About CPSA

The Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA) was founded in 1990 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to artists over 18 years of age working with colored pencil. With about 1600 members worldwide and over 25 district chapters in the US, CPSA provides opportunities for colored pencil artists to network. The Society is run by a governing board consisting of thirteen artists and professionals who volunteer their service to ensure benefits to the membership and the future success of the organization.

The Society provides two opportunities for colored pencil artists to exhibit their work. Both exhibitions offer cash awards and are juried to promote the highest aesthetic standards of fine art to the public.

International Exhibitions
This annual gallery exhibition is exclusively for works done in 100% colored pencil. Each year CPSA chooses a different city so that more people can enjoy the beautiful artworks. It offers about $15,000 in awards including the Best of Show award and CIPPY Award.

Explore This! Exhibitions
CPSA sponsors an exciting and innovative exhibition called “Explore This!” on its website every year. Artwork must be predominently colored pencil and must include some element or technique that is unacceptable for the International Exhibition. This permits artists to experiment with various mediums and surfaces as well as three-dimensional, collage and relief artworks. The exhibition offers over $3000 in awards including the Best of Show award and EXPY Award.

Signature Status & Merit Awards
CPSA grants signature status to active members whose work appears in the International Exhibition three times within a 10-year period. This honor entitles the member to use the letters CPSA after his or her name. Members can earn CPX status with three appearances in the Explore This! Exhibition within a 10-year period. Beyond that, signature members earn merit recognition with each five acceptances (no time limitation).

• 3 times within 10 years - signature pin
• 5 times - certificate and guard for pin
• 10 times - bronze certificate and guard
• 15 times - silver certificate and guard
• 20 times - gold certificate and guard
• 25 times - platinum certificate and guard

Artists must maintain continuous membership to qualify for these honors. Any lapse results in loss of prior acceptances and forfeiture of signature status.

Convention Week
During our annual International Exhibition, CPSA sponsors an action-packed convention with educational opportunities, networking and fun-filled events.

Workshops—Each year two nationally known colored pencil artists present hands-on orkshops. CPSA provides the most professional classes available. Pricing differs for members and non-members.

Membership Meeting—An informal meeting allows members and guests to network, exchange information, meet the national board, win prizes and view all images submitted for the current exhibition.

Silent Auction—Started in 1999, the silent auction offers an opportunity for attendees to bid on and purchase original colored pencil artwork donated by signature and award winning artists.

Convention Week (continued)
Awards Banquet—A highlight of the convention is the awards banquet. On this night, CPSA honors those who have won awards and who have attained signature status and merit recognition.

Artists’ Reception—The final event is a reception at the gallery to celebrate the exhibited art and award winners. This event is open to the public.

Special Events—Depending on the situation, CPSA may schedule other special events such as field trips to areas of interest, seminars about art-related subjects by prominent guest speakers, trade shows with product manufacturers, or short sessions about marketing and other art-related topics.

CPSA Website & Blog
Visit the CPSA website at www.cpsa.org to learn about the Society and keep informed by subscribing to its blog. The site includes information about events, lists of colored pencil publications, answers to frequently asked questions, and images of award winners from past exhibitions. You can also find registration forms and make payment online for membership, exhibitions and the annual convention.

From the district chapter page, you can access their websites and contact district chapter presidents. The CPSA website also provides  links to the websites of our Patrons & Sponsors for information about their products as well as links to the websites of our members.

Product Research and Lightfastness
CPSA is one the few art organizations to participate proactively in the development of a standard for their medium. With the increased use of colored pencil for creating fine art, CPSA believed it was crucial to have a standard of lightfastness for this medium. Consequently, the organizatioon has conducted ongoing test for colored pencil lightfastness since 1991.

When an ASTM subcommittee was formed to develop a standard for colored pencils in 1993, the product research director attended the meetings as the CPSA representative. This research culminated in the writing of ASTM D6901 Standard Specification for Artists’ Colored Pencils in 2003. Bruynzeel/Royal Talens, Derwent, and Prismacolor were also involved in the development of this standard, as were consumers, collectors, the National Gallery of Art, the Canadian Art Institute, museum conservators, art product manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers.

Once manufacturers officially comply with the standard, their colored pencils will be marked with lightfastness symbols I and II. Advantages of having the colored pencil lightfastness standard include:

  • Artists can choose lightfast colored pencils and work with confidence, knowing their art will not fade and will retain its value.
  • Collectors aware of archival and lightfastness issues will view this as reassurance in their purchase of artworks created with the medium.
  • Museum conservators will be assured that art created by contemporary masters using lightfast colored pencils can be safely preserved.
  • Art produced with lightfast colored pencils can command prices comparable to other media.
  • Retailers can sell quality, higher priced lightfast colored pencils to knowledgeable customers.
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