Signature Piece


The Signature Piece of art is the cornerstone of the Raise Your Hand Auction & Gala.  Each year we hold a juried competition seeking the winning piece of art that will be featured on our event poster, website, social media, and in all advertisements.  The Signature Piece of art is the most exciting component of our live auction, and in past years has raised over $6,000.00.


This Year’s Signature Piece Winner:

Linda Gritta, “Red is Feeling Brave”

The winning entry is 36″ x 36″ abstract, mixed media on canvas titled “Red is Feeling Brave.”


Painting is my passion and my poetry, and I am honored to have the opportunity to share this particular painting with the WNCAP family and beyond. “Red is Feeling Brave” speaks to the chance each of us has to become more and more our true selves with each day we are given.
There are so many wonderful organizations serving our community, and WNCAP is, in my book, one of the best. I am thrilled to play a part in the work of this creative and innovative group of people who make such a far- reaching and positive impact on the lives of so many people in our state.
– Linda Gritta, 2017 Raise Your Hand winning Signature Piece artist

Linda is a longtime supporter of WNCAP, donating to the Raise Your Hand Auction & Gala for many years, and she was the 1st runner up in the Signature Piece Competition of 2016. For more of her art, please visit the artist’s website.
Linda finds “unspeakable beauty” all around, so she lets the paint speak for her where words leave off. She delights in both representational and abstract subjects.  Whether using acrylics, oil paints or mixed media, she creates a visual vocabulary in her paintings that is personal and yet somehow universal.

On behalf of the Raise Your Hand Auction & Gala Committee, we thank all the artists who participated in this year’s Signature Piece Competition.

2017 Signature Piece Runner’s Up


Spencer Herr’s “Beginning”




First runner up in the competition is Spencer Herr, for his 5′ x 6′ acrylic and graphite on canvas entitled “Beginning.” Herr’s art can also be found on the artist’s website.




Colleen Webster, “The Drum Circle”



The second runner up is Colleen Webster for her 20″ x 24″ framed oil on canvas panel entitled “The Drum Circle.” Visit the artist’s website for more of Webster’s art.








Thank you to all of the fantastic Artists who entered in this year’s competition!

To view the other entries, please visit our Gallery.


Announcing 2017 Competition Jurors

Constance Williams

The unique and often-colorful patterning themes in Constance Williams paintings transcend, by linking a multitude
of mediums she has worked in, which becomes a rhythmic dialog, endlessly re-imagined; deviations of expanded and contracted elements from previous paintings. A mostly self-taught artist, she is endlessly stimulated to experiment, originate, and employ new ways to use and combine mediums and substrates.

Born in Somerset England, Constance was enamored with all the arts. She was an accomplished pianist and oil painter by the age of eight. In her teens she excelled in clay sculpture and continued painting. At seventeen she was a film intern in London and majored in art. Her move to the US saw her start an award winning international greeting card company. Her move to Asheville NC in 2004 was the impetus to propel her professional career as a full-time artist. She delved back into clay sculpture with great success. It was her use of waxes on post-fired sculpture that forayed her into painting with encaustic (a wax & resin paint medium) in 2006. In 2015, she introduced alcohol ink onto her encaustic paint medium and then painting alcohol ink onto Yupo paper and aluminum panels.

Constance draws inspiration from originators such as Frankenthaler, Still, and Rothko, among others. Also, the historical legend of Black Mountain College, near her home in Asheville, fostered a strong sense of individuality and creative intensity in the region. The work of its faculty and students revolutionized the arts and science scenes in the second half of the twentieth century. Among the best-known affiliates were Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Buckminster Fuller, Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, M.C. Richards, Charles Olsen and Jacob Lawrence. Their legacy continues to reverberate and inspire the next art movement in Western North Carolina.

As of December 2016, her 4000 SQ FT studio and salon of her work is located within a 50,000 SQ FT building, called the RAMP studios in Asheville NC, a professional collective of creators and makers, located just North of the River Arts District and the SW perimeter of the University North Carolina Asheville.


Virginia Derryberry

Virginia Derryberry’s work is shown regularly in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, and her paintings have been written about in an extensive list of publications including several exhibition catalogs (2016, 2014, 2009, 2008, 2006, 1998), New American Paintings magazine, and the Oxford American Magazine.   Her solo exhibition, Private Domain, shown in February, 2016, at the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, UNC Asheville, has traveled to venues in South Carolina, Alabama and Pennsylvania during 2016 and 2017.

She has received such awards as College Art Association Distinguished Teaching of Art (2017), Outstanding Artistic Achievement from the Southeastern College Art Association (2013); Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome (2016 and 2010); Distinguished Teacher of the Year (2005) and the Feldman Professor designation for scholarship (2010) from the University of North Carolina Asheville; the Annual Artist Fellowship from the Southeastern College Art Association (2005); a residency at Moulin a’ Nef, Auvillar, France, through the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (2004).

Her drawings and paintings are in numerous private collections throughout the Southeast and in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Morris Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Asheville Art Museum, the Bank of America Southeast Collection, and the Tennessee State Museum.  She also represented her work in two major public art commissions:  a site-specific installation of 16 paintings at the Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport and a 10 piece multi-panel painting at the Knoxville Convention Center.  She has taught drawing and painting in a number of universities, most recently as a Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History, UNC Asheville, from 1996 – 2015 where she also served as the Director of Undergraduate Research from 2005 – 2008 and as Department Chair from 2009-2014.  Although Derryberry retired from teaching in December 2015, she continues to actively engage in the process of making and exhibiting her paintings and fabric constructions.



Erin Kellem

Erin Kellem is an award-winning artist with decades of photography experience. Her portfolio includes landscapes and coastal images and, after moving to Asheville in 2002, architectural images as well. Erin has shown her work in several galleries in California and several galleries here in Asheville, most notably Woolworth Walk.

In mid-2003, after showing her photography at Woolworth Walk for about a year, Erin joined the gallery staff. Being a working artist and a gallery manager simultaneously for many years gave her a unique perspective and has influenced her present role as Curating Manager.

She stepped back from her personal artistic pursuits for a variety of reasons, but her passion towards the Asheville art scene remains. Erin says, “Working with local artists is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I am fascinated and privileged to watch so many talented artists following their creative paths and growing and evolving their work. Standing in the gap between artists and customers, encouraging both in their love of art at Woolworth Walk, is a lovely place to be!”




2016 Signature Piece Winner, Constance Williams

“Distillation Series- Green Blue.”

Distillation Series Green-Blue web image

Her winning entry was a 48″ x 48″ alcohol ink painting on aluminum board. This is a new medium for Constance and she’s getting rave reviews due to the fluidity of vibrant color on a minimalist board. It truly makes a statement! William’s process is a sequence of rhythmic arrangements while focusing on tonal composition. The resulting are striking, manifesting layers of surface allure and inward complexity.




Constance is a longtime supporter of WNCAP, donating in year past and always a patron of the Gala. You can see more of Constance’s new works as well are her well-known encaustic art at Surface Gallery in Biltmore Village.

Surface gallery black-web size