The Watercolor Society of North Carolina, Inc. (WSNC)
is a non-profit art organization; its purpose is to
promote watercolor throughout the state and
to elevate the standards of excellence in this medium.
Kaneko Okada "CONNIE" McNeill
Memorial Award
Connie was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan. She worked for the Japanese government in her native Hiroshima in 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped by the United States. After the bombing of Hiroshima, she went back to school to learn English.

She met Andrew C. McNeill while working as an interpreter for the American government in Japan and they married on April 6, 1961, in Tokohama, Japan. She moved with him later that year to the U.S. They came to Salisbury, NC in 1963 and she began painting with local artists in 1970.

In Japan, she learned Sumi Calligraphy and Sumi-e (oriental Sumi painting). Connie became an important part of the Salisbury art scene. She exhibited her art in Salisbury and surrounding towns and taught watercolor and Sumi-Brush painting at RCCC, Waterworks and throughout North Carolina. She received numerous awards and recognitions for her work.

She was a charter member of the Watercolor Society of N.C. and was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in 1998. In 1997 she was awarded the Waterworks' Lifetime Achievement Award. Years ago, she designed the Christmas Honor Card for Rowan Helping Ministries titled Christmas Sunrise. In 2001, she painted "The Crane Wife" Angel for Robertson Gateway Park. Connie participated in the Downtown Christmas Angel project, by painting one of the angels which are displayed in various business windows during the Christmas season. Her beautiful paintings can be found in private and corporate collections.

Connie was a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church and was also active in the Salisbury Women's Club and the International Woman's Club.

Connie was preceded in the death of her husband, Andrew McNeill, on Nov. 4, 1987.


Connie McNeill
1997 - Lifetime

Award Winners:

2016- Rocky Alexander

2015- Susan Schuhmacher

2014- Pat Holscher

2013- Nancy M. Taylor