Monday, August 25, 2008

The New Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellows

UPDATE: More coverage on the awards from Cincinnati blogger, Sara Pearce. Check out her post here.

It that time again, folks. An assortment of artists had been contacting me this past week to see if I had yet heard word on the winners for latest round of the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowships. Well, now we have it. Let us each congratulate these 5 artists for winning this award and look forward to seeing their work in the future. On, and please, if you have sour grapes, let us hold that off for a later post. Let us show some respect and give these artists their moment in the light.

Congratulations to all of you!

Anthony Luensman
Tack Rain & Beach Ball Bellow
video animation loops, plasma TVs, computers

Michael Lyons

LaRinda Meinburg
Carved Salt Licks

Brian Priest
Machine of Enigmas
mixed media interactive audio sculpture

Letitia Quesenberry
non plus ultra
plaster on 336 panels

The Press Release:

Five artists from the Midwest receive $20,000 each from the Efroymson Family Fund

Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship expands geographic reach in fourth year

INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 25, 2008) – In its fourth year, the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship has again extended its geographic reach, awarding five $20,000 grants to artists from Indiana, Louisville and Cincinnati. The Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowships are made possible by the Efroymson Family Fund, which is based in Indianapolis.

The 2008 Efroymson Fellows are Letitia Quesenberry (Louisville), Brian Priest (Indianapolis), Michael Lyons (Indianapolis), LaRinda Meinburg (Bloomington) and Anthony Luensman (Cincinnati). In all, 235 artists submitted qualified applications, up from 158 for the 2007 program.

Created to recognize gifted contemporary artists, the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship originally focused on Central Indiana. In 2007, the program managed by the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) expanded to include artists from across Indiana; this year, it welcomed applications from artists in Louisville and Cincinnati as well.

“Contemporary art constantly expands its boundaries, so it’s only fitting that we should, too,” said Jeremy Efroymson, vice chair and one of three Efroymson family members who advise the Efroymson Family Fund on its gifts to the community. “We were delighted to see the number of applications increase once again, and to see such high-quality work coming from artists.”

The Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship is unique among fellowships nationally, most notably because it has very few restrictions. While eligible artists must live in Indiana or in the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) of Louisville or Cincinnati; 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. In addition, Efroymson Fellows can use the grant money any way they choose to further their artistic careers – for living expenses, equipment and supplies, studio rental, travel essential to artistic research or to complete work.

The idea behind the Fellowship is simply to encourage emerging and established contemporary artists to continue their artistic development. Since the Fellowship’s inception, The Efroymson Family Fund has awarded a total of $400,000 to 20 artists, and many of those artists say the Fellowship was a career-altering award.

The 2008 Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellows are:

· Letitia Quesenberry, 36, Louisville, painter. The large-scale, three dimensional pieces that Quesenberry creates are intended to provoke uncertainty. “Not knowing invokes more interest than knowing,” she says. Quesenberry draws from found photographs and other cultural documents in creating works that drive the viewer to fall short of understanding for just a little longer than usual. She strives for subjects that reveal themselves slowly, thereby drawing the most benefit from the state of not knowing. She will use her grant to support her work by offsetting living expenses, purchasing materials, renting a larger studio space and traveling to the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, where she will work in a community of artists.

· Brian Priest, 30, Indianapolis, installation art. Science, technology and art converge in Priest’s works to challenge our perceptions of the human place in a natural world, and examine how those perceptions shift in relation to science, technology and innovation. Priest creates large-scale interactive installations where sound, video, technology and sculpture redefine the human landscape. In one installation, the sounds of nature are converted by computer into Morse code recitations of the Bible, Koran, Art of War or Origin of the Species. As a result, what might seem like the sounds of a forest are in fact the rediscovered sounds of humankind. The Fellowship grant will allow Priest to purchase new equipment, lease studio space, and pay technicians who help him in his work. In addition, it will allow him to focus on two new major works and also travel to collaborate with artists in other cities.

· Michael Lyons, 27, Indianapolis, sculpture. While many artists work to complete their pieces, Lyons works for the sake of the process, without a preconceived notion of when a work will be completed or what it will be when it is done. His creations often marry light, shadows and everyday objects into works that expose a fascination with things he does not understand. He uses a variety of techniques, merging art and manufacturing to reveal not a finished project, but the course that was followed to arrive at this point in a continuing journey. Lyons will use his award to rent studio space that will give him more freedom to work, and to offset living expenses so he’ll have more time and focus for his work.

· LaRinda Meinburg, 31, Bloomington, sculpture. Meinburg is fascinated by the material she uses for her sculptures. She likes to study it, manipulate it and investigate it the way a scientist might. Then she likes to use unusual materials or processes to create her art. Her work is typically simple in presentation, but involves an intricate process and engages with nature and society to create opportunities for new perspectives and to pose new questions. In one work, she created a sheet of latex paint, forcing viewers to see color as an object; in another, she carved a salt lick into the shape of a bomb and placed it in Berlin, allowing time and nature to dissolve it, and allowing its salt to kill the weeds around it. Because she is intrigued by the notion of documenting her work, Meinburg will use some of her grant award to purchase a new camera. She’ll also use funds to purchase art and marketing materials; to support travel to promote her work; and for living expenses.

· Anthony Luensman, 42, Cincinnati, sculpture. Luensman uses objects, constructions, lights, sounds, electronics, photography and more to create art spaces and places in which the viewer can enter as a witness or participant. His work evolves from his curiosity and invention, and draws from his intellectual and cultural experiences to emerge as investigations into the relationships and disproportions of nature to humanity, the individual to society, technology to psychology and the self to self-fulfillment. The grant will allow Luensman to embark on an ambitious new body of work, supporting the cost of studio space, contract labor and studio assistance, materials, travel and marketing.

A four-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 Family Fund; Kat Parker, director, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Jay Jordan, director and curator, New Center for Contemporary Art, Louisville; and Cyndi Conn, curator, Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe.

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.

“By expanding the geographic range of these awards, the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship is also expanding the awareness of Indianapolis as a cultural leader,” said Brian Payne, president of CICF. “I applaud the Efroymsons for their support of the arts, and for demonstrating that contemporary art has a home in Central Indiana and beyond.”

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. To further plan and maximize their philanthropy, in 1998 Dan and Lori Efroymson established the Efroymson Family Fund with Central Indiana Community Foundation. Their initial gift to the fund was $90 million. Today, Efroymson Family Fund is one of the largest donor-advised funds in the United States, with total assets exceeding $127 million, and it has awarded more than $53 million to local, regional and national organizations. In addition to their arts support, in Indiana, the focus of the family’s community contributions are to improve the viability of Indianapolis by providing funds for the welfare of the disadvantaged; the natural environment; historic preservation; and the well being of the Jewish people.

12 Responses to “The New Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellows”

Christopher said...
August 25, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Congrats all!

braingirl said...
August 25, 2008 at 11:49 AM

I love Quesenberry's work and it's so nice to see her recognized for it. Agree, congrats to all.

Carla said...
August 26, 2008 at 6:30 PM

There are some great choices here. Congrats.

Anonymous said...
August 28, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Deja vu. Emporers new clothes. Again.

Sorry, someone has to say it.

Anonymous said...
August 28, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Tip of tongue. Elephant in the room. Coward.

Obviously, a clever artist attack.

(cowardly retort acknowledged)

Anonymous said...
August 30, 2008 at 6:32 AM

Actually, clever art buyer attack.

Nothing I'd want to see or purchase there.

Anonymous said...
August 31, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Whiners alert:

I love that art is the only field where those who aren't successful can literally blame those who are. Whether you like/dislike these choices doesn't matter- if you can't recognize that they are solid, contemporary choices than you really are not operating in today's art world.

It's always been a shame to me (and I consider it one of our greatest weaknesses as an arts community) that we can't pause to congratulate each other once in a while.

Maybe you should all be reading "nowhere near the cusp" instead of "on the cusp".

Scott said...
August 31, 2008 at 4:47 PM

wonderfully stated, hahaha.

Anonymous said...
September 1, 2008 at 9:55 PM

I would like to congratulate the winners,
but as you know this contest is so political...
1. You have to be fairly young
2. Were you ask to enter?
3. Are you Jeremy's friend?

Scott said...
September 2, 2008 at 1:52 PM

Come on...

What is "so political" about this contest? The implication that the process or the winners were selected for "political" reasons implys bias and some dubious, underhanded means which are quite unfounded. To start with, it is simply at juried process. And each year all but one juror (Jeremy, after all it is his fund) is from out of state and with nothing to gain.

1. Age is of no import, it is about the work submitted. If we simply look at the last two rounds of the Efroymson fund, the ages of the winners ranged from 27-59 years old. UNFOUNDED

2. I did not enter this round personally, because I spent a good part of the year working for Jeremy and wanted to avoid any conspiracy theories that would certainly pop up, IF I would have possibly won. As for who entered? We posted here at OtC the call for entries. As did the Arts Councils enews letter, and numerous other regional arts organizations and national Call for Entries lists. You simply has to submit. UNFOUNDED

3. Let's look at this round of winners and what do we see, at least three artists that Jeremy did not know. But lets look at the real picture here, if you are at all active in the arts community and go to a number of event openings and such, you are bound to meet Jeremy. We live in a small arts community and Jeremy is very active in that community. It only stands to reason that artists from this area are artists he perhaps knows, has met and yes, may even be friends with. Are you saying that the other Jurors involved in the entire selection process are in on some huge conspiracy? Seriously? Again, I think your implications are merely UNFOUNDED.

If I come off as agressive in my response, then you may be correct. This sort of conspiracy theory crap has come up with every round of the awards. This award is a remarkable opportunity for area artists and I hope (despite the sour grapes of others) it continues to be available. But, we need to think about this from another perspective. If every year you were lambasted by the same community you were attempting to help, why would you want to continue helping? Jeremy and his family have done a lot for the local arts in Indy, I for one am greatful.

ArtistDan said...
September 2, 2008 at 4:02 PM

Thanks for the point by point reply, Scott. I've never applied for this grant (meant to this year but was too busy), but I certainly am grateful it exists. It's wonderful to have such active supporters in our community. Whether I agree with the winners or like or dislike their art doesn't matter to me. I enjoyed seeing samples of the winners' art, and I would like to congratulate all of them.

gcs said...
June 3, 2009 at 9:56 PM

great work/choices. clever, playful, mindful, and skillful.


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