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Home / Blog / Artists & Art / 75 New Artist Fellows and Finalists Awarded

75 New Artist Fellows and Finalists Awarded

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

Kate Gakenheimer (Crafts Fellow ’21), Deco Circle (2018), stained glass, 23x23x2 in

Mass Cultural Council today celebrates 75 Massachusetts artists chosen to receive a 2021 Artist Fellowship award for exceptional work in the disciplines of Crafts, Dramatic Writing, Film & Video, Music Composition, Photography, and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres.

The awards were approved by unanimous vote of the Agency’s governing Council during a meeting on Tuesday, May 18. Forty artists were selected for a Fellowship, which includes a monetary award of $15,000, while 35 Finalists received $1,500 each. In total, Mass Cultural Council granted $652,500 to the FY21 class of Artist Fellows and Finalists.

“Mass Cultural Council’s Artist Fellowships recognize outstanding work by Massachusetts artists across a range of disciplines,” said Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “These highly competitive awards provide our Fellows and Finalists with critical validation of their vision and catalyze new artistic advancements. I am thrilled the Agency is supporting these 75 talented and innovative artists this year.”

Artist Fellowship awards are anonymously judged by a wide-ranging group of panelists and first-round readers. Applications are judged solely on the artistic quality and creative ability of the work submitted.

A total of 1,251 applications from artists throughout Massachusetts were received for the FY21 grant round, including 159 in Crafts, 158 in Dramatic Writing, 168 in Film & Video, 165 in Music Composition, 309 in Photography, and 292 in Sculpture/Installation/New Genres. The program is highly competitive, as only 6% of applicants were chosen as Fellows or Finalists this year.

The 2021 panelists and readers were:

  • Crafts
    • PANELISTS: Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez, Michelle Millar Fisher, Kat Nakaji, Berta Welch, and Adero Willard
  • Dramatic Writing
    • PANELISTS: P. Carl, Melisa Tien, Isaiah M. Wooden, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh
    • READERS: Jaime Carrillo, Andrea Hairston, Greg Lam, Davron Monroe, Anne G. Morgan, and Elena Morris
  • Film & Video
    • PANELISTS:Ashish Chadha, Chico Colvard, Susan Kerns, and Barbara Vásconez
    • READERS: Zeina Abi Assy, Aya Yamasaki Brown, Peat Duggins, Lynn Kim, Erik Levine, and Julie Mallozzi
  • Music Composition
    • PANELISTS: Laury Gutiérrez, Jessica Rudman, David Sanford, and Miki Sawada
    • READERS: John Aylward, Felicia Chen, David Freeman Coleman, Ayn Inserto, Tina Tallon, and Kirsten Volness
  • Photography
    • PANELISTS: Crista Dix, Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Tsugumi Maki, and Theo Tyson
  • Sculpture/Installation/New Genres
    • PANELISTS: Max Bard, Furen Dai, Erin Genia, and Nilou Moochhala

Typically, applications are accepted for Artist Fellowships disciplines every other year. In FY22, Mass Cultural Council expects to seek applications in the discipline categories of Drawing & Printmaking, Poetry, Traditional Arts, Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Painting.

Artist Fellowships are part of Mass Cultural Council’s sustained effort to support individual artists with grants and services. Earlier this year, the Agency awarded almost $1.2 million in emergency grants as part of the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals.

A full list of the 2021 Artist Fellowships awardees is available online. The talents of Mass Cultural Council’s Artist Fellows and Finalists from 2004-2020 can be enjoyed by visiting the Agency’s online Gallery. Works by 2021 Fellows and Finalists will be added to the Gallery in the coming weeks.


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