AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Arts Commission has announced the recipients of the 2012 Artists’ Fellowship Awards — one of the nation’s highest awards for individual artists made by a state arts agency. The four recipients will each receive a $13,000 grant.
This year’s four fellows are Allen Lowe of South Portland (performing/media arts), Claire Guyton of Lewiston (literary arts), Morrigan McCarthy of Portland (visual arts) and Richard Stanley of Southwest Harbor (traditional arts).
”All of the recipients are most deserving and representative of the quality of the arts in Maine,” Maine Arts Commission Acting Director Darrell Bulmer stated in a recent news release. “These awards provide the artists with much welcomed public recognition while allowing them more time to explore their artistic endeavors.”
The fellowships reward artistic excellence, advance the careers of Maine artists and promote public awareness regarding the eminence of the creative sector in Maine. The awards are made on the sole basis of artistic excellence. Each year four Fellows are selected by expert panelists who reside outside of Maine. This year, about 200 applications were received and one recipient was chosen for each of the following categories: performing/media arts, literary arts, visual arts and traditional arts.
Allen Lowe of South Portland is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2012 Media and Performing Arts Fellow. He is a composer, musician, author and music historian. He plays saxophone and guitar, and has recorded with some of the major figures in Jazz, including: Julius Hemphill, Marc Ribot, Roswell Rudd, Don Byron, Doc Cheatham, and David Murray among others. He has also produced a series of historical projects on American Popular Song, Jazz, and the Blues.
“I have an ambivalent attitude toward tradition because a lot of people in the jazz world have used it as a weapon to slow the progress of the music or to work a specific aesthetic and political agenda,” said Lowe. “On the other hand, a lack of historical awareness, which I see in local audiences, is just as problematic — it tends to lead to musical in-breeding, to the exclusion of those whose work is not immediately accessible. I can and have functioned without one, but if I had one hope for my future in Maine it would be, quite simply, for an audience.”
Claire Guyton of Lewiston is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2012 Literary Arts Fellow. She is a freelance writer and editor. She serves as the co-editor of “The Writing Life” section of Hunger Mountain literary journal, where she started and now anchors “Another Loose Sally,” a blog on writers and writing; introduced journal contributor interviews that she produces as a regular feature; and edits and writes other articles and essays.
“I work full-time as a short story writer and as an editor and regular contributor at the literary journal Hunger Mountain,” said Guyton. “But it’s been almost a year since anyone has actually paid me for any of that work.
This grant came along literally the same week I was frantically reading and re-reading the (very few) want ads and wondering what part-time job I might be able to pick up. As the days pass and I actually begin to believe I’ve been given this astonishing gift of support, I feel mainly three things: gratitude, validation, and the freedom to put away the want ads and do my job.”
Morrigan McCarthy of Portland is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2012 Visual Arts Fellow. She is a documentarian, writer and multimedia producer specializing in long-term projects. She is a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine where she studied photography and audio production. She also holds a BA from Connecticut College in English Literature. She was selected to attend the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2007 where she won an award for outstanding work. McCarthy is a firm believer in the power of storytelling through art and her work has been seen in publications as diverse as The New York Times, Broadway World, Salt Magazine and Port City Life.
“I’m thrilled and honored to have been selected as the Maine Arts Commission 2012 Visual Fellow. Maine has an incredible community of artists and I am constantly inspired by my friends and peers who live and produce work in this ever-changing and awe-inspiring landscape. This award will afford me the ability to delve deeper into my current project and take more time to understand and photograph the unique stories of the people I meet along the journey. I offer a huge thank you to the Maine Arts Commission and to my friends, family, mentors and teachers for all their love and support. Without them, I would never have the courage to create.”
Richard Stanley of Southwest Harbor is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2012 Traditional Arts Fellow. He is a builder of wooden boats who learned his skills from his father Ralph W. Stanley, who was the 1999 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. This is the nation’s highest form of recognition for folk and traditional artists. Richard worked for his father and eventually took over the business in 2009. He is now teaching his own apprentice and together they are working on a new 19’ Friendship-Sloop influenced open sailboat.
“I’m continuing a family tradition begun by my ancestors and lived by my father Ralph Stanley. I build a strong, sturdy, seaworthy, sea kindly, beautiful traditional wooden boat … they are beautiful to look at on land or in the water, versatile and comfortable to use.
“During my time in my father’s shop, I learned from working on lots of different boats that were built by lots of different builders: Wilbur Morse, Charles Morse, Bobby Rich, Ronald Rich, Nevins, Herreshoff, Bob Direktor, Raymond Bunker, Hinckley and Farnham Butler, as well as my father. I learned how they did things — how they put things together, what worked and what didn’t. From each job, I’d incorporate what I learned into my new work. Even sanding bottoms you get a sense of different hull shapes: you can see what works and doesn’t, what looks good and what doesn’t.”
For a comprehensive list at all of this year’s individual artist grantees, visit MaineArts.com.