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Huckaby among winners of prestigious Smithsonian portrait competition, votes could result in People’s Choice Award

Monday, March 14, 2016 • Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

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A University of Texas at Arlington assistant professor of art has been named among seven award winners of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2016 hosted by The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Huckaby, an assistant professor of painting in the Department of Art and Art History, joined UTA in 2009.

Sedrick Huckaby earned a commendation for “Sedrick, Sed, Daddy,” a self-portrait painting. A cash prize will be given to each of the winners announced on Friday, March 11 in Washington, D.C.

“It is definitely a great honor to be one of the artists recognized in a competition that is so highly selective,” said Huckaby, who will return to the National Portrait Gallery this summer to lead a discussion about his work. “I’m simply humbled by the experience and look forward to sharing my work with people across the nation.”

Huckaby’s painting and 42 works by the six other winning artists will be in the museum’s exhibition, “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today” now through Jan. 8, 2017. The competition and exhibition will then travel to three additional museums, including the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi from June 8 through May 14, 2017.

In addition, one exhibiting artist will win the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced Sept. 20. In this part of the competition, visitors to the exhibition, both online and in the gallery, will be able to cast a vote for their favorite.

“We could not be more proud of Sedrick and his very powerful and moving artistry," said Elisabeth Cawthon, Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Of course, we will encourage our UTA students, faculty and staff to vote for him in this phase of the competition. This is simply a magnificent accomplishment and well-deserved honor.”

Cawthon noted that Huckaby’s work is representative of the University's commitment under the Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact to strengthening sustainable, urban communities through a focus on cultural and social environments.

Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today,” showcases our national conversations from the past three years.

“These works not only are geographically diverse, they also reflect discussions around gender, race, poverty, healthcare, at-risk youth, migration and the power of family. These pieces are powerful in this regard because each displays an intimate connection between the artists and their sitters.”

Huckaby joined the UTA Department of Art and Art History in 2009. He is the winner of numerous awards, including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Recently, his work was added to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work can also be found in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine arts, Boston and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. A native of Fort Worth, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University.

Huckaby’s next local exhibition, “Three Forbidden F Words: Faith, Family and Fathers” will be held at the Valley House Gallery, 6616 Spring Valley Road, Dallas, beginning April 2. Visit for more information.

Competition fosters philanthropy, artistry and diversity

Held every three years, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is made possible by a gift from volunteer and benefactor Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005). The competition invites artists all over America to investigate the art of contemporary portraiture. The resulting exhibition celebrates excellence and innovation, with a strong focus on the variety of portrait media used by artists today.

Courtesy of Cheryl Vogel, Valley House Gallery

"Sed “Sedrick, Sed, Daddy" in the exhibition "The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today" at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

In all, more than 2,500 entries in a variety of visual-arts media were entered into the national competition this year. Submissions included digital animation and video, large-scale drawings, prints, photographs and textiles, as well as painted and sculpted portraits.

The 43 selected finalists mark a turning point in advancing American contemporary portraiture, according to a statement from the National Portrait Gallery. The jurors considered this exhibition a synopsis of historical and cultural events that have unfolded in the past three rounds, particularly in terms of race, sexual identity, gender and concerns about protecting childhood in an age of technology and gun violence.

External jurors for the competition were Dawoud Bey, professor of art and a Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College in Chicago; Helen Molesworth, chief curator at LA MOCA; Jerry Saltz, senior art critic at New York magazine; and John Valadez, a Los Angeles–based realist painter and muralist. National Portrait Gallery staff on the jury were Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, and Dorothy Moss, associate curator of painting and sculpture and competition director.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie “highest research activity” institution of more than 50,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UTA as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. UTA is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at