The Bennett Prize

3.0 Bennett Prize Finalist

Sara Lee Hughes

Sara Lee Hughes artworks are informed by her life growing up in the South in the 1970s and 80s and function as “metaphors for discovery, other-ness, identity, connection, balance, and truth.”  Capturing moments from personal memory, her paintings explore the social-cultural norms of the past to today, through the artist’s experiences as the child of a divorced gay father and straight mother. Hughes’s background as a scene painter and set designer for theater, film and television further inform the dramatic and often playful stories at work in her images. Within her brightly colored canvases, familial groups interact in magical and surreal narratives that address issues of childhood and how we see and interact with the world and others.

Hughes graduated with a degree in theatrical design from Texas State University and began her career on the East Coast as a scenic painter for theater, film, and television. She studied classical drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, earning a certificate in painting and printmaking. She then went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts in painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She has participated in exhibitions around Texas and in Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. Her work was featured in the 2003 volume of New American Paintings. Hughes now teaches elementary art and art history at the Lockhart Montessori School in Lockhart, TX.

Hughes resides in Lockhart, TX.



oil on canvas, 2022, 50" x 92" x 1.75"
Don't Rock the Boat, oil on canvas, 2022, 50" x 92" x 1.75"
oil on canvas, 2022, 54” x 82”
What Will The Neighbors Think?!, oil on canvas, 2022, 54” x 82”
oil on canvas, 2021 60” x 68”
My Two Selves on the Backyard Swing, oil on canvas, 2021 60” x 68”