Detroit, Michigan – June 23, 2016 Seventeen metropolitan Detroit artists and one collaborative have been selected to receive 2016 Kresge Artist Fellowships. In addition, two emerging artists will receive Gilda Awards.

Funded by The Kresge Foundation, Kresge Artist Fellowships and Gilda Awards are administered by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office of the College for Creative Studies. The latest awards uplift and support artists working in film, music, dance, theatre, performance art, and interdisciplinary forms.

Each fellowship comes with an unrestricted $25,000 prize and a year of professional practice support provided by Creative Many Michigan, including an invitation to an intensive professional development retreat presented by New York-based artist-service organization Creative Capital. The two Gilda Award recipients receive $5,000 unrestricted awards to foster their work. The award is named in honor of artist, CCS professor and 2009 Kresge Artist Fellow Gilda Snowden’s (1954-2014) legacy as a mentor and champion of young, emerging artists in metropolitan Detroit.

Among this year’s selected recipients are both iconic Detroit artists and rising stars. Collectively, their work represents a broad spectrum, from traditional to contemporary interpretations of this year’s two fellowship categories, Film & Music and Live Arts.

“From emerging practitioners to renowned anchors of Detroit’s artistic community, the 2016 Kresge Artist Fellows exemplify the exceptional talent, vision and dedication that have always defined Detroit’s artists and creative communities,” says Michelle Perron,

Christopher Jon Alexander, Documentary/Fiction Hybrid Filmmaker
Chi Amen-Ra, Percussionist      
Mahogany Jones, Hip Hop Artist
Marion Hayden, Jazz Musician  
Danny Kroha, Musician, Performer
Oksana Mirzoyan, Screenwriter, Director
Joshua Mulligan, Animator        
Sterling Toles, Composer, Producer         
Pamela D. Wise, Composer, Performer                                                     

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
Shaun S. Nethercott, Playwright
Red Stowall, Choreographer, Dancer
Ralph Taylor, Carnival Body Puppet Artist, Performer


Film & Music: Ellen Coons, Animator                                                     

Live Arts: Marsae Mitchell, Choreographer & Director

The awardees were selected by independent panels of local and national artists and arts professionals from among 450 applications.

Todd Chandler, Filmmaker; Musician; Interdisciplinary Artist; Educator
Njia Kai, Curator; Producer
Terence Nance, Filmmaker; Visual Artist; Musician
Frank Pahl, Composer; 2010 Kresge Artist Fellow; Adjunct Professor, College for Creative Studies, University of Michigan
Pamela Z, Composer/Performer, Media Artist      

Penny Godboldo, Associate Professor of Dance, Marygrove College; Master Dunham Technique Instructor
Aku Kadogo, Theatre Director; Choreographer; Chair, Drama Department, Spelman College
Carrie Morris, Director; Puppeteer; Performance Artist
Leyya Mona Tawil, Dance Artist; Director, Dance Elixir
Sarah Wilke, Managing Director, On the Boards

“Detroit lived up to its legacy as home to a wealth of outstanding creative talent,” says panelist Njia Kai. “It was exciting to experience such a diverse sampling of performing artists, and intimidating to distill nine fellows from the hundreds of worthy applicants.”

The Kresge Arts in Detroit program represents the foundation’s desire to support artists living and working in the foundation’s hometown, and to elevate the profile of metro Detroit’s artists and creative communities. “

These Kresge Artist Fellows and Gilda Awardees exemplify the vision and verve of an arts community that increasingly has the attention of the world,” says Rip Rapson, CEO and President of The Kresge Foundation, “Detroit’s overdue recognition as a center of arts and culture is integral to our ongoing revival. That recognition is a testament to arts organizations, patrons, audiences and others – but fundamentally it’s a testament to our artists, whose work we seek to lift up and amplify through Kresge Arts in Detroit.”

Since 2008, the Kresge Arts in Detroit program has contributed over $4 million to the local creative economy through the Kresge Eminent Artist award, Kresge Artist Fellowships and Gilda Awards in Film & Music, Literary Arts, Live Arts, and Visual Arts.  This investment in artists and collaboratives working in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties – a total of 156 over eight years  – empowers culturally minded thinking and strengthens Detroit’s position as a major center for arts and culture nationally and internationally.

Each year’s announcement of the new Kresge Artist Fellows reminds us of the incredible depth and diversity of talent in our region,” says Richard L. Rogers, President of the College for Creative Studies. “This year’s group of remarkable fellows and Gilda Award recipients is no exception. From emerging experimentalists to iconic figures of the creative scene, they radiate cultural energy. The Kresge Arts in Detroit program continues to showcase Detroit as we know it to be – a wellspring of artistic inspiration and innovation.


Applications for the 2017 Kresge Artist Fellowships in Literary Arts and Visual Arts will be available in fall 2016.”


The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2015, the Board of Trustees approved 370 grants totaling $125.2 million, and nine social investment commitments totaling $20.3 million.

The College for Creative Studies, Located in the heart of Detroit, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees. Students in the BFA program can major in Advertising: Copywriting, Advertising Design, Crafts, Entertainment Arts, Fashion Accessories Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design, and Transportation Design, in addition to a dual major Art Education program. Students in the MFA program can major in Color and Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design, and Transportation Design. The College also offers non-credit courses in the visual arts through its Continuing and Precollege Studies programs and opportunities for youth through its Community Arts Partnerships programs. 

Kresge Arts in Detroit, which comprises the Kresge Artist Fellowships and Kresge Eminent Artist Award, is generously funded by The Kresge Foundation and administered by the College for Creative Studies. Kresge Arts in Detroit represents one facet of The Kresge 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. The goals of Kresge Arts in Detroit are to enrich the quality of life for metropolitan Detroiters by helping artists provide a broad spectrum of cultural experiences; celebrate and reflect the richness and diversity of our community in all its aspects; heighten the profile of arts and artists in our community; and strengthen the artistic careers of local artists. Since 2008, Kresge Arts in Detroit has awarded more than $4 million through 144 Kresge Artist fellowships ($25,000 each), eight Kresge Eminent Artist awards ($50,000 each), and four Gilda Awards ($5,000 each).

In an effort to provide further support and services to the fellows, Creative Many Michigan, working in collaboration with The Kresge Foundation and Kresge Arts in Detroit, designs and delivers a series of professional practice and engagement opportunities for the artists awarded the Kresge Artist Fellowships. Creative Many is a statewide organization whose mission is to develop creative people, creative places and the creative economy for a competitive Michigan. Creative Many advances the power of creativity through research, advocacy, professional practice, funding, communications, networking and dialogue for the greater good of the creative industries including arts, culture and design. 

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