recognition" winners Eli Hansen ($2,500) and Barbara Sternberger ($2,500) will discuss their work on Thursday, October 21, from 6-7 pm in the Plestcheeff Auditorium at SAM’s downtown branch, with a reception to follow. The award ceremony and reception are both free and open to the public.

To find out more, go to seattleartmuseum.org.