Up to 5 this year the 2015 Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts
are Ben Buswell
, MK Guth
, Tom Prochaska and Samantha Wall of Portland, and Jack Ryan of Eugene. Congrats to all.
Parsing it out it still seems like the awards favor:
those academically affiliated locally as teacher or graduates at Oregon art schools
those who foreground "effortful" craft, even if the work is conceptual (avoiding technological and experiential work or which is purely conceptual)
This is interesting because there were only 172 applicants. I suspect/know many feel like the above characteristics are dis-inviting them. I don't think that is what the Ford Foundation wants but awards always lead to such grousing. I point this out simply because it is a growing sentiment (accurate or not).
On the plus side it seems like a better mix of younger and older midcarreer artists who work in a variety of media... though still a little slanted toward traditional studio arts like painting, drawing and sculpture. I like the fact that many of the artists have not fully gelled (it is best to help those on the way up), yet combined with the inclusion of Prochaska and Guth as artists with long traditions here as academicians/fixtures. Still, all have regional teachers cred or came through area schools. Regional art school academics is something the Hallie Ford Foundation does foreground and it is perfectly fine to foreground it as awards need some sort of defining characteristics.
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