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Midwestern Voices and Visions | 2013-2014 Artists

Every 3 years, artists are selected for the Midwestern Voices and Visions award, receiving a grant, a one-month residency, a group exhibition, and inclusion in a publication.

All awardees are artists of color, living in the Midwest, who are under-served and under-recognized for their work. The artists are selected by a national jury of esteemed artists, curators, funders, and others who are committed to building greater equity in the arts and supporting under-served artists.







Midwestern Voices & Visions

Maria Calderon

Painter, installation artist, interdisciplinary artist
Kansas City, Missouri

residency at Ox-Bow (Saugatuck, Michigan)

"My work in the past has focused on communal folk narrative and social relations in my contemporary community.... My painting inspiration has stemmed from my contemporary surroundings and community as well as including references to textiles, personal objects, and parallel imagery from my Peruvian heritage. My work has resonated a feeling of immediacy and has been thematic on social experience, changing infrastructure, Spirituality, Ritual, and community oneness. As time has passed, my two dimensional work has translated into a three dimensional spatial experience. The past two years I have focused on creating tangible active experiences for the viewer through communal gatherings, Yogic wisdom and practice, interactive sculpture, costume, video, and photography. My primary focus has been on connecting more intimately with the viewer through environmental and sensory based performance as a cultural experience. My goal is to bring the base public back to an active art consciousness through direct relational activity."

Maria Calderon

C.C. Ann Chen

Chicago, Illinois

residency at Prairie Center of the Arts (Peoria, Illinois)

"I create works that explore the subtleties and qualities of landscape and nature, based on observation; and works that are more personal, playful use of landscape imagery, based on interpretation. My interest is exploring different aspects of landscape and elements of Nature; the process is determined by the idea. For example, when I have the opportunity to spend time in a natural setting, I observe and document the constantly changing light, weather, scents, etc., and allow the landscape to reveal itself. The experience is the most important aspect of this process. It is slow and fast moving at the same time."

Ann Chen

Cristina Correa

Creative writer
Chicago, Illinois

residency at Ragdale Foundation (Lake Forest, Illinois)

"My writing foundationally critiques and examines social and cultural issues affecting women and people of color. I think of my writing as a running commentary on my position in the world as I learn more about it. Through my travels in Europe and Africa, as well as my engagement with subjects like the Black Arts Movement and post-colonial studies, my writing has developed a broad voice that finds correlation between such normative, in some cases controversially, concepts as the nuclear family, patriarchy and xenophobia. My thoughts connect over pieces through symbols and theme including spiders, mountains, faith and transformation."

Cristina Correa

Sayaka Ganz

Fort Wayne, Indiana

residency at Art Farm (Marquette, Nebraska)

"Driven by a combination of my passion for fitting odd shapes together and sympathy toward discarded objects, I create animals from thrift store plastics. I spent my early childhood in Japan but grew up in several different countries. Japanese Shinto belief teaches that all objects and organisms have spirits, and I was told in kindergarten that items discarded before their times weep at night inside the trash bin. This became a vivid image in my mind. I only select items that have been used and discarded. My goal is for each object to transcend its origin by being integrated into an animal or organic form that is alive and in motion. This process of reclamation and regeneration is liberating to me as an artist. Building these sculptures helps me understand the situations that surround me. It reminds me that even if there is a conflict right now, there is also a solution in which all the pieces can coexist peacefully. Though there are wide gaps in some areas and small holes in others, when seen from the distance there is great beauty and harmony in our community. Through my sculptures I transmit a message of hope."

Sayaka Ganz

Eric J. Garcia

Painter, printmaker, sculptor
Chicago, Illinois

residency at John Michael Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan, Wisconsin)

"I would describe my work as historically based, humorously charged criticism, with the goal of creating dialogue about complicated issues. I am making art that is not only political but also with the emphasis on craft. The media I use has a connection with the idea I am presenting. This goal of using a specific media to enhance the idea of the artwork motivates and challenges me to experiment with elements I would not normally use. The comic book and the baroque are both influences that are apparent in my theatrical and stark lined style. My own pictographs help explain complex narratives while sarcasm and satire helps lighten the harsh-reality it depicts. One theme that I am currently working with is neocolonialism, and trying to understand my own place as the colonized and a colonizer. My family is from New Mexico; we don't have any family in Mexico, because my family was some of the first colonizers to the northern most parts of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. Centuries later the United States would conquer the northern territories of Mexico and my family was then colonized by the United States. Growing up in the United States I would eventually join the United States military and see first hand the extent of the United States global empire. These ideas of overlapping conquests, clashes of cultures, and altered histories, are what I am drawing from and depicting in very different ways."

Eric Garcia

LaMont Hamilton

Chicago, Illinois

residency at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, Nebraska)

"I'm currently working on a piece titled 75 Portraits in which I travelled around the U.S. doing portraits of prominent Black artists. 75 Portraits was born out of frustration with the disproportionate representation of artists of Color, specifically, in the Western world of art.... Recognizing it wasn't for the lack of accomplished artists in these communities, I set out on a creative quest to locate and photograph these artists, some with lifelong and revered bodies of work and others newly enchanted by the infinite limits of their creative potential; but all with a talent and passion for fearlessly tackling life through art. Photographed entirely on a large format camera, 75 Portraits is the culmination of my journey into art and the overwhelming need to capture the artist- the mind behind the respective craft and a glimpse of each respective legacy. This collection represents a mere snapshot of the cultural movers of our time. It is not meant to serve as a definitive list of artists but rather a catalyst to examine the conversation, the connection, the collaborative space between artist of color that is, in fact, missing from our 21st century dialogue. It is within this process of realization that we open the door to discovery and rediscovery. 75 Portraits highlights artists of color in the fields of visual arts, film, theater, street art and performance art; from the industry's more established names to the emerging newcomers who will soon illuminate the cultural radar. These portraits include artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Barkley L. Hendricks, Vik Muniz, Hank Willis Thomas, Sonia Sanchez, Charles Burnett, Mickalene Thomas and John Outterbridge. A truly unique experience, 75 Portraits intends to challenge notions of presumption, thus reverberating echoes of perspective, purpose, and the power of unhindered creativity."

LaMont Hamilton

Jiieh G. Hur

Sound, clay, and installation artist
Chicago, Illinois

residency at Art Farm (Marquette, Nebraska)

"I am currently working on a sound project that sings the space it occupies. It sings in response to what sound is created in its environment. In doing so, it also contributes to the overall soundscape of the space, developing immediate and constant feedback system. Strangely, the sound of its song is never consistent. The nature of its behavior is sensitive to direct movements in the air, changes in temperature and even humidity! Consequently, the character of its song varies in time, directly responding to what and who is around it. I'm interested in space between time. There are things in this space that are intangible, often invisible and inaudible unless we pay our acutest attention. But once sensed, they can make us feel calm and quiet, and oddly enough, curious. In this space, we can wonder around and search for secrets as we did when we were kids. There is no "right" path to our own secret. And they can be shared with no words. Working with science to utilize existing/hidden forces in nature, I make things to build a place where space can be heard, and experience be composed."

Jiieh Hur

Diane Ramos

Mixed media artist
Loraine, Ohio

residency at Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Arts (Red Wing, Minnesota)

"I am currently creating multi-media based work utilizing Midwestern domestic practices - crocheting, preserving, sewing, etc. - in non-traditional ways to speak about my grandmother's dementia. Through my work I am expressing the desperate need I feel to preserve the memory and relationship I once had with my grandmother, while also presenting the deterioration that is in play of her mind, my memories, and our relationship."

Diane Ramos