Joe Miller Receives AWS Dolphin Award

Joe Miller: Dolphin Award WinnerThere are exclusive awards like the Heisman Trophy, and then there are really exclusive awards like the Dolphin Medal. The Dolphin Award is the American Watercolor Society’s highest honor and has only been given to eleven people prior to 2006. Recently, our very own Cheap Joe became the 12th recipient of the American Watercolor Society Dolphin Award, "for outstanding effort on behalf of the visual arts, artists and organizations, and with special recognition for his support of artists working in watermedia and for his enthusiastic cooperation with the educational efforts of the American Watercolor Society."

“I was really honored,” said Miller. “I didn’t even know that I was nominated. They told me about a month before the American Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition in Manhattan.” Miller and his wife, Lynda, attended the convention and awards ceremony at the Salmagundi Club in New York where he received the Dolphin Award.

“The event was also the annual American Watercolor Society Art Show,” said Miller. “It was quite a thing. The top 100 or so watercolor artists in the country were in attendance. I got to meet quite a few of them for the first time and renew my acquaintance with those I had already met.”

The American Watercolor Society is the oldest watercolor society in the world and the event in Manhattan marked the society’s 139th Annual Exhibition. During the event, Miller was inducted into the society’s exclusive Dolphin Fellowship.

“It was gratifying to add Joe’s name to our list of special people who have been given this award,” said AWS president Janet Walsh. “(He) is a very successful and astute businessman. What is not so well known is that he is also a generous philanthropist who supports many charities. As a special point of interest to members of the AWS is the fact that Joe, as a watercolorist and workshop instructor himself, directs most of his generosity toward fostering and supporting other artists.”

The programs that Walsh cited as proof of Miller’s dedication to art and philanthropy included Brushes for Vincent, a program supplying art materials to needy children; We Care Postcards, an outreach program to help artists who have sustained major losses of materials due to hurricanes and other natural disasters; two annual scholarships for art students at Appalachian State University; art workshop scholarships for local high school students; and ongoing support of the High Country Watermedia Society and the Annual Brian Ayers Art Exhibition, among other examples.

Miller is also the author and artist of the coffee table art book Joe’s Journals: The Art & Tales of a Sojourner.

“Many of you know Joe, as I do, as ‘Cheap Joe,’ the supplier of much of our watercolor materials for years,” said Walsh. “But cheap is certainly not the right adjective to describe this man’s character. In addition to his support of the Methodist Commitment on Relief for Tsunami and Katrina Victims, the Boy Scouts of America, United Way, the Rainbow Center, the Baptist Children’s Home and many other charities, he is especially interested in causes that help artists in need.”

Miller’s resumé of contributions to good causes makes the inscription on the Dolphin Medal doubly appropriate. The inscription reads: To Joe Miller for outstanding effort on behalf of the visual arts, artists and organizations, and with special recognition for his support of artists working in watermedia and for his enthusiastic cooperation with the educational efforts of the American Watercolor Society.

The Dolphin Medal

The Dolphin Medal is a three-inch bronze medal awarded by the American Watercolor Society to a person, persons or organizations who have made “outstanding contributions to art—especially to watercolor and the American Watercolor Society.”

Recipients of the Dolphin Medal immediately become honorary members of the AWS Dolphin Fellowship, if they are not already members of that group.

Previous recipients of the Dolphin Medal include Andrew Wyeth (1994), Chen Chi (1992) and Dale Meyers (2000). Miller stated that he plans to have his Dolphin Award and accompanying certificate framed and put on display at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff in the Boone Industrial Park.

The Dolphin Fellowship

The Dolphin Fellowship was created to encourage artists to produce more award-winning paintings for the advancement of watercolor.

“The American Watercolor Society had come of age, and we feel this fellowship will add new luster to the Society,” said an AWS spokesperson. “Unlike some memberships where candidates have to be sponsored by other Fellows to achieve membership, membership in the Dolphin Fellowship is obtained by merit alone in accordance with the point system. The points required to be a Fellow are five and must be won by AWS members at one or more of our national exhibitions.”

Hats off to you Joe, we are so proud of you!!!!

Article by Jeff Eason of The Mountain Times. Thanks Jeff!

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