Sixteen metro Detroit artists and two collaborating groups have been selected to receive 2018 Kresge Artist Fellowships. In addition, four emerging artists are receiving Gilda Awards in this 10th year of the program, bringing the total number of artist awards given during the first ten years of Kresge Arts in Detroit to 200.

Photographer: Noah Stephens
Front Row:          Michelle May, Thornetta Davis, Rober B. Jones, Sr., Alex Way
Second Row:      Ben Corona, Julia Yezbick
Third Row:          Ahya Simone, David Binder, Toni Cunningham
Photographer: Noah Stephens
Front Row: Penny Godboldo, Liza Bielby (The Hinterlands), Dwight “Skip” Stackhouse, Jake Hooker (A Host of People)
Second Row: Ronald Ford, Jr., Emilio Rodriguez
Third Row: Carrie Morris, Morgan Breon, Richard Newman (The Hinterlands), Sherrine Azab (A Host of People), Lance Rodriguez

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 provide nine Kresge Artist Fellowships in Live Arts (dance, theatre, playwriting, and other forms intended to be experienced live) and nine Kresge Artist Fellowships in Film & Music. In addition, two Gilda Award recipients were selected in each category.

Film & Music Fellows

David Binder, Music Performance
Ben Corona, Film Directing
Toni Cunningham, Screenwriting
Thornetta Davis, Music Composition and Performance
Robert B. Jones, Sr., Music Composition and Performance
Michelle May, Music Composition and Performance
Ahya Simone, Music Composition and Performance
Alex Way, Music Composition and Performance
Julia Yezbick, Film Directing

Live Arts Fellows

A Host of People (collaborative), Theatre Directing
Morgan Breon, Theatre Directing, Playwriting
Ronald Ford, Jr., Dance, Choreography
Penny Godboldo, Dance, Choreography
The Hinterlands (collaborative), Theatre Directing
Carrie Morris, Theatre Directing, Puppetry
Emilio Rodriguez, Playwriting
Lance Rodriguez, Dance, Choreography
Dwight “Skip” Stackhouse, Storytelling

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. “The arts are a vital force in Detroit,” said Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson. “We are honored every year to support the newest recipients of Kresge Artist Fellowships and Gilda Awards whose work reflect our community’s artistic and cultural wealth. While we highlight the talented individuals receiving awards this year, we also celebrate the collective statement and collective impact all of the artists have had across the first ten years of the initiative,” Rapson added. “These artists speak to tradition and experimentation. They illuminate stark truths and they light the imagination. They craft narratives of our time and they ensure timeless truths are not forgotten. Our community is more deeply connected because of artists like these woven into our cultural fabric. It is an honor to be able to support them and to elevate their work.”


Gilda Award Recipients in Film & Music:
Arthur Cartwright, Screenwriting, Film Directing
Aisha Ellis, Music Composition and Performance

Gilda Award Recipients in Live Arts:
Brandyn “SKilz” Burton, Dance, Choreography
Salakastar, Theatre, Performance Art

“As a Film & Music panelist, it was very clear to me that Detroit continues to inspire and nurture an incredible range of creative talent,” says internationally-renowned violinist and Detroit native, Regina Carter. “It was exciting to review all of the work samples and artist statements, and ultimately very challenging to select such a small number of artists to receive awards.”

An event to celebrate the 2018 award recipients, as well as the 10-year program milestone and all selected Kresge Artist Fellows and Gilda Award recipients to date, will be held the evening of July 12.

“We recently published an evaluation of the first eight years of the program and found that its benefits accrue to the community as well as to the artists,” Rapson said. “Awardees lives have been improved and careers have been boosted, and those artists also reinvigorate the arts community and the community at large.”

The Kresge Foundation recently awarded funding for program years 11 and 12 to Kresge Arts in Detroit, ensuring Kresge Eminent Artist Awards, Kresge Artist Fellowships, and Gilda Awards through 2020. Application information for the 2019 Kresge Artist Fellowships in Literary Arts and Visual Arts will be available in fall 2018.

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