Tuesday, February 21, 2012

15 area artists to receive Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists grants

Recipients to be honored at the annual awards ceremony Feb. 23

Durham Arts Council announced the 15 local area artists selected to receive Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grants in 2012. The artists will be honored at the annual Emerging Artists Awards Ceremony and reception on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. in the Durham Arts Council PSI Theatre and Semans Gallery. Tickets for the evening are available.
The awards event will feature music and remarks by jazz vocalist and songwriter Lois Deloatch (Emerging Artist 1995) and dancer and choreographer Gaspard Louis (Emerging Artist 2010). The awards ceremony will be dedicated to the late Mary D.B.T. Semans, who inspired and supported the creation of the Emerging Artists Program, with her husband Dr. James H. Semans. For more information, contact Margaret DeMott at (919) 560-2720. For tickets, visit www.durhamarts.org.
The Emerging Artists Grant Program, administered by Durham Arts Council, is designed to enable individual artists who have mastered the basic techniques of their art form to complete projects that will establish or enhance their professional careers. The Emerging Artists Program is cited repeatedly by local artists as providing important financial support and significant public recognition of their professional achievements. A 2009 survey of individual artists conducted by Seattle-based Artist Trust revealed that small grants are one of the most useful resources for artists in the current economy.
Criteria for making the awards include the accomplishment and commitment of the artist, the feasibility of the proposed project and the impact the project will have on the applicant’s career.This year, a total of $23,000 was awarded. Ninety-seven applications were submitted to the program this year.
The Durham Arts Council coordinates this program in partnership with the arts agencies of adjacent Chatham, Orange, Granville and Person counties.This joint effort provides an efficient, non-duplicative administration that allows artists in all five counties to participate in the Emerging Artists Program. Significant contributions, in addition to annual grant support, are necessary to maintain the program.
The award was renamed the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant in 2009 to honor Ella Fountain Pratt, who founded the program in 1984 as a joint endeavor of the Durham Arts Council, the North Carolina Arts Council and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. Ella Fountain's contribution to the arts—locally and nationally—are honored in the Ella Fountain Pratt Legacy Gallery in the Durham Arts Council building, which also includes an area to highlight the work of artists who have received the Emerging Artists Grant.
Counting the current recipients, 435 grants have been made to area artists during the program’s 28-year history. Past recipients include six-time Grammy-nominated, jazz vocalist, Nnenna Freelon; painter and Guggenheim Fellow, Beverly McIver; and violinist and Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Nicholas Kitchen. Novelist Marjorie Hudson won a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship this year. Poet Jaki Shelton Green, has published six books of poetry and a play, received the 2007 Sam Ragan Award and served as the first Piedmont Laureate in 2009. Film maker Ryan Koo won a Webby Award for Best Drama Series and is preparing to make his first feature film set in North Carolina.

Orange County residents who received a grant were the grant were:
• Sasha Bakaric, craft, www.sashaceramics.com
• Nuno Gomes, mixed media, www.nunogomes.org
• Gracelee Lawrence, sculpture, www.graceleelawrence.com
• Chance Murray, mixed media
• Will Ridenour, music, www.myspace.com/zymana
• Anita Woodley, drama, www.mamajuggs.com

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