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The Kresge Foundation awards $450,000 In fellowships to Detroit area literary and performing artists

General Foundation News

18 artists receive $25,000 each

The Kresge Foundation is pleased to announce the 2010 Kresge Artist Fellowships in the literary and performing arts. Each of the 18 fellowships includes an unrestricted prize of $25,000 rewarding creative vision and commitment to excellence within a wide range of artistic disciplines. This is the second year of the program, and these fellowships are unprecedented awards devoted exclusively to Metropolitan Detroit 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, and the fellows are also offered customized professional development opportunities by ArtServe Michigan.

(Artist identification is below.)

The 2010 Kresge Artist Fellows are:
Click each name to read profiles of the artists and learn more about their work.
Literary Arts Performing Arts
Louis Aguilar
Creative non-fiction writerVince Carducci
Art critic

Lynn Crawford
Art critic/fiction writer

Vievee Francis

Rachel Harkai

Steve Hughes
Fiction/creative non-fiction writer

Matthew Olzmann

Chris Tysh

Craig L. Wilkins
Creative non-fiction writer

Haleem Ar-Rasheed “Stringz”
ChoreographerA. Spencer Barefield

Monica Blaire

Timmy Lampinen “Timmy Vulgar”

Valeria Montes “La Chispa”

Frank Pahl
Sound artist

Joel Peterson

Rick Robinson “Mr. CutTime”

Ilana Weaver “Invincible”
Hip-hop artist


The Kresge Artist Fellowships seek to advance and encourage the artistic careers of Detroit artists, as well as to elevate the profile of the city’s artistic community. Nearly 350 applications for the literary and performing arts fellowships were reviewed through a competitive process by two independent panels 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 Literary Arts panelists included: Brad Leithauser, poet, novelist, essayist and faculty at Johns Hopkins University; Cary Loren, artist and owner of The Book Beat; Thylias Moss, poet, writer and professor of English language and literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Lynne Tillman, novelist, short story writer, cultural critic and professor/writer-in-residence in the Department of English at SUNY/University at Albany.

The Performing Arts panelists included: Grisha Coleman, composer, choreographer, performer and assistant professor at Arizona State University; Aaron Dworkin, musician and founder/president of the Sphinx Organization; Benjamin Hernandez, public programs coordinator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD); and Greg Tate, author, musician and former cultural critic for The Village Voice.

“The 2010 class of Kresge Artist Fellows exemplifies the rich and varied literary and performing talent residing in Metropolitan Detroit,” says Rip Rapson, president of The Kresge Foundation. “These 18 artists join the 2009 class of visual artists — all highly creative, highly energized individuals, who we hope will not only find their fellowship experiences productive and rewarding, but also will use those experiences to further enrich and enliven the cultural vitality of our region.”

The annual Kresge Artist Fellowships, 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.

“It is remarkable and wonderful that The Kresge Foundation sees the arts as a potent force in bringing about the change Detroit needs and deserves and has decided to support the careers and ambitions of individual artists. Support for individual artists is all too rare these days, and Kresge Arts in Detroit is reasserting the principle that the artist matters and needs to be appreciated,” said Richard L. Rogers, president, College for Creative Studies.

In spring of 2011, a biannual festival celebrating the work of the 2009 and 2010 Kresge Artist Fellows and Kresge Eminent Artists will be presented by the University Cultural Center Association (UCCA). The event will be a community-wide celebration of some of Detroit’s most talented literary, performing and visual artists. It will be open to the public and held in the cultural corridor in Midtown Detroit.

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, and human services. 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.

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. The College also offers Master of Fine Arts degrees in Design and in Transportation Design. For further information, please visit

ArtServe Michigan: ArtServe Michigan is the leading statewide advocacy organization for arts and cultural communities and artists. By reinforcing the ability of artists and arts and cultural organizations to remain alive and well, ArtServe widens arts access, supports economic development and stimulates investments in the creative talent running through Michigan. 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 sector. For further information, please visit

University Cultural Center Association: The University Cultural Center Association (UCCA) is a nonprofit planning and development organization that supports the physical maintenance and revitalization of Midtown Detroit, while working to enhance public awareness, appreciation and use of the district. Founded in 1976, the organization has been working to encourage new housing development, increased visitorship to area attractions and new commercial activity within the neighborhood. For more information, please visit

For more information, call 248-643-9630.