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30 artists named 2023 Kresge Artist Fellows and Gilda Award winners, awarded $550,000


15th award cycle highlights metro Detroit’s literary and visual artists

Thirty metro Detroit artists will share an unrestricted $550,000 in the 2023 Kresge Artist Fellowships and Gilda Snowden Emerging Artist Awards. The no strings attached awards were announced Thursday by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office located at the College for Creative Studies, which administers the program on behalf of The Kresge Foundation.

Since 2008, Kresge Arts in Detroit has awarded nearly $8 million in unrestricted dollars directly to Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county artists through 15 Kresge Eminent Artist Awards ($50,000 each), 278 Kresge Artist Fellowships ($25,000 each), and 52 Gilda Awards ($5,000 each).

The 15th cohort of award recipients consists of 15 Kresge Artist Fellows in Visual Arts and 5 Kresge Artist Fellows in Literary Arts, as well as 7 Gilda Awards in Visual Arts and 3 in Literary Arts. For the second year, awards in each category were proportional to the relative number of applications received.

“We at The Kresge Foundation – like the community at large – are always excited to see who are our new Kresge Artist Fellows and Gilda Award recipients. Whether we’re being reacquainted with artists we’ve known or whether we’re being introduced to others who are new to us, the roster is always a reaffirmation of the breadth and depth of talent in metropolitan Detroit,” said Kresge President and CEO Rip Rapson. “As with Fellows and Gilda Award recipients of past years, we are proud to contribute to these 30 careers that in turn contribute to the cultural identity and vitality of our community as a whole.”

Elevating Artists’ Careers

In addition to the monetary prize, Kresge Artist Fellows and Gilda Award recipients are invited to participate in a series of tailored professional development experiences that include skill-building, networking, promotion and coaching opportunities. Produced by Kresge Arts in Detroit, offerings are created and delivered in collaboration with artists and arts and culture organizations representing local and national perspectives. Kresge Arts in Detroit also pairs Fellows with local filmmakers to create short films featuring the newest fellows’ art practices and perspectives. The most recent films, featuring the 2022 Kresge Artist Fellows, premiered on Detroit Public Television in March and are available online.

“For 15 years, The Kresge Foundation has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to Detroit artists and an unwavering respect for their contributions and impact,” said Christina deRoos director of Kresge Arts in Detroit. “Looking ahead to the next 15 years, Kresge Arts in Detroit will continue to champion abundant, unrestricted investment, consistent exhibition and performance opportunities, and other conditions that are necessary for artists to truly thrive.”


  • Austen Brantley, Sculpture (previous Gilda Awardee in 2017)
  • Halima Afi Cassells, Interdisciplinary Work
  • Rita Dickerson, Ceramics
  • Jessica Frelinghuysen, Performance Art (previous Gilda Awardee in 2021)
  • Louise Jones, Painting
  • Lauren Kalman, Interdisciplinary Work
  • Miranda Kyle, Painting
  • Elton Monroy Duran, Painting
  • Mario Moore, Painting
  • Robert Schefman, Painting
  • Erin K. Schmidt, Book Art
  • Rory Scott, New Media
  • Francis Vallejo, Book Art
  • Venusloc, Video Art
  • Tony Whitfield, Interdisciplinary Work
A grid with the photos of 15 artists that were named the 2023 Kresge Visual Arts Fellows.
2023 Kresge Visual Arts Fellows. Top row (left to right): Erin K. Schmidt, Halima Afi Cassells, Elton Monroy Duran, Louise Jones, Rita Dickerson; Row 2: Miranda Kyle, Francis Vallejo, Venusloc, Jessica Frelinghuysen, Austen Brantley; Bottom row: Robert Schefman, Tony Whitfield, Rory Scott, Lauren Kalman, Mario Moore.



  • James D. Fuson, Poetry
  • Tuyishime Claire Gasamagera, Creative Nonfiction
  • Gail Parrish, Playwriting
  • Edward Salem, Interdisciplinary Work
  • Morgan Mann Willis, Creative Nonfiction
A grid of photos of the five artists named the 2023 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow s
2023 Kresge Literary Arts Fellows (left to right): Gail Parrish, James D. Fuson, Tuyishime Claire Gasamagera, Edward Salem, Morgan Mann Willis.


“This year’s impressive 2023 class of Kresge Fellows and Gilda Award recipients truly demonstrates the impact of creativity in and around the City of Detroit,” said Don Tuski, president of the College for Creative Studies. “On behalf of CCS, I am proud to honor these artists and their artistic achievements, critically important work and influence in the Detroit community.”

“The literary and artistic scene in Detroit remains alive and thriving in the hands of this cohort and the artists who took the time to apply for this prize,” said Jonah Mixon-Webster, a 2023 Literary Arts panelist. “The diverse work of this cohort and the pool of applicants is emblematic of the rich culture that is currently being incubated in the area, while remaining in touch with the voices of the nation and the world at large.”

The Gilda Snowden Emerging Artist Awards

Gilda Awards are $5,000 prizes for emerging artists, named in honor of Gilda Snowden’s (1954–2014) legacy as a mentor and champion of emerging artists in metro Detroit. The recipients are selected from the applicants for the Kresge Artist Fellowships. Gilda Awards recognize artists who are early in their artistic career, are gaining momentum, and who demonstrate exceptional potential through creative risk-taking and pushing the boundaries of their chosen art form.


  • Quinn Alexandria Hunter, Fiber
  • Kimberly LaVonne, Ceramics
  • Shanna Merola, Collage
  • Ackeem Salmon, Interdisciplinary Work
  • Manal Shoukair, Sculpture
  • Melissa Webb, Interdisciplinary Work
  • Lauren Williams, Interdisciplinary Work
A grid of photos of seven artists named the 2023 Gilda Award recipients in Visual Arts.
2023 Gilda Award recipients in Visual Arts (left to right): Shanna Merola, Kimberly LaVonne, Ackeem Salmon, Manal Shoukair, Lauren Williams, Quinn Alexandria Hunter, Melissa Webb.



  • Cieara Estelle, Fiction
  • Liana Imam, Creative Nonfiction
  • Brittany Rogers, Poetry
A photo gird of three artists named the 2023 Gilda Award recipients in Literary Arts.
2023 Gilda Award recipients in Literary Arts (left to right): Liana Jahan Imam, Cieara Estelle, Brittany Rogers.

A Competitive Selection Process

The 2023 cohort is comprised of artists from various career stages and disciplines. The selection criteria for Kresge Artist Fellowships include a demonstrated track record of artistic achievement and high-quality work; the potential to grow and advance one’s artistic career; and the potential to reflect, enhance or impact communities within metro Detroit.

“This cohort of artists includes voices that are often overlooked and not always celebrated,” said Jean Alicia Elster, Literary Arts panelist. “The collective impact of this cohort of artists is heightened by a profoundly varied range of backgrounds and experiences.”

The award recipients are selected by panels of local and national arts experts and practitioners, in their respective disciplines. The process takes several months and numerous rounds of review.

“In my experience, as a critic and educator, the communities that support their artists, as Kresge has done, have a far richer and varied spectrum of artists,” said Literary Arts Panelist Robert Pincus. “Such support is the catalyst for a better civic environment for all citizens.”


  • Andrea Abi-Karam, Poet & Performer
  • Jean Alicia Elster, Professional Writer; Middle Grade/Young Adult Author; 2017 Kresge Artist Fellow
  • Jonah Mixon-Webster, Poet; Performer; Sound Artist; Mellon Arts Postdoc Fellow, Columbia University
  • Robert Pincus, Ph.D., art critic, art historian, author and adjunct professor, California State University, Long Beach and University of San Diego
  • Kelsey Ronan, Prose writer, Director of Room Project


  • Kyohei Abe, Artist; associate professor and area coordinator of photography, Towson University; executive director and curator, Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography
  • Isabel Barbuzza, Sculpture/Intermedia Professor. School of Art and Art History, University of Iowa. School of Art and Art History Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair
  • Andrea Carlson, Artist and writer; Co-founder Center for Native Futures
  • Tylonn Sawyer, multidisciplinary artist educator and curator; 2019 Kresge Artist Fellow
  • Juana Williams, Associate Curator of African American Art, Detroit Institute of Arts