Kresge Eminent Artists
Each year, for more than a decade, The Kresge Foundation has named an Eminent Artist for excellence in the visual, performing or literary arts. Artists are selected for a lifetime of contributions to their art forms and to the cultural community of metropolitan Detroit.
The artists are honored in a number of ways, including the production of a video and a monograph on his or her life and career. All monographs remain available for download; hard copies are available by request (while supplies last) by emailing your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The videos, stories, and links to download the monographs that celebrate each of the Kresge Eminent Artists are below:
2019: Gloria House
Gloria House’s remarkable journey in art and activism includes a five-decades-deep legacy as a poet, human and civil rights activist, organizer and educator. She has published four poetry collections under her chosen African name, Aneb Kgositsile. She has also been an activist since the student and civil rights movement of the 1960s and a professor at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
2018: Wendell Harrison
Wendell Harrison’s lifelong devotion to jazz and its traditions has led him to a 60-year career and international acclaim as a tenor saxophonist and clarinetist, bandleader, composer, publisher, publicist, producer, entrepreneur, educator and organizer.
2017: Patricia Terry-Ross
Terry-Ross spent 31 years at the helm of Cass Technical High School’s Harp and Vocal Ensemble; her former students include notables in classical instrumental music, opera and jazz. As a performer, she has contributed to numerous Motown sessions, has performed frequently with the Detroit Symphony, and has been the Michigan Opera Theatre’s principal harpist since 1976.
2016: Leni Sinclair
A recognized leader of the 1960s-70s countercultural movement in Detroit, which she amply documented through vivid and dramatic photography, Sinclair may be best known for capturing the raucous rock n’ roll scene of that era, including photographs of such rock legends as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and jazz icons such as Miles Davis and Sun Ra.
2015: Ruth Adler Schnee
Schnee’s eye and imagination have brought colorful, abstract textiles and designs into personal, commercial and civic spaces. From living rooms, fitting rooms and hospital rooms to museums, showrooms and skyscrapers, her textiles appear in the most intimate and the most iconic settings. Schnee’s textiles are in the collections of The Henry Ford, the Art Institute of Chicago and Cranbrook Art Museum, among other institutions. (Hard copies of monograph are no longer available.)
2014: Bill Rauhauser
The dean of Detroit street photographers, Rauhauser has devoted more than 60 years to “being there” – being present and engaged on the city’s streets, inside the studio and inside the classroom. Rauhauser’s photos have appeared in numerous exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and the Detroit Institute of Arts. (Hard copies no longer available.)
2013: David DiChiera
Founder and longtime music director of the Michigan Opera Theatre, DiChiera led the renovation of an abandoned, 1920s theater into the Detroit Opera House, and worked tirelessly to broaden the opera theater’s audience and to promote understanding across racial, social, economic and geographic divides. He is also a composer, who's opera "Cyrano" debuted at the opera house in 2007.
2012: Naomi Long Madgett
An award-winning poet, editor and educator, Madgett nurtured aspiring poets through her teaching, annual poetry award and publishing company. Her poems have appeared in scores of anthologies and have been recognized with major awards including an American Book Award. She was named Poet Laureate of Detroit in 2001. Lotus Press, which she founded, has published many collections by emerging and established poets.
2011: Bill Harris
A renowned literary artist and educator whose poetry, prose, and playwriting have won him acclaim from Detroit to New York City, Harris also has cultivated creative writing talent and literary expression among young people in Metropolitan Detroit as a professor of English at Wayne State University as a community educator.
2009: Marcus Belgrave
A master trumpet player who played alongside some of jazz music's most famous figures, including Louis Armstrong. Belgrave enthralled audiences world-wide with his musical virtuosity and mentored scores of aspiring young musicians through his decades-long career. (Hard copies no longer available.)
2008: Charles McGee
McGee's distinguished career includes hundreds of exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad as well as contributions to Detroit’s cultural community as mentor, teacher and arts advocate. His paintings, assemblages and sculptures are in collections worldwide, and permanently installed at institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts and Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. (Hard copies no longer available.)