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Founding of NOAPS

In 1990 national artists Rita Orr, Joseph Orr, Dennis T. Yates and Pete Peterson, along with arts advocates William R. Mitchell, Martha Mitchell and Dr. Donald Ruthenberg, began planning a national exhibit that would focus on oil and acrylic media. A non-profit status was acquired and they were soon joined by Betty Fitzgerald, James Baumgartner and Kenneth Gerardy. On March 12, 1991, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) was founded.

Initially the primary purpose of NOAPS was to present an annual, national juried art exhibition and competition called Best of America. The purpose was to offer an opportunity for artists to present and interact with the public and, by bringing awareness of North American talent, perpetuate oil and acrylic painting.


Debut of Best of America

On October 12, 1991, the first Best of America made its debut in Osage Beach, Missouri, at Columbia College Lake Campus, with 60 selected paintings. “I think this will become a monumental event,” said Dr. Don Ruthenberg, then President of Columbia College.
Sidney Larson, professor of art at Columbia College as well as fine arts curator, was the exhibition judge; she asserted that the exhibition defined a broad profile of American art.
Through 2004, Best of America exhibits were presented at Columbia College or the prestigious Ella Carothers Dunnegan Gallery of Art. Since 2016, BOA exhibitions are being held at prestigious galleries around the country.


Inclusion of International Art

The inclusion of International art was introduced in 2013. It began as an online exhibition and created international exposure.
In 2013 NOAPS began advertising the Best of America Exhibitions in national art magazines along with marketing in social media such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest. The NOAPS blog and MailChimp email blasts provide information and exposure to artists both nationally and internationally.
NOAPS is now entertaining entries from not only the North American continent of United States, Canada and Mexico, but from such countries as China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Israel, Iraq, Russia, Germany, Norway, Trinidad, Tobago and Cuba. Our international members enjoy a vast and targeted exposure of their work.


Signature Artist

Being an artist selected by a jury of exceptional, accomplished artists, into Best of America exhibits has always been an honor. Additional recognition awards are bestowed by NOAPS, art publications and suppliers. The NOAPS top award is the Signature Artist designation presented to the few exceptional artists who meet the organization’s criteria which acknowledges excellence over the course of several years.
Among Signature Artist winners there is an additional pinnacle to achieve – Master Artist designation.
NOAPS continues to support members by expanding exhibition and marketing opportunities giving every member more opportunities to market their art to collectors around the world.