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Alliance of Artists Communities Announces Recipients of Prestigious Midwestern Voices and Visions Awards

The Alliance of Artists Communities is pleased to announce the 2012 Midwestern Voices and Visions awards, presented to eight outstanding Midwestern artists of color.  The artists were selected from an impressive pool of applicants from Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  Midwestern Voices and Visions celebrates, supports, and promotes the work of exceptional artists of color working in any visual, literary or performance discipline – artists whose work may still be unfamiliar but whose compelling visions will define the region and the country in its next decades.
               
The Midwestern Voices and Visions award provides each artist with a one- to three-month residency at one of seven participating Midwestern artist-in-residence programs during 2013 and a $4,000 unrestricted grant. The artists and their work will also be featured in a widely distributed publication which will document their residency experiences at the host programs, and will be invited to participate in a group exhibition in the Midwest in fall 2014.
               
Midwestern Voices and Visions is funded by The Joyce Foundation and is coordinated by the Alliance of Artists Communities, in collaboration with seven Midwestern artists’ residency programs. ‘To many artists, this award offers for the first time an opportunity to explore what it means to be a full-time artist, along with dedicated time and space to create new work, inspiring surroundings, interaction and collaboration with peers, and the financial support to allow the artists to take full advantage of a residency,” says Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities. “This initiative has significantly impacted both the artists who receive the award and the residency programs.”
               
“Artists’ ideas are their currency.  Residency programs afford artists the time, space and community in which to bring their ideas to life.  At the Joyce Foundation, we focus on leveling the playing field, and in the arts we ensure artists of color have equity in these invaluable spaces.  We do this because we know it helps the organization as much as the artist.” Angelique Power, Senior Program Officer, The Joyce Foundation.
               
The 2012 award recipients with their host residency programs are:

  • Maria Calderon, a painter, installation artist, and interdisciplinary artist from Kansas City, Missouri – Ox-Bow in Saugatuck, Michigan
  • C. C. Ann Chen, is a painter from Chicago, Illinois  – Prairie Center of the Arts in Peoria, Illinois
  • Cristina Correa, a creative writer from Chicago, Illinois – Ragdale Foundationin Lake Forest, Illinois
  • Sayaka Ganz, a sculptor from Fort Wayne, Indiana  – Art Farm in Marquette, Nebraska
  • Eric J. Garcia a painter, printmaker, and sculptor from Chicago, Illinois – John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • LaMont Hamilton, a photographer from Chicago, Illinois – Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Jiieh G. Hur a sound, clay, and installation artist from Chicago, Illinois  – Art Farm in Marquette, Nebraska
  • Diane Ramos, a mixed media artist from Lorain, Ohio – Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, Minnesota

               
The competition was judged by a prestigious panel of arts leaders in the Midwest: Mitchell Squire, Iowa based installation artist, sculptor and performance artist, and previous Midwestern Voices and Visions awardee; Paul Tyler, Grants Director at The Art Council of Metropolitan Kansas City; Ra Joy, Executive Director at Arts Alliance Illinois; and Shannon Linker, Director of Artist Services at The Arts Council of Indianapolis.
               
The seven residency programs
were selected for their commitments to supporting today’s artists, their dedication to addressing gaps in that support, and their interest in working collectively on shared goals. The Alliance of Artists Communities – the nation’s service organization for artists’ communities and residency programs – administers and directs Midwestern Voices and Visions.
               
“The opportunity to step away from my day job and my responsibilities as a parent allowed me to be a full-time writer for the very first time in my life. And I seriously believe there was no other way to do what I did here. Midwestern Voices and Visions gave me exactly what I needed to travel back to Guinea and remember the paths, stories, and feelings I had when I was there last year…before it was too late.” - Ibrahima Kaba, performance poet

Read more about Midwestern Voices and Visions at www.midwestvoicesandvisions.org