Art Center Sarasota Presents

Renowned Watercolor Portrait Artist Mary Whyte

Artist Talk and Book Signing on February 17

Whyte is a renowned watercolor artist, educator and author who has received international recognition for her portraiture of people who are often unheralded. Her paintings of her Gullah neighbors in South Carolina and blue-collar workers in industries vanishing throughout the south have been shown in museums and exhibitions throughout the country. In 2016, the Portrait Society of America chose Whyte as the recipient of the Society’s Gold Medal—the organization’s highest honor.


“The extraordinary work of Mary Whyte, who could easily be named the first visual poet laureate of South Carolina, is astonishing on the very face of it.

She is painting a South Carolina I thought only a poet or novelist could create.” –Pat Conroy


(Sarasota, FL) Elizabeth Goodwill, education director of Art Center Sarasota, recently announced that renowned watercolor portrait artist, author, and educator Mary Whyte will discuss her life’s work and her artistic journey, Sunday, February 17, 1-3 p.m., at Art Center Sarasota. This event will include a Q&A session and book sale and signing. Tickets are $30 for members; $35 for non-members. Wine and light bites will be served. For more information about this event, visit Whyte is also leading a three-day watercolor workshop, February 18-20, which has been sold out.

“We’re honored that Mary agreed to come to our area to share her wisdom, talent and stories,” says Goodwill. “This is a very rare opportunity for area artists and anyone interested in the artistic process.”

Whyte has received international recognition for her portraiture of people who are often unheralded. A resident of Johns Island, South Carolina, Whyte garners much of her inspiration from the Gullah descendants of coastal Carolina slaves who number among her most prominent subjects. In 2003, Whyte’s paintings of her Gullah friends culminated in a museum exhibition and book, Alfreda’s World. In 2011, Whyte’s groundbreaking exhibition, “Working South,” opened with 50 works at the Greenville County Museum of Art in South Carolina. Four additional museums signed on to exhibit the large-scale, sensitively rendered watercolors depicting blue-collar workers in industries vanishing throughout the south. Whyte’s unrivaled mastery of the watercolor medium, along with this exhibition, was featured on CBS Sunday Morning. In 2016, she received the Gold Medal from The Portrait Society of America—the organization’s highest honor. Whyte’s books include Down Bohicket Road, featuring her watercolors depicting a group of Gullah women of Johns Island, South Carolina; Working South, which captures the essence of vanishing blue-collar professions from across 10 states in the American south; and Painting Portraits and Figures In Watercolor, a guide for beginning and intermediate watercolorists.

Art Center Sarasota is located at 707 N. Tamiami Trail, in Sarasota. For more information, call 941-365-2032 or visit


About Art Center Sarasota

Art Center Sarasota was the first arts and cultural institution in Sarasota. It was founded in 1926 as the “Sarasota Art Association” by Marcia Rader, the art supervisor for the Sarasota County schools district. In the early years, the group met monthly and sponsored exhibits in rented facilities. The Association was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1943 and has been in its current location in the Sarasota Bayfront Cultural District since 1949. Art Center Sarasota is now a membership-based organization that offers curated and juried exhibitions, adult and youth education programs, outreach initiatives for underserved youth, and culturally related public programming. Art Center Sarasota’s mission is to inspire individual creative expression, nurture artistic talent and provide the community with accessible and diverse visual art opportunities.


Art Center Sarasota

707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236

Phone: 941-365-2032 § Fax: 941-366-0585


Gallery Hours:

Free admission

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday Closed Sunday