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Kresge Arts in Detroit announces 2020 Artist Fellows

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — Kresge Arts in Detroit announced Thursday it has awarded $550,000 to 30 Metro Detroit artists in its 2020 class.

"With artists in the midst of an unprecedented loss of employment, we’re thrilled to provide more awards than ever,” Christina deRoos, Kresge Arts in Detroit's director, said in a statement. “Given the no strings attached nature of the awards and the central role of artists throughout the city of Detroit, we know these resources will have a positive impact on far more than the 30 individuals receiving them.”

The 2020 Kresge Artist Fellows, from left to right are: Naima Shamborguer, Vincent Chandler, Rafael Leafar, Melanie Manos, and Amp Fiddler in the top row; Chris Jakob, Debra J. White-Hunt, Bree Gant, Mike Khoury and Andrew Morton in the second row; Kia ix Arriaga, Marcus Elliot, Ajara Alghali, Salakastar and Paige Wood in the third row; Michael Manson, Shawntai Brown, Joo Won Park, Karilú Alarcón Forshee and Brandon Walley in the bottom row.

Kresge Arts in Detroit annually awards Kresge Artist Fellowships, Gilda Awards and the annual Kresge Eminent Artist Award to support the area's artists. It's funded by The Kresge Foundation and administered by the College for Creative Studies.

The 20 Kresge Artist Fellowship winners received a $25,000 award. The 10 Gilda Award winners received $5,000.

This year, Kresge Arts in Detroit gave out 10 more awards than it has in recent years and increased the total amount of the awards by $90,000, officials said. Over the last 13 years, Kresge Arts in Detroit has awarded about $6 million to 252 artists.

Winners of Kresge Artist Fellowships and Gilda Awards were chosen by local and national panelists from hundreds of applications. The Gilda Award honors late artist, educator and 2009 Kresge Artist Fellow Gilda Snowden.

“Kresge’s commitment to the arts — forged over more than a decade — is a commitment to the creative processes indispensable to healthy, vibrant, and hopeful communities,” Rip Rapson, Kresge Foundation President and CEO, said in a statement. “And it is in times like these — full of uncertainty, pain, and injustice — that the arts play a unique role in provoking society to deeper reflection and arcing us to higher aspiration. A long, enduring investment in the arts, and in individual artists, is an insurance policy — that we never lose sight of our common humanity, never overlook the travails of our history, and never give up hope for the boundless possibilities for our future. There could be no clearer proof than the group of artists presented today.”

This year's winners are:

Live Arts Fellows

Ajara Alghali, Dance

Kia ix Arriaga, Interdisciplinary Work

Shawntai Brown, Playwriting

Karilú Alarcón Forshee, Interdisciplinary Work

Debra J. White-Hunt, Dance and Choreography

Chris Jakob, Interdisciplinary Work

Melanie Manos, Performance Art

Michael Manson, Dance and Choreography

Andrew Morton, Playwriting and Theatre Directing

Salakastar, Interdisciplinary Work

Film & Music Fellows

Vincent Chandler, Music Composition and Performance

Marcus Elliot, Music Composition and Performance

Amp Fiddler, Music Composition

Bree Gant, Interdisciplinary Work

Mike Khoury, Music Composition and Performance

Rafael Leafar, Music Composition and Performance

Joo Won Park, Music Composition and Performance

Naima Shamborguer, Music Composition and Performance

Brandon Walley, Film Directing

Paige Wood, Screenwriting and Film Directing

Gilda Awards in Live Arts

Celia Benvenutti, Dance and Choreography

Aj Sims, Dance and Choreography

Thank You So Much For Coming (Maddy Rager, Scott Crandall), Interdisciplinary Work

Lis Chere Thomas, Performance Art

Gilda Awards in Film & Music

Ian Fink, Music Composition and Performance

Karl Kingson, Screenwriting and Film Directing

Emily Rogers, Music Composition and Performance

Summer Like The Season (Summer Krinsky), Music Composition and Performance

TeddyBoy, Interdisciplinary Work

We Are Culture Creators (Michael Reyes, Elizabeth Stone, Xavier Cuevas), Interdisciplinary Work

The 2020 fellows will be featured in Kresge Arts in Detroit’s commissioned film series, which documents the work and perspectives throughout the program’s history. The films will be made available online next winter.

“Detroit is known for talented, innovative artists whose work not only reflects and documents the world as it is, but also heals, confronts and inspires us all to imagine what’s possible — how we can approach the past and present with a commitment to truth and reconciliation, and build a future where everyone can fully thrive,” deRoos said. “At this critical moment, as always, artists are critical to Detroit’s position as one of the most creative cities in the United States, and one that remains at the forefront of the ongoing struggle for justice.”

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez