The Kresge Foundation announced its 2016 class of Artist Fellows on Thursday, with awards this year that focus on film, music and the live arts.
In all, 17 local artists and one collective, ranging from a “body puppet artist” to a composer who sees himself as a sound-healer, will each get $25,000 with no strings attached. Fellows also win a year’s worth of professional training tailor-made for arts careers.
For the second-year running, two emerging artists won Gilda Awards — named for the late artist and College for Creative Studies professor Gilda Snowden. The recipients are animator Ellen Coons, and director and choreographer Marsae Mitchell. Each will receive $5,000.
CCS President Richard L. Rogers said that every year the awards remind him of the region’s deep wellsprings of talent, and this year is no exception.
“From emerging experimentalists to iconic figures of the creative scene,” Rogers said, “they radiate cultural energy.”
Among the 2016 Film & Music recipients are percussionist Chi Amen-Ra, whose work harnesses the rhythms of the African Diaspora and who performed at Super Bowl XL, and Danny Kroha, a veteran rocker who’s played in numerous Detroit bands over the years, including the Gories and the Demolition Doll Rods.
Live Arts winners include longtime theater director Gary Anderson, the artistic director of Detroit’s Plowshares Theatre Company, and jessica Care moore, a poet who combines electric jazz and storytelling.
The Kresge Artist Fellows program was created to encourage the area’s creatives to stay in Detroit, rather than migrating to Chicago, New York and other cultural capitals. Since 2008, the program has awarded 144 fellowships at $25,000 apiece.
Eight artists with long careers of unusual distinction have been named Eminent Artists over the same period, with stipends of $50,000 apiece.
The Kresge Foundation funds the program, but applications are reviewed by an independent jury of five, with two local voices and three national figures. Jury panels change every year. The Kresge Arts in Detroit staff, which oversees the program, has no say in picking winners.
2016 Kresge Artist Fellows
Film & Music Fellows
Christopher Jon Alexander: Documentary/Fiction Hybrid Filmmaker
Chi Amen-Ra: Percussionist
Mahogany Jones: Hip Hop Artist
Marion Hayden: Jazz Musician
Danny Kroha: Musician, Performer, Songwriter
Oksana Mirzoyan: Screenwriter, Director
Joshua Mulligan: Animator
Sterling Toles: Composer, Producer
Pamela D. Wise: Composer, Performer
Live Arts Fellows
Gary Anderson: Theater director
Biba Bell: Choreographer, dancer
jessica Care moore: Interdisciplinary Poet
Corazon del Pueblo (collaborative): Folk Dance, Choreography
L05: Live Media Artist, performer
Jimbo Easter: Performance artist
Joshua Mulligan, animator
Shaun S. Nethercott: Playwright
Red Stowall: Choreographer, dancer
Ralph Taylor: Carnival Body puppet artist, performer
Ellen Coons: Animator
Marsae Mitchell: Choreographer and director