by John Stoehr
A short time after winning the prestigious "genius" grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Johns Island basket-maker Mary Jackson has won another high-profile award, this time a fellowship from the advocacy group United States Artists, in the amount of $50,000. If there was any doubt that Jackson is the face of the arts for Charleston to the world, this ought to send the point home. Check out the list of her fellow fellows below. Here's the press release:
UNITED STATES ARTISTS ANNOUNCES THIRD ANNUAL USA FELLOWSHIPS
Artists in Design, Literary, Media, Performing, and Visual Arts
From Across the Country Each Receive $50,000 Award
Winners Honored in Celebration at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago on November 10;
2008 Marks Third Year of USA Fellowships and $7.5 Million Awarded to Artists Nationwide
CHICAGO, IL, November 10, 2008—United States Artists (USA), the national artists’ advocacy organization, today announced the recipients of fifty USA Fellowships for 2008 totaling $2.5 million. This marks the third consecutive year of the USA Fellows program, which provides direct support for artists by annually awarding fifty unrestricted grants of $50,000 to artists of all disciplines from across the country. The USA Fellows for 2008 hail from 21 states and range in age from 31 to 82; they were chosen by panels of experts in each field in recognition of the caliber and impact of their work. The artists will be honored tonight, November 10, in a celebration at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago.
The USA Fellowships for 2008 include five in Architecture and Design; four in Crafts and Traditional Arts; five in Dance; nine in Literature (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry); six in Media (film and video); six in Music; five in Theater Arts; and 10 in Visual Arts.
The complete list of winners is provided below. Through a rigorous evaluation process, panels of experts in the arts selected the 51 winning artists (including one collaborative pair) from among 362 nominated applicants from 44 states.
USA Fellowships are awarded to artists who demonstrate artistic excellence, unique artistic vision, and significant contributions to their fields. The program honors artists at all stages of their careers, from emerging to mid-career to established figures in their fields.
The USA Fellows for 2008 represent a diverse spectrum of cultural, ethnic, and geographic perspectives. Their influences range from Pre-Raphaelite painting to hip-hop music and their creative works include ancient traditions to the newest experimental forms.
This year’s honorees include free-jazz pioneer Muhal Richard Abrams (New York); conceptual artist Michael Asher (Los Angeles); musician and Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man (San Diego); playwright and hip-hop theater performer Will Power (New York); installation artist Kara Walker (New York); experimental architect Douglas Garofalo (Chicago); traditional sweetgrass basket weaver Mary Jackson (Johns Island, South Carolina); legendary tap dancer Dianne Walker (Boston); Faulkner Award-winning novelist and short story writer Barry Hannah (Oxford, Mississippi); and independent filmmaker William Greaves (New York), known as “the dean of African American film.”