By Ivan Schustak, Communications and Development Director, South Arts –
As part of the inaugural Southern Prize and State Fellowships, South Arts has selected nine visual artists from the region to each receive a State Fellowship award of $5,000. The nine artists – Pete Schulte of Alabama, Noelle Mason of Florida, Masud Olufani of Georgia, Becky Alley of Kentucky, Joey Slaughter of Louisiana, Coulter Fussell of Mississippi, Stephanie J. Woods of North Carolina, Herb Parker of South Carolina, and Georgann DeMille of Tennessee – are now in consideration for the Southern Prize awards: the $25,000 Southern Prize and a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, or the $10,000 Finalist Prize. The State Fellowship awards will be recognized and the winners of the Southern Prize will be announced at a ceremony on April 24 in Atlanta.
The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge, support and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South. From January through March 2017, over 850 visual artists submitted work for consideration, and a panel of jurors reviewed each application with the sole criterion of artistic excellence to determine the nine State Fellows. A second panel of jurors is currently reviewing the State Fellows to determine the two Southern Prize awardees.
“There is a deep well of artistic talent throughout our region,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “From traditional basket weaving through experimental 3D printing, the creative minds around us are producing brilliant work. The Southern Prize and State Fellowships are our way of celebrating the richness and diversity here in our backyards and shining a light on them for the region and the nation to see.”
The State Fellowship juror panel included Erin Gilbert, independent curator from Chicago; Mark Scala, Curator with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville; Lauren Haynes, Curator of Contemporary Art with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AK; Jan Davidson, retired director of the John C. Campbell School of Folk Arts in Brasstown, NC; and Gia Hamilton, director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. The Southern Prize panel of jurors includes Miranda Lash, curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville; Dominique Nahas, independent curator and critic in Brooklyn; and Monica Moses, editor in chief of American Craft in Minneapolis.
Visual artists living in South Arts’ nine-state region and producing crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, and mixed media work were eligible to apply. The awards will be presented to the artists as unrestricted funds.
“The Southern Prize and State Fellowships will impact the careers of artists in our region,” continued Surkamer. “These fellowships and awards are part of the support system allowing artists in the South to make a living in our region.”
The Southern Prize and State Fellowships are supported by Alabama State Council on the Arts, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Joanne Calhoun, Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc., Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Cyberwoven, Evans General Contractors, Arnold and Fran Gellman, Georgia Council for the Arts, Kentucky Arts Council, J. Martin Lett, Louisiana Division of the Arts, CJ Lyons’ Buy a Book, Make a Difference, MailChimp, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Mississippi Arts Commission, North Carolina Arts Council, Scott and Terry Peterson, South Carolina Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, Pat and Susie VanHuss, and powered by The Hambidge Center.
About South Arts
South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region, and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.