Who We Are

Who we are

Our Mission

To promote a stronger awareness and interest in watercolor as well as advancement of the watercolor media as an art form, through presentation, workshops, juried shows and artist networking.

Our Founders

The Michigan Water Color Society was founded in 1946 by an enthusiastic group of young artists who envisioned and organization to promote the awareness of watercolor in Michigan. Their aim was to further watercolor education, maintain high standards artistically, while based on the premise of integrity and professionalism, and to be a forum open to all points of view.

A committee of working artists met for months, often lasting late into the evening, to form the policies and a constitution to present to a group of exhibiting painters in our state. The MWCS Founders were Mary Jane Bigler, Wayne Claxton and Helen E. May of Wayne State University; William A. Bostick, Secretary at the D.I.A.; Donald Gooch and Emil Weddige of the University of Michigan; Donald Brackett of Cass Technical High School; Mary Jane Anway; Thad Brykalski of Mason Inc.; and Ernest Scanes and Nelson Welch from the Scarab Club. Except for Ms. May, all these visionaries served on the first Board of Directors.

Wayne State University eventually became the hub of energy for watercolor painting as Professors Mary Jane Bigler and Louise Jansson Nobili, who was also instrumental in developing the MWCS, were strong influences in the Painting Department throughout their respective teaching careers. The late Ms. Bigler remained active as a Board member or advisor her entire life, encouraging innovative ideas and successful fundraising, while keeping a watchful eye for political pressures which could compromise quality exhibitions. Their emphasis on self discovery and personal content, rather than technique alone, produced the painters who kept the MWCS alive.

By-Laws of the Michigan Watercolor Society

Use the button below to view the latest revision of the By-Laws


Annual Calendar

MWCS hosts two meetings a year for the members as well as an Annual Juried Exhibition.

• Fall Meeting/Presentation and demonstration: two well-known watercolor artists present their work and process
• December MWCS Annual Exhibition Prospectus is delivered (The Juror must be a nationally recognized award-winning artist from outside the state of Michigan).
• February: MWCS Annual Exhibition Entry Slide Show Presentation with a short general meeting
• Spring Annual Exhibition Opening: 60 to 90 works chosen with over $5000 in awards presented
• MWCS Travel Show: The 30 award winning paintings tour the state of Michigan

Join the Michigan Water Color Society

Membership in the Michigan Water Color Society is open to Michigan Residents (past or present). Dues are paid annually the first of September and provide member privileges for one calendar year.

2021 MWCS Board

Rocco Pisto mwcsart@gmail.com

Program Chair
Ed Marsh 

Exhibition Co-Chairs
Carol LaChiusa
Nobuko Yamasaki
Susan Semenick

Membership Chair
Richard Goff

Traveling Exhibition Co-Chairs
Jeanne O’Leary
Richard Goff

Social Chair

Awards/Fundraising Chair
Ruth Forman rforman@chartermi.net

Corresponding Secretary
Mallory Lloyd


Recording Secretary
Katherine Harra Miller

Newsletter Chair
David Giordan giordan@msu.edu

David Giordan

Barbara Baker

Vicki Pisto vpisto@gmail.com

Publicity Chair
Open Position

Social Media Chair
Tracy Lyons tracylyons@live.com