Mid-Southern Watercolorists ("MSW") was formed in June of 1970 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity to elevate the stature of watercolor and to educate the public to the significance of watercolor as an important creative permanent painting medium. It was founded in Little Rock by Catherine Tharp Altvater, Bruce R. Anderson, Edwin C. Brewer, Josephine Graham and Doris Williamson Mapes. (All founders are now deceased.) (One of Mrs. Mapes’ paintings is currently hanging in Watercolor in the Park Restaurant.)
Since its beginning nearly fifty years ago, the organization has grown to more than 200 members. Its membership is international, with members from 19 states, Puerto Rico and from Japan. Membership is open to the public.
The serious watercolor artist has a deep love for the medium and is continually seeking to grow as an artist. MSW provides those growth opportunities through workshops and exhibitions. The ultimate expression of accomplishment for an MSW artist is “Diamond Status”, which is awarded for those whose work has been accepted into five separate MSW annual juried exhibitions, and “Signature Status”, awarded to those whose work has been accepted into three annual juried exhibitions.
To further members’ artistic development, workshops with nationally recognized watercolorists are conducted twice a year as well as other workshops with local artists. Each year, MSW conducts one of the highest quality and most competitive juried art exhibitions in the South. The quality of MSW's exhibitions is due to the selection process by a nationally recognized juror and made possibly through the generosity of sponsors and donors.
MSW holds gatherings during most of the months of the year wherein members and those with an interest in watercolor come together and paint for several hours, learn from each other and make new friends.