45th Annual Western Federation Exhibition

Western Federation of Watercolor Societies Exhibition


About WFWS

The Western Federation of Watercolor Societies (WFWS) was formed in 1976 by the New Mexico Watercolor Society and included nine other watercolor societies. The purpose was to make a large and prestigious watercolor exhibition available at low cost to members for small and often isolated watercolor groups.

Visit the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies’ website at wfws.org for more information.

Today, the WFWS includes over 5,000 artists in eleven regional watercolor societies and guilds. The WFWS encourages and recognizes artistic excellence and works to increase visibility of watercolor as an artistic medium through our annual juried exhibitions. The exhibitions are sponsored by WFWS and hosted by a regional member society.  Delegates meet annually (usually at the current show) to conduct general business and discuss the next year’s plans.  Each society hosts the show on a rotating basis.


“Watercolors Breathe Life into the Gem State”

An extraordinary exhibition for abnormal times

June 5- 7, 2020

Riverside Hotel Ballroom

Art brings therapy for a pandemic on June 5. The Idaho Watercolor Society (IWS) will present the winners of the 45th annual Western Federation of Watercolor Societies (WFWS) competition at The Riverside Hotel. The exhibition, called “Watercolors Breathe Life into the Gem State,” will continue through June 7, entirely free to the public.

From nearly 1000 entries, world-renowned watercolorist and author Stephen Quiller selected the 100 best. He has described the collection as exceptional, and worthy of a special effort to share the art with the public during this pandemic. Health precautions of masking and social distancing will be in force.

“This is not the exhibition we have been planning for three years,” explains WFWS Project Chairman, Boise watercolorist Anne Watson Sorensen. “It was to be a fabulous two-month exhibition in the newly renovated Idaho State Museum with a gala awards ceremony and fancy artists’ reception. No sooner had all the juried-in paintings arrived here, when everything changed. That exhibition was cancelled. Still, we couldn’t bear to just pack them all up and send them back.”

WFWS is a consortium of regional watercolor societies from Oregon to Texas, with a total membership of about 5500. Being juried into this annual exhibition is a significant professional accomplishment for watermedia artists. Over $10,000 in cash and merchandise has been awarded to the top entries in the Boise show, which includes artists from all ten societies. Visitors to the exhibition will also vote the “People’s Choice” additional cash prize.

And that art therapy?  “We want our exhibition guests to quietly engage, immerse in the comfort of this beautiful art,” adds Sorensen. “Let the creativity of this show help guide a path to the new normal. Our world has changed, but the healing qualities of art have not.”

The Riverside Hotel will host the free exhibition in their main ballroom from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, June 5-6, and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 7. The exhibition can also be viewed online beginning June 5th on the Idaho Watercolor Society YouTube channel: Idaho Watercolor Society, WFWS-45 Part 1: Gala and Awards, and Part 2: Exhibition. The comments of juror Stephen Quiller on the award-winning paintings he selected can be heard in Part 1. Find IWS at www.idahowatercolorsociety.org.


Anne Watson Sorensen

WFWS-45 Project Chairman




Karen Hickman

Publicity Lead