Rhode Island Foundation awards MacColl Johnson Fellowships to Liz Collins and Ellen Driscoll

Today the Rhode Island Foundation announced that it has awarded MacColl Johnson Fellowships to three visual artists Liz Collins (Asst. Professor, Textiles), Ellen Driscoll (Professor, Sculpture), and Lynne Harlow who each will receive $25,000 awards; among the largest grants in the nation for artists.
The fellowships are intended “to fund an artist’s vision or voice,” and have been awarded on a three-year cycle since 2005 to composers, writers, and visual artists. The Foundation has now completed two three-year cycles of the fellowships. In addition to the three fellows, three finalists were also recognized by the selection panel of artists, academics, curators, and arts administrators.
2010 MacColl Johnson Fellows:
Liz Collins  will travel to the Tilburg Museum and Textile Lab in the Netherlands to be an artist in residence. Formally trained in both art and textile design, Liz is inspired and driven by materials and process, most often through the use of the manually-operated knitting machine. During the past five years, Liz’s work has included a performance project utilizing a team of machine knitters who build site-specific, large-scale fabric installations, known as Knitting Nation. Building on previous themes, experiments and installations, Liz intends to use the fellowship to generate a body of new work to show more frequently in galleries and museums.

Ellen Driscoll  will use her award to create three new floating sculptures for the Providence River. Her work in sculpture, drawing, installation, and public art has been driven by a passionate interest in issues of social, racial, and environmental justice. Ellen’s recent studio practice is the continuation of a multi-year investigation in sculpture and drawing of the architecture and landscapes that result from extracting and consuming natural resources. Bringing the work outdoors, into water, and into a public setting as intended with this project represents the next frontier for her work.

Lynne Harlow whose work reflects a strong interest in merging sound and dance with visual art, will experiment with new materials, hire musicians and choreographers for further exploration of sound and movement in her work, and attend a residency program. Through her art Lynne explores how people navigate their surroundings and experience art.  Lynne recently participated in HousEART, a program of the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation (SHCDC) that invites artists to make art on vacant neighborhood houses owned by the SHCDC that will soon be renovated and offered for rent at affordable rates.
“The Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowships are among the largest offered in the United States and provide significant financial support that enables artists to further their work,” notes Daniel Kertzner, grant programs officer at the Foundation who administers the selection of MacColl Johnson Fellows.  He adds, “The Fellowships enable Rhode Island artists to focus more time and resources on the creative process and contribute to their professional development. They echo the value the MacColl Johnsons placed on the role of artists in the community.” 
Rhode Islanders Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson both were dedicated to the arts all their lives. Mrs. Johnson, who died in 1990, earned a degree in creative writing from Roger Williams College when she was 70. Mr. Johnson invented a new process for mixing metals in jewelry-making and then retired to become a fulltime painter. Before he died in 1999, Johnson began discussions with the Foundation to create what has become a $1.2 million artist fellowship program in music composition, literature, and visual arts. 

Guidelines and applications for the 2011 fellowships, which will be awarded to composers, will be available on the Foundation’s website after June 1. Application deadline is September 1.

Division of Fine Arts, Faculty meeting, Grants and fellowships, RI Foundation

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