A Michigan native, Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt received her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Temple University, Philadelphia, and has worked with schools on three continents. With a special passion for reaching children living in poverty or born with learning or physical differences. Schmidt’s areas of specialization include early childhood, special education, second language learners and at-risk student instruction. 

 Dr. Schmidt lives with her husband in Texas, where they are art collectorsThe Bennett Collection of Women Realists®, focuses on figurative realist paintings of women by women artists. This undertaking has afforded them the opportunity to meet many women artists as well as to create a collection of paintings showing women from all walks of life. As their collection grew, so did their awareness of inequities that confront women in the arts. In 2018, Dr. Schmidt and her husband founded The Bennett Prize, which awards $50,000 to a woman artist to create her own solo exhibition of figurative realist paintings, which then travels the country. 

 Dr. Schmidt has curated a number of art exhibitions including “Visions of Venice” at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago and The Flinders Lane Gallery in Australia. Currently, she and Bennett are curating “Iconic” and “Painting the Figure Now IV” at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in Wausau, Wisconsin in 2021. 

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