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Kresge Foundation awards $450,000 in fellowships to Detroit area visual artists

General Foundation News

18 artists receive $25,000 each.

TROY, Mich. – The Kresge Foundation today awards the inaugural Kresge Artist Fellowships, each with an unrestricted stipend of $25,000, to 18 metropolitan Detroit visual artists. The Fellowships are the first of its kind to be devoted exclusively to artists in the tri-county area (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb) and represent the foundation’s unwavering support for artists living and working in its hometown. Detroit’s College for Creative Studies administers the fellowships. Fellows are also offered customized professional development opportunities provided by ArtServe Michigan.

The 2009 Kresge Artist Fellows in the Visual Arts are:

  • Shiva Ahmadi, Northville, MI
  • Hartmut Austen, Rochester Hills, MI
  • Lynne Avadenka, Huntington Woods, MI
  • Kristin Beaver, Hamtramck, MI
  • Ed Fraga, Troy, MI
  • Susan Goethel Campbell, Huntington Woods, MI
  • Tyree Guyton, Detroit, MI
  • Chido Johnson, Detroit, MI
  • Rod Klingelhofer, Dearborn, MI
  • Abigail Anne Newbold, Pleasant Ridge, MI
  • Gordon Newton, Detroit, MI
  • Russ Orlando, Franklin, MI
  • Senghor Reid, Detroit, MI
  • Michael Edward Smith, Ferndale, MI
  • Gilda Snowden, Detroit, MI
  • Cedric Tai, Plymouth, MI
  • Sioux Trujillo, Hamtramck, MI
  • Corine Vermeulen-Smith, Detroit, MI

Read the artists’ biographies and see their work.

The 2009 Kresge Artist Fellowship Panel that selected the fellows includes: Susan Bandes, Director of Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University, Lansing, MI; Aaron Betsky, Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Dick Goody, Director of the Oakland University Art Gallery, Rochester, MI; Lorna Simpson, Artist, Brooklyn, NY; and Richard Tuttle, Artist, New York, NY and Abiquiu, NM.

The fellowships, along with an annual Kresge Eminent Artist Award and multi-year operating support grants to arts and cultural organizations, constitute Kresge Arts in Detroit, the foundation’s effort to provide broad support to the regional arts community.

Kresge Arts in Detroit is one facet of the foundation’s Detroit Program, a comprehensive, five-part community-development effort to strengthen the long-term economic, social and cultural fabric of the city and surrounding area by strengthening Detroit’s neighborhoods and downtown, promoting arts and culture, advancing regional economic development, and enhancing the natural environment.

“Individual artists are the life-blood of any highly creative, highly energized community,” says Rip Rapson, president of the Kresge Foundation. “We are proud to support 18 of the Detroit area’s most talented and imaginative individuals and hope, for each of them, that the fellowships will serve as a catalyst for a productive and rewarding year.”

Kresge Artist Fellowships
Each year, the Kresge Foundation awards Kresge Artist Fellowships of $25,000 to 18 artists living and working in metropolitan Detroit. The fellowships seek to advance and encourage the artistic careers of Detroit artists in the visual, performing and literary arts, as well as to elevate the profile of the artistic community in Detroit. Fellows also receive customized professional development opportunities provided by ArtServe Michigan, a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening Michigan’s arts and cultural sector. In November 2009, Kresge Arts in Detroit will begin accepting applications for the 2010 Kresge Artist Fellowships in the Performing and Literary Arts.

The 2009 Kresge Artist Fellowships reward creative vision and commitment to excellence within a wide range of artistic disciplines. More than 350 applications for the Fellowships were reviewed through a competitive process by an independent, five-person panel of national and local artists and arts professionals. The panelists provided a balance of artistic perspectives and an understanding of the local artistic environment as well as extensive knowledge of the art forms being reviewed.

“The Kresge Arts in Detroit program, like so many of the Kresge Foundation’s initiatives, is important to the vitality of the cultural community and the revitalization of our region. The quality of the inaugural group of Fellows is indicative of the rich creative resources we have in Detroit,” said Richard L. Rogers, president, College for Creative Studies.

Kresge Eminent Artist Award
Kresge Arts in Detroit also grants a Kresge Eminent Artist Award each year to an outstanding artist in the visual, performing and literary arts whose influential body of work, impact on their art form, and proven commitment to the Detroit cultural community are evident. The award comes with a $50,000 prize.

In 2008, Detroit artist Charles McGee was named the first Kresge Eminent Artist. The award recognized the artistically significant and the longstanding contributions McGee has made to the visual arts and to the metropolitan Detroit arts community throughout his career. The 2009 Kresge Eminent Artist Award will be announced in December of this year.

Kresge Arts Support
In 2007, Kresge Arts in Detroit began awarding operating support grants to small, mid-size and large arts and cultural organizations located in metropolitan Detroit’s tri-county area (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb). In 2007, 53 organizations received three-year grants. In 2008, an additional 14 organizations received two-year grants.

The Kresge Foundation: The Kresge Foundation is a $3.1 billion private, national foundation, based in Troy, Michigan, that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in six fields: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services and community development. Kresge Arts in Detroit, which comprises the Kresge Eminent Artist Award, Kresge Artist Fellowships and Kresge Arts Support, represents one of five strategic objectives of the foundation’s Detroit Program, a comprehensive community-development effort to strengthen the long-term economic, social and cultural fabric of the city and surrounding region. For further information, please visit

College for Creative Studies: The Kresge Artist Fellowships and Kresge Eminent Artist Award are administered by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office at the College for Creative Studies. Located in midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, the College for Creative Studies is a world leader in art and design education and prepares students to enter the new, global economy where creativity shapes better communities and societies. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls over 1,300 students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. Beginning in fall 2009 the College will also offer Master of Fine Arts degrees in Design and in Transportation Design. For further information, please visit

ArtServe Michigan: ArtServe Michigan is the statewide arts and cultural advocacy organization dedicated to “cultivating the creative potential of Michigan’s arts and cultural sector to enhance the health and well-being of Michigan, its people and communities through advocacy/public policy, capacity building and communications initiatives.” ArtServe Michigan works in strategic partnerships with a statewide network of constituents and stakeholders to advance awareness and support for the importance and funding of arts, culture and arts education at a local, state and national level. Valuing the significant role of artists, and arts and cultural organizations, as essential to Michigan’s economic recovery and future prosperity, ArtServe also provides a rich base of professional support and resources designed to strengthen the arts and cultural sector. Its high-quality programs and services for these constituents include professional development, leadership training, networking and dialogue opportunities, all focused on best and next practices. For further information, please visit

For more information and images of the artists’ work, contact Beth Marmarelli at the College for Creative Studies, or call 313.664.7667.