Announcing 2020 Recipients of Painters & Sculptors Grants

Oct 21, 2020 / Joan Mitchell Foundation

Scenes from a play about death, triumph and the common good of man, 2019, Acrylic on paper, 30” x 22”, each

We are pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the annual Painters & Sculptors Grants, which provide 25 artists with $25,000 each in unrestricted funds. In this moment of profound change and contraction within the arts landscape, we at the Foundation felt it was particularly important to continue with this annual grants cycle, providing artists with flexible financial support as well as the recognition essential to career progress.

The 2020 Painters & Sculptors Grants recipients are:
Zarouhie Abdalian, New Orleans, LA
Natalie Ball, Chiloquin, OR
Rina Banerjee, New York, NY
Bahar Behbahani, Brooklyn, NY
Sarah Cain, Los Angeles, CA
Luke Luokun Cheng, Falls Church, VA
Jesse Chun, Brooklyn, NY
Gabriel Dawe, Dallas, TX
Joey Fauerso, San Antonio, TX
Colette Fu, Philadelphia, PA
Reggie Burrows Hodges, Maine
Linda Infante Lyons, Anchorage, AK
Kahlil Robert Irving, Saint Louis, MO
Tomashi Jackson, Cambridge, MA
Caroline Kent, Chicago, IL
Fred H.C. Liang, Boston, MA
Melissa Melero-Moose, Reno, NV
Julio César Morales, Chandler, AZ
Demetrius Oliver, New York, NY
Diego Rodriguez-Warner, Aurora, CO
Arvie Smith, Portland, OR
Edra Soto, Chicago, IL
Cory Kamehanaokalā Holt Taum, Kahaluʻu, HI
Jordan Weber, Des Moines, IA
Didier William, Elkins Park, PA

The selected artists were first nominated by artist peers and arts professionals from throughout the United States and then chosen through a multi-phase jurying process, which this year was conducted virtually. In addition to the $25,000 financial award, grantees also gain access to a network of arts professionals, who can provide consultations on career development and financial management, and become eligible to apply for residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.

“The Foundation first launched the Painters & Sculptors Grants 27 years ago with the vision to support and nurture the lives and careers of working artists, recognizing that creative endeavor is best supported through robust and unrestricted financial support. This year, the $625,000 in unrestricted funds awarded through the Painters & Sculptors Grants builds on the nearly $1,000,000 in relief funding that the Foundation will have given by year’s end to the coalition efforts Artist Relief and Creative Response NOLA, and direct aid to former grant recipients in need. All of these efforts are made possible by artist Joan Mitchell’s foresight to establish, in her will, a Foundation that serves the ongoing and changing needs of working artists,” said Christa Blatchford, Executive Director of the Joan Mitchell Foundation. “We are delighted to be able to recognize the artistic achievements of our new grantees and to continue to offer important lines of support, especially in a year that has brought particular challenges to the artistic community.”

The Foundation continues to deepen its historic commitment to increasing equity and access in its selection processes, expanding the pool of nominators and jurors to include more geographic, ethnic, and experiential diversity to ensure that grant nominees reflect a spectrum of backgrounds and approaches to their work. For 2020, the Foundation engaged more than 100 nominators from across 45 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. The final selections were made by an outside jury—a group of artists and arts professionals who rotate annually—with an eye toward artists whose work has contributed to important artistic and cultural discourse and are deserving of greater recognition on a national level.

The 2020 grantees encompass a wide breadth of demographic backgrounds, range in age from 28 to 82, and hail from across 17 states and territories across the U.S. Their work represents a range of formal techniques, approaches, and concerns, and engages with complex and universally relevant issues, including immigration, protest and patriotism, the multiplicity of identity, and under-represented histories, among many others.