News / Press Releases

Artist Trust Announces Eight Finalists for the 2012 Arts Innovator Award

For Immediate Release:

Artist Trust is excited to announce the eight finalists to be moved into the final judging process for the 2012 Arts Innovator Award. Artist Trust’s Arts Innovator Awards support Washington State generative artists of any discipline who are originating new work, experimenting with new ideas, taking risks and pushing the boundaries in their field. At $25,000 each, these exceptional awards are the largest available to individual artists statewide.

This year the open application process received 136 applications from artists across the State. Four panels consisting of artists and arts professionals selected the finalists from four discipline categories of Literary, Media, Performing and Visual Arts. 

The eight finalists:

Debra Di Blasi is a multi-genre, multimedia writer. She has been favorably reviewed in The New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Review of Contemporary Fiction, and elsewhere.

Mandy Greer creates theatricalized spaces about desire and longing. She is a visual artist working in installation, mixed-media, fiber, public art, community-based process-oriented performance, site-integrated eco-installation, film and photography. 

Dayna Hanson is an experimental stage artist, filmmaker and 2006 Guggenheim Fellow in choreography. She was co-artistic director of Seattle-based dance theater company 33 Fainting Spells and has also written short fiction.

John Olson is a poet and novelist. He has published nine collections of poetry and two novels. Awards include The Stranger’s “Genius Award.”

Paul Rucker is an interdisciplinary artist who finds inventive ways to integrate live performance, sound, original compositions, and visual art. The music he creates on cello involves extended technique, prepared cello and electronics.

Rodrigo Valenzuela uses video and photography to capture and articulate images. Abstract and minimal, Valenzuela’s work exploits the value of the gesture over elaborate production.

Brent Watanabe explores how drawn images can dynamically co-exist with video and audio. Watanabe works primarily in video, animation, and computer controlled installations.

Dan Webb works in a variety of materials including wood, limestone and bronze. He has won numerous awards including a Pollock-Krasner award and the Betty Bowen Award.

Congratulations and best of luck to these eight finalists! The Arts Innovator Award recipients will be announced on October 3, 2012.

The Arts Innovator Award is made possible through a gift from The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation, created in August 2009 to inspire and educate the public regarding all forms of art, and to provide support to artists and arts organizations.

Join us for our 2012 Awards Party at the Experience Music Project on November 1 from 6:30–8:30pm! This annual event honors the 2012 recipients of our Arts Innovator Award, Twining Humber Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, Fellowship, Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) and Conductive Garboil Grant.

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Artist Trust has invested over $9 million in Washington State artists since its founding. In 2012, Artist Trust will award a grand total of $270,000 to 82 artists through five grant programs. Artist Trust also provides a comprehensive suite of career training, professional development resources and counseling to help artists achieve their career goals.

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