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Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium Announces Recipients of the 2018 James W. Ray Awards

For Immediate Release:

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Brian McGuigan (he/him)

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December 10, 2018 – The Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium is proud to name writer Anastacia-Renee, of King County, as this year’s James W. Ray Distinguished Artist. The two James W. Ray Venture Project Award recipients are writer Casandra Lopez, of Whatcom County, and musician Antonio Gomez, of Pierce County. First presented in 2014, the James W. Ray Awards total $80,000 annually in direct funding to artists and are comprised of one $50,000 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award and two $15,000 James W. Ray Venture Project Awards. All award recipients will have the opportunity to present their work at the Frye Art Museum through funding made possible by the generous support of the Raynier Insitute & Foundation.

“My heart fills up with limitless gratitude when realizing I’ve been chosen [for this award],” said Anastacia-Renee, 2018 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Awardee. “Currently I am working on two manuscripts. This incredible grant will give me the opportunity to complete these projects. My attitude of gratitude deepens every day as I celebrate this gift and I hope that the new work I put out into the world will be a catalyst for other writers yelling out their voices into the universe.”

“In this final year of the James W. Ray Awards, we are grateful for the partnership of the Raynier Institute & Foundation to provide support for individual artists in our region over the last five years,” said Artist Trust CEO Shannon Halberstadt and Frye Art Museum Director/CEO Joseph Rosa on behalf of the Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium. “These awards represent a significant investment in artists’ projects and careers at a time when the need to support individual artists is critical.”

ANASTACIA-RENEE, 2018 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist
Anastacia-Renee is a multi-genre writer, interdisciplinary artist, and educator. She is the 2018-2019 Seattle Civic Poet and was the 2015-2017 poet-in-residence at Hugo House. Anastacia-Renee has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, Ragdale, and Mineral School. She is the author of five books: Forget It (Black Radish Books), (v.) (Gramma Press), 26, (Dancing Girl Press), Kiss Me Doll Face (Gramma Press), and Answer(Me) (Argus Press). Her writing has appeared in Ms. Magazine, The Fight and the Fiddle, Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, Sinister Wisdom: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution, and many more.

ANTONIO GOMEZ, 2018 James W. Ray Venture Project
Born in South Texas to a Chicano activist and an Italian American VISTA volunteer, Tony moved often growing up. Music and language became constant companions in decoding ever-changing cultural ecologies between South Texas, the Bay Area and Tucson. This trajectory formed his calling to develop cultural dialogue and empathy. Tony specializes in not belonging anywhere but making friends everywhere. Mestizaje – a mixed identity formed at the intersection of cultures – shapes his work as a musician, curator, educator and producer. Having studied on four continents, he plays Afro-Latin, Mediterranean, and Arabic percussion. Previously a K12 teacher, he has served as an educator and curriculum writer for public television and is now the Education Manager at Tacoma Arts Live. Being a working musician is indivisible from being educator, an arts administrator and a parent. The same heart that draws him to teach compels him to speak through the drum.

CASANDRA LOPEZ, 2018 James W. Ray Venture Project
Casandra Lopez is a Chicana and California Indian writer and teacher (Cahuilla/Tongva/Luiseño). Halfway through her MFA in fiction, she witnessed her brother’s murder, prompting her to begin writing poetry. Her poetry collection, Brother Bullet, is forthcoming from University of Arizona. She has received support from Tin House, Bread Loaf, Storyknife and Hedgebrook. As a multi-genre writer Casandra’s work explores the intersection of identity and diaspora as they relate to trauma and grief. Her memoir, A Few Notes on Grief, draws upon personal experience and research. This multi-genre project uses fragments to create a collage form that intends to speak to the ruptures that are often caused by trauma and is an attempt to map out a path toward healing. She co-founded the literary journal, As/Us: A Space for Writers of the World, and teaches on the Lummi reservation at Northwest Indian College.

About the James W. Ray Awards
The James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award of $50,000 is the largest cash grant available to Washington State artists. The award recognizes artists of all disciplines whose work demonstrates exceptional originality and is intended to advance the creative work of an outstanding individual artist. The two James W. Ray Venture Project Awards support projects by artists of all disciplines whose work demonstrates exceptional originality. A complete list of past James W. Ray Award recipients can be viewed on the Artist Trust website. Presentations of previous recipients, as well as the 2018 awardees, will continue through 2021 at the Frye Art Museum.

Administered from 2014-2018, the James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award and James W. Ray Venture Project Awards were awarded to artists representing a breadth of disciplines, art practices, and locations throughout Washington State. A multidisciplinary panel of five artists and arts professionals evaluated the applicants and selected the recipients. Nominators and panelists were chosen by Artist Trust and the Frye Art Museum.

2018 James W. Ray Nominators
Dana Arviso, Executive Director of Potlatch Fund
Betsey Brock, Executive Director of On the Boards
Julia Greenway, founder of Interstitial Gallery
Miguel Guillen, ArtsWA Program Manager
Melissa Huggins, Spokane Arts Director
Megan Jasper, CEO of Sub Pop Records
Christopher Paul Jordan, artist & arts organizer
Leilani Lewis, curator & arts leader
Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks
Jane Wong, poet & professor at Western Washington University

2018 James W. Ray Award Selection Panelists
Joe Rosa, Director/CEO of the Frye Art Museum
Byron Au Yong, composer & Assistant Professor at University of San Francisco
Laura Da’, poet
Tarik Elseewi, Assistant Professor at Whitman College
Emily Zimmerman, Director of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery

About the Raynier Institute & Foundation
Raynier Institute & Foundation, founded in 1994 by James Widener Ray, is a Private Foundation. Our mission is to fund individuals, organizations and causes of a charitable nature that will carry out projects and programs of high merit for the betterment of humanity.

About the Artist Trust | Frye Art Museum Consortium
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 awards are made possible by the generous support of the Raynier Institute & Foundation.

About Frye Art Museum
The 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.

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.