Friday, May 02, 2008

TAM: about the Neddy


Ned Behnke was a beloved member of the Behnke Family and a renowned and talented painter. Ned had a passion for the arts that extended beyond his own work. He appreciated the myriad forms that art takes and realized its importance in the community.


Shari D. Behnke founded the Neddy in 1996 as a way to honor Ned’s legacy as a visual artist. Realizing that supporting visual artists was an important and meaningful way to maintain a vibrant art community, Shari and her husband John worked with Anne Focke to develop the protocol for the Neddy.


The Neddy under the auspices of the Behnke Foundation has become one of the most important art awards in Seattle. The artists who have been recognized are vibrant and talented with a unique vision and a strong passion for their art as well as for art in the community.


The Neddy is an annual fellowship given by the Behnke Foundation in the memory of Robert E. (“Ned”) Behnke, in celebration of his life as an artist. Each year, two $15,000 fellowships are given – one in painting and one in a rotating discipline. In 2008, the award will be given in both Painting and Ceramics. Nominated artists also receive $1,000.


The fellowship is an unrestricted fellowship. Artist recipients will determine how to use the award to best help their work, but because The Neddy is given through the auspices of the Behnke Foundation, the Foundation must record the activity the fellowship supports and the artist’s achievements. The Foundation will assist the artists to clarify objectives for the fellowship year. At the end of the fellowship year, the artist will submit a report describing how the award was used and the effect it had on their work.


An artist cannot apply for a Neddy fellowship. Instead, to identify fellowship recipients, a group of nominators comprised of local artists, collectors and other members of the arts community nominate an artist using the criteria as set out by the Behnke Foundation. These nominators are known for their expertise and their familiarity with the works of artists in the area. A separate selector, also an arts professional, then reviews applications from the nominees, conducts site visits and selects artists to receive the fellowships.


Each year a catalog is produced to highlight the creative achievements of The Neddy Award recipients along with an exhibition. For the last two years, the Foundation has been proud to partner with the Tacoma Art Museum who has generously produced both the catalog and exhibition.


See more images of Ned Behnke’s paintings at



Heide Fernandez-Llamazares

Museum Educator and Docent Coordinator



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Tacoma, Washington 98402

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