Art, Camaraderie & Excitement Thrive at Society of Decorative Painters International Conference & Expo

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The event drew over 670 artists and consumers from around the world.

Students taking a painting class at the SDP International Conference & Expo.

“I can’t begin to describe the camaraderie and friendships that happen here,” said Marian Jackson, Master Decorative Artist.

“An Artful Journey”, the Society of Decorative Painters (SDP) 44th Annual International Conference & Expo, drew over 670 artists and consumers from around the world, including Australia, China, Colombia, Japan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The event, one of the largest and longest running annual decorative painting conferences and expos, was held June 6-11, 2016 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego, California.

“It was my first Conference and it was awesome,” said Georgia Mazanet, member of the SDP Florida Suncoast Decorative Artists Chapter. “I bought a lot of neat things and met a lot of wonderful people. I can’t wait for the next one!”

The yearly event brings the decorative painting industry together, including SDP members and Chapters, designers, educators, fine artists, and painters of all skill levels, to learn about new products and techniques, and to socialize in a fun, creative environment.

“I can’t begin to describe the camaraderie and friendships that happen here,” said Marian Jackson, Master Decorative Artist (MDA). Jackson has been a member since 1977 and also serves as one of the judges of the Society’s renowned Certification Program.

“What an amazing year for Certification,” said Sue Pruett, Certification Committee Chair. This year, the program received 100 applications and awarded 24 new Certifications. 11 members achieved the inaugural accreditation of Accredited Decorative Painter (ADP), and two members achieved the highest level of Certification, Master Decorative Artist (MDA).

The Conference program involved 69 classes, of which nine were sold out. Classes offer projects, skill building and techniques in a variety of mediums, including acrylic, colored pencil, fabric paint, mixed media, oil, and watercolor. Conference Artist Debbie Cole CDA taught two special events, mixed media classes where attendees learned innovative painting techniques and received $60 worth of products to take home.

The Expo featured 31 companies with products ranging from paints, brushes and stamps to online courses. Exhibitors launched new products, educated consumers through demonstrations, held giveaways and offered show-special discounts on purchases.

In addition to shopping, attendees admired the art submitted in the 2016 Art Show and helped award 19 ribbons. Master Decorative Artist Cheri Rol’s “Copper” oil painting won Best in Show; Rol also won the People’s Choice Award in the professional category for her oil painting titled “Onions”. MaryEtta Roeser was awarded the People’s Choice Award in the non-professional category for her oil painting titled “Southern Magnolias”.

More than 150 individuals attended the SDP Annual Banquet, a highlight of the week’s activities. The Banquet featured table decorations by SDP Chapters, and entertainment by accomplished artist Stephen Fishwick, who wowed the audience with his live art performance and gave a moving presentation on using art to educate and inspire. Fishwick’s artwork was auctioned and raised $425 for the SDP Foundation’s Scholarship Fund.

“We’re thrilled with the positive feedback,” said Kathy Swigon, President of the SDP Board of Directors. “Our Board and staff are already focused on making next year’s event successful for everyone.”

“Oceans of Color”, the 45th Annual Society of Decorative Painters International Conference & Expo, will take place in Daytona Beach, Florida at the Ocean Center, Daytona Beach from May 17-20, 2017. Applications to teach a class at the annual event are being accepted through Monday, July 25, 2016. Visit to apply.

For more information about the Society of Decorative Painters, its membership, and how to participate in its annual conference and expo as an attendee, exhibitor or teacher, visit

The Society of Decorative Painters (SDP) is a membership organization with thousands of members throughout the United States, Canada, Japan and 42 other countries. It has over 200 affiliated Chapters that actively promote the art form through community service projects and painting-related activities. SDP publishes the industry’s leading decorative painting magazine, The Decorative Painter, and hosts one of the largest annual decorative painting conferences and expos that draws worldwide artists. For more information, visit

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Kristen Farrell
Society of Decorative Painters
+1 201-835-1209
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