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Announcing 2019 Recipients of Painters & Sculptors Grants

The Joan Mitchell Foundation is pleased to announce the 2019 recipients of our annual Painters & Sculptors Grants, which provide 25 artists with $25,000 each in unrestricted funds. The recipients are: 

Anila Quayyum Agha, Indianapolis, IN
Morehshin Allahyari, Brooklyn, NY
Candida Alvarez, Chicago, IL
Frida Baranek, Coral Gables, FL
Debra Baxter, Santa Fe, NM
Keren Benbenisty, New York, NY
Paul Stephen Benjamin, Atlanta, GA
Juan William Chávez, Saint Louis, MO
Jamal Cyrus, Houston, TX
Patricia Fernández Carcedo, Los Angeles, CA
Lauren Halsey, Los Angeles, CA
Andrea Heimer, Ferndale, WA
Suzanne Jackson, Savannah, GA
Baseera Khan, Brooklyn, NY
Arghavan Khosravi, Natick, MA
Candice Lin, Altadena, CA
Daniel Lind-Ramos, Loíza, Puerto Rico
Cannupa Hanska Luger, Glorieta, NM
Gabriel Martinez, Houston, TX
Wardell Milan, New York, NY
Young Min Moon, Amherst, MA
Kate Newby, Brooklyn, NY
Shikeith, Pittsburgh, PA
Salman Toor, New York, NY
Lien Truong, Chapel Hill, NC

In addition to the financial support, grant recipients become eligible to apply for residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans and gain access to a network of arts professionals, who can provide consultations on career development and financial management. The Painters & Sculptors Grants program was first launched 26 years ago, with the vision to both nurture artistic endeavor and provide critical support for the real-life needs of working artists. Since then more than 500 artists—at varying stages of their careers and from 46 states as well as Puerto Rico—have received Painters & Sculptors Grants. The Foundation's commitment to providing this type of unrestricted support reflects our belief in empowering artists to make decisions that will advance their careers and fulfills artist Joan Mitchell’s wish to provide artists with the time and means to both explore and create new work. 

“The Painters & Sculptors Grants are a cornerstone of our work at the Foundation. The program fills what we see as an ongoing gap in arts philanthropy—the scarcity of direct support to artists for them to continue their practices, to try new things, and to take risks. While the art market is strong, and public sentiment about 'art' remains enthusiastic, the opportunities for financial support for artists themselves continue to be limited,” said Christa Blatchford, CEO of the Joan Mitchell Foundation. “We know, from talking to and working with artists for more than two decades, that providing unrestricted funding is necessary and essential. With artist Joan Mitchell’s foresight to establish this Foundation in her will, we are able to serve the needs and amplify the visions of artists. We are delighted to welcome the 2019 grant recipients to our community and look forward to seeing how their work continues to flourish and enrich the lives and experiences of others.”  

To be eligible for a grant, artists are nominated by artist peers and arts professionals selected from throughout the US. Nominated artists are invited to submit applications, and the grant recipients are chosen through a multi-phase jurying process. The final selections for the grants are made with a particular eye toward artists whose work has contributed to important artistic and cultural discourse and who deserve greater recognition on a national level. 

The Foundation also continues to be attuned to equity and access in the selection process. We regularly consider and expand the pool of nominators and jurors to include more geographic, ethnic, and experiential diversity, ensuring that the nominees reflect a spectrum of backgrounds and approaches to their work. The 2019 class of Painters & Sculptors range widely in ethnicity, gender orientation, geography, and age. Within the group, 60% of the artists identify as female or gender non-conforming and approximately 80% as non-white, with 28% identifying as Black, African, Caribbean, and African-American; 24% as Asian, East Asian, and South Asian; and 12% as Hispanic, Latinx, and Chicanx. The artists also range in age from 30 to 75, and hail from 15 states and territories across the US.

The grantees are working across a wide range of formal techniques, approaches, and concerns, and engaging with complex and relevant issues, including power and vulnerability, protest and patriotism, immigration, the multiplicity of identity, environmentalism, the urban landscape, and forgotten and recovered histories, among many others. In the selection process, jurors noted a strong engagement with social and political dialogues and happenings across the candidate pool. They likewise noted the incredibly rich and diverse range of techniques and aesthetics being employed by contemporary painters and sculptors.

As part of our vision of community-building, the Foundation maintains long-standing relationships with its grantees. This allows the Foundation to stay connected to the interests and needs of working artists and to facilitate ongoing dialogue with and among the artists themselves. 

Of her experience with the program, Chicago-based artist Krista Franklin said, "Alongside the tangible, material strides, being awarded a Painters & Sculptors Grant in 2018 truly elevated my esteem and morale, and guided me toward a sense of worthiness that had eroded away after years of working as an interdisciplinary artist, teaching artist, and mentor with waxing and waning economic support. The unpredictability and instability of my financial circumstances over a sustained period of time deeply affected my morale, even though my productivity remained fairly consistent. The relief from being a recipient of the grant was palpable. This significant recognition of my practice and work opened new opportunities materially and professionally, but also new vistas of possibilities within myself.”

Learn more about the artists

Download the press release (PDF)