Artist Trust’s 2017 Arts Innovator Award recipients are Valerie Curtis-Newton and Sheila Klein. Both artists will receive $25,000 in unrestricted funds. Funded by The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation, the Arts Innovator Awards provide support and recognition for Washington State artists of any discipline who are originating new work, experimenting with new ideas, taking risks, and pushing the boundaries in their respective fields.
A writer, director, educator, and generative artist Valerie Curtis-Newton is committed to finding new ways to represent the African-American experience. She is currently the Artistic Director for The Hansberry Project, a professional African-American theatre lab, and serves as the Head of Performance at the University of Washington’s School of Drama. As a producer, Valerie has forged unique institutional collaborations, commissioned forward-looking artists, and developed a ‘by any means necessary’ plan for getting the work of Black artists out into the world. As a director, Valerie has worked at venues as large as the Guthrie Theatre and as small church fellowship halls. Primarily known for her directing and producing, Valerie is making a career transition, moving towards writing immersive theatre, and becoming more of a generative artist. As a generative artist, her current interest is in African American artists in immersive work - an arena through which their stories are rarely told.
Sheila Klein, visual artist, straddles the worlds of art and architecture, using surprising combinations of materials to propose solutions to the homogenization of our environment. She has exhibited widely at museums and galleries including P.S.1 Institute for Art and Urban Studies in New York, and Memory and Lands of the 20th Century Florence, Italy. Sheila is also a well-known public artist, with outdoor works located in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and many other American cities. Locals to Seattle may recognize her eye-popping “Columnseum,” a playful redesign of highway columns located in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle, underneath the I-5. Klein currently lives in Bow, Washington, in the Skagit Valley.
Says recipient Sheila Klein: “Eternal hope fuels the artist, but there is nothing like concrete support to keep igniting the work. This recognition will invigorate all areas of my work. The grant allows me to develop work outside of civic, commercial, or institutional constraints.”
The 2017 finalists for the Arts Innovator Award were Humaira Abid, Wynne Greenwood, Rachel Kessler, Stacey Levine, Maja Petric, and Paul Rucker. Each finalist completed an interview with a selection panel. The panelists were arts professionals Amy McBride from the City of Tacoma, Linley Logan of the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, and Sharon Williams of the Central District Forum of Arts & Ideas, and past grant recipients Peter Mountford and Clyde Petersen.
Previous Arts Innovator Award recipients include musician Ahamefule J. Oluo, writer Elissa Washuta, visual artist Rodrigo Valenzuela, choreographer Dayna Hanson, and sculptor John Grade, among many others. A full list of former Arts Innovator Award recipients can be found here.
About The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation
The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation’s mission is to inspire and educate the public regarding all forms of art, and to provide support to artists and arts organizations. www.chihulyfoundation.org
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. 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. Find out more at www.artisttrust.org
About Artist Trust
Artist Trust is a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Since its founding in 1986, Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in individual artists through grant programs, and provides a comprehensive suite of professional development training and resources to help artists achieve their career goals. Learn more at artisttrust.org.