Wednesday, April 25, 2007

5 Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowships Announced at $20,000 each

Congratulations to all the winners, a truely talented batch. I enjoyed meeting with most of them at the announcement ceremony, all great people. Sorry I never got around to meeting with you Lucinda, perhaps next time.

Slightly Edited Press Release-

INDIANAPOLIS (April 25, 2007) – One photographer, two painters and two installation/sculpture artists Five young and talented local contemporary artists each have been awarded $20,000 grants from the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship program, which is managed by the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF).

The 2007 Efroymson Fellows are Lucinda Devlin, Brian McCutcheon, Brose Partington, Casey Roberts and Tom Torluemke. All live in Indianapolis except Torluemke, whose home is in Hammond, Ind.

These artists are among members of an emerging visual arts community who are helping to transform Indianapolis into a culturally inspiring and thriving city.

This is the third year that the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, one of the few of its kind in the country, has recognized some of the city’s most gifted contemporary artists, but the first time the competition was open to artists statewide. Previously it was open only to artists in Central Indiana.

In all, 158 artists submitted qualified applications, up from 67 for the 2005 program.

“I was very impressed with the quality of work submitted this year,” said Jeremy Efroymson, vice chair and one of three Efroymson Fund advisors. “Expanding eligibility to artists from the entire State of Indiana helped to expand the reach of the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowships.”

The award is one of the few of its kind in the country, the fellowship is unique because it’s available to almost any central Indiana artist with has very few restrictions. While the artists must live in Indiana, be 25 or older and work in photography, painting, sculpture, new media or installation art, those applying for the award aren’t required to have a degree or a minimum amount of experience. Another distinguishing characteristic of the award is that Efroymson Fellows can use the money any way they choose to further their artistic career – for living expenses, equipments and supplies, studio rental, travel essential to artistic research or to complete work.

“The Efroymson Fellowships are intended to get funds directly to individual creative people in our city,” said Jeremy Efroymson, vice chair and one of three Efroymson Fund advisors. “By supporting creativity we can make Indianapolis a vibrant cultural center, a place where creative people choose to live."

The idea behind the fellowship is simply to encourage emerging and established contemporary artists to continue their artistic development. The Fellowships are an investment in the future of contemporary art in our city and, by extension, in the city’s long-term vitality. Some of the art that today we consider to be classic was once considered cutting edge. This is a chance to nurture the budding artists here who tomorrow could be as well known as Hoosiers T.C. Steele or Robert Indiana.

The 2007 Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellows are:

Lucinda Devlin, photographer. Devlin has worked as an artist for 35 years, most of them using a square format camera and film. Because Kodak recently stopped making the film she’s used for many years, and because few photo labs now offer film processing services, Devlin has come to the realization that she must convert to digital. She will use the fellowship award to convert her archive of film negatives to digital files and purchase a digital camera and printing equipment. She says, “It is a daunting but also exciting prospect and constitutes a major turning point in my artistic life.” Devlin’s photos explore such diverse interior environments as operating rooms, execution chambers and health spas. Although the spaces she photographs are designed for human activity, there are no people in her photographs because she prefers viewers to interpret the spaces on their own. In addition to purchasing equipment, Devlin will use the award for travel for new photo projects.

Brian McCutcheon, sculptor. A sculptor who follows ideas rather than using a signature technique or image, McCutcheon often works with such common things as birds, charcoal grills and sleds and finds poetic resonance in them. The fellowship award will allow him to quit his day job at a collision center so he can spend time to complete an in-process body of work. Once the work is completed, he will pursue venues in which to exhibit in New York, where he recently had to pass on an award to attend Sculpture Space because of lack of funds. A graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Colorado State University, he has taught at Herron, the Art Institute in Chicago and schools in Detroit and Philadelphia.

Brose Partington, installation artist. Partington’s installations juxtapose materials with design and motion. His work takes ordinary materials and makes them extraordinary in what they can do once they’re manipulated and looked at afresh. The fellowship award will allow him to buy technology, including programmable controllers and motors, to make his art more interactive. He’s currently designing a series of outdoor pieces that are powered by the viewer, who will wind up a clock-like mechanism to set the piece into motion. In addition, the award would help defray the cost of traveling to Basel, Switzerland and Istanbul, Turkey, where he is exhibiting installations this year. Partington is a graduate of Herron School of Art and works as an exhibit technician and mount builder at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Casey Roberts, painter. Roberts’ paintings are created with a photochemical process known as cyanotype that, when exposed to sunlight and developed, produces a vibrant blue image. In addition to this light-sensitive medium, he uses everyday items such as baking soda, bleach and peroxide to achieve a range of colors and textures. Roberts will use the fellowship award to travel to India for one month to study and explore the landscapes and cultures, focusing on regions known for their distinctive art forms. He will collaborate with skilled Indian craftsmen in woodcarving and metal casting and create a body of work that is inspired by and reflects the experience. He plans to create a Web site and promotional packet to distribute to national and international galleries to seek exhibition opportunities. He will use a portion of the fellowship for classes in lost wax bronze casting and mold making before the trip and for studio rent for the year and to cover bills while he’s away.

Tom Torluemke, sculptor. The first artist outside Indianapolis to be awarded an Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, Torluemke and his work is well known throughout the state. In Indianapolis alone, he is represented by the Ruschman Gallery, he has lectured at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and he was recently commissioned to create two terrazzo floor designs for the new Indianapolis International Airport. His lengthy resume includes solo and group exhibitions in Chicago, Indianapolis, South Bend, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and more. He says the fellowship award will give him the “mental freedom” to continue work on three ambitious projects. One is a piece for the “Consuming War” in Chicago where he will do a large-scale site-specific paper sculpture installation. Second is a piece for an exhibition called “The Inland See: Contemporary Art Around Lake Michigan,” and the third is a solo exhibition of Torluemke’s drawings at Indiana University Northwest in Gary in early 2008. This is a significant event for him because he’s only shown his drawings on a couple of occasions.

“Not only will this help us keep five very talented individuals in our community, the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship will help define us nationally as a city that takes arts and culture seriously,” said Brian Payne, president of CICF. “And that will go a long way in helping attract those highly sought-after young, educated, and creative professionals.”

A fivefive-member selection committee consisting of national, and regional representatives chose the five recipients in a blind selection process. The selection committee members were Jeremy Efroymson, vice chair of the Efroymson Fund; Mitch Cope, co-curator/program director, Shrinking Cities Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art; Jeanne Long, director of special exhibitions, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Ron Platt, Hugh Kaul curator of modern and contemporary art, Birmingham Museum of Art; and Susan York, sculpture and installation artist, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Fellows are selected for the quality, skill, creativity and uniqueness of their work, their commitment to developing their work and the impact the award will have on the artist’s career.

“Indianapolis is becoming known for as a cultural leader in the Midwest and around the country,” said Brian Payne, president of CICF. “The Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowships help to attract and retain some very talented contemporary artists.”

The program, which has now awarded a total of $2,300,000 to 105 local artists over four two years, was designed to increase the awareness and importance of contemporary art in central Indiana.

The 2005 Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellows were Katrin Asbury, Stuart Hyatt, Emily W. Kennerk, Brian Myers and Jamie Pawlus, and the 2004 Fellows were Linda Adele Goodine, Gregory Hull, Marc Jacobson, Eric Nordgulen and David Russick. Many of those artists say the Fellowship was a career-altering award.

In addition to spending time in their studios and completing works, previous Fellows cited such results as holding exhibitions (solo and group); purchasing equipment to better document work, attending workshops, traveling to New York to enhance professional development and meet with gallery owners and dealers, and more.

It rewards creativity and encourages emerging and established contemporary artists by supporting their artistic development. The Efroymson family has supported the art community in Indianapolis for decades, believing that art is a vehicle for exploring new ideas and stimulating community dialogue.

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