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Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium Announces James W. Ray Award Winners

For Immediate Release:

Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium Announces James W. Ray Award Winners
Three exceptional Washington State artists receive $80,000

The Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award and James W. Ray Venture Project Awards. The three 2016 James W. Ray Award recipients will be showcased in exhibitions funded by the Raynier Institute & Foundation at the Frye Art Museum.

The $50,000 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award, the largest cash grant available to Washington State artists, recognizes artists in all disciplines whose work demonstrates exceptional originality. Intended to advance the creative work of an outstanding individual artist, the 2016 recipient is Donald Byrd.

Donald Byrd
Byrd is a Seattle-based TONY nominated and Bessie Award winning choreographer. His career has been long and complex and his choreographic and theatrical interests are broad. Mr. Byrd has been referred to as a ‘citizen artist,’ a descriptive that aligns with his work at Spectrum Dance Theater - dance as an art form and as a social/civic instrument. He has traveled extensively, including Jerusalem and Bali.

The $15,000 James W. Ray Venture Project Awards support projects by artists in all disciplines whose work demonstrates exceptional originality. These awards support artistic excellence and the development of new ideas through individual and collaborative projects. The power of the award rests in the ability to have a transformative impact on the artists’ careers, and 2016’s winners are Juventino Aranda and Quenton Baker.

Juventino Aranda is a visual artist from Walla Walla where he works at the Walla Walla Foundry. He works in multiple mediums including painting, sculpture, and video. His work has been part of exhibits at Tacoma Art Museum, Out of Sight, the Center for Contemporary Art, and Terrain. His work will be on exhibit at Greg Kucera Gallery in January 2017.

With funding from the Ray Awards, Juventino will create five large-scale bronze castings of pictures wrapped in corrugated cardboard, renditions of the faux gold frames with mass-produced art that sat unhung in their original cardboard protectors in his childhood home. The inspiration for the project is those cheap old frames meant to be home décor. Through the replication of low-brow, Latino kitsch décor to a larger than life size and filling the frames with historically traditional crafts and decorative arts like black velvet paintings and embroidery from southern Mexico, Juventino intends to elevate the status of craft décor that is a familiar presence of beauty in the homes of many Latinos into high-art.

Quenton Baker is a Seattle-based poet and educator. His first full-length collection, “This Glittering Republic,” is forthcoming from Willow Books in 2017, and he has been published in Poetry Northwest, Apogee, and the James Franco Review and was a recipient of a 2015-2016 Made at Hugo House Fellowship.

With funding from the Ray Awards, Quenton will work on a collection of poems tentatively titled “Ballast” that uses the slave revolt aboard the brig Creole, the only large-scale successful revolt involving US-born enslaved people in American history, as a lens to consider how blackness exists within the white imagination. The collection uses a combination of erasure poems of pages from the Senate document detailing the Creole case and poems in invented forms to look at what some black writers and thinkers call “the long memory” or the “long utterance” of blackness.

In a joint statement on behalf of the Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium, Frye Art Museum Director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker and Artist Trust Executive Director Shannon Halberstadt said: “Washington State is rich in exceptional creative talent. Nevertheless, support for individual artists remains an urgent need. Artist Trust and the Frye Art Museum are honored to partner with the Raynier Institute & Foundation to recognize artists through the James W. Ray Awards.”

These awards are made possible by the generous support of the Raynier Institute & Foundation. The Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium received a five-year, $1.1 million grant to support exceptional artists living and working in Washington State. The program is currently in its third year.

ABOUT THE JAMES W. RAY AWARDS

Artists are nominated to be eligible for the James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award and James W. Ray Venture Project Awards. Nominations of artists representing a breadth of disciplines, art practices, and locations throughout Washington State were sought. Evaluation of applications and selection of recipients was performed by a multi-disciplinary panel of five arts professionals. Nominators and panelists were selected by Artist Trust and the Frye Art Museum.

2016 James W. Ray Award Panelists

Jill Barnes, Executive Director, Washington Center for the Performing Arts
Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Director, Frye Art Museum
Michelle Penalosa, Poet
Katy Evans, Assistant Executive Director, Engagement & Education, The Grand Cinema
Modou Dieng, Professor, Pacific Northwest College of Art / Curator, Worksound & NOW Portland Triennale

2016 James W. Ray Award Nominators

Donna Miscolta, Author
Amy Wheeler, Executive Director,Hedgebrook
Beth Barrett, Director of Programming, Seattle International Film Festival
Julia Fryett, Founder, AKTIONSART
Amy McBride, Administrator, City of Tacoma Arts Division
Ginger Ewing, Spokane Arts Commission
Valerie Curtis-Newton, Director, UW School of Drama
David Schmader, Creative Director, the Bureau of Fearless Ideas
Rosanna Sharpe, Executive Director,  Northwest African American Museum
Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, Director, the Longhouse at Evergreen State College

ABOUT ARTIST TRUST

Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Find out more at artisttrust.org.

ABOUT FRYE ART MUSEUM

Frye Art Museum supports and presents the work of contemporary artists from Seattle and around the globe as well as historical exhibitions celebrating the values of its Founding Collection. Admission to the Frye is always free. For more information, visit fryemuseum.org.

Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in Washington State artists since its founding in 1986, through grant programs and direct support. Artist Trust also provides a comprehensive suite of career training and professional development resources to help artists achieve their career goals.

Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Find out more at www.artisttrust.org.

Major supporters of Artist Trust include many individual donors along with: 4Culture, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Amazon, ArtsFund, ArtsWA, The Boeing Company, The Dale & Leslie Chihuly Foundation, The Klorfine Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Raynier Institute & Foundation, Seattle Art Fair, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Jon & Mary Shirley Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and Vulcan Inc.