October 24, 2018
Oolite Arts announces first winners of The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Arts Awards
Forty-four artists and teachers receive close to $500,000 to bring ideas to life.
MIAMI BEACH (Oct. 24, 2018) – With ideas for ambitious public art, sculpture and film projects, 44 of Miami’s brightest visual artists and art teachers received an Ellie Award tonight to bring to life a significant project.
Among them is Edouard Duval-Carrie, the first recipient of the Michael Richards Award, created to honor an eminent Miami-Dade artist for achieving the highest level of professional distinction. He will receive a no-strings-attached award of $75,000, and a commission by ArtCenter for a work to be exhibited at The Bass.
Oolite Arts created The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Arts Awards, to celebrate and elevate the careers of Miami’s visual artists. Selected from more than 500 submissions, the winners will share $491,000.
“Miami’s artists shine brightly tonight,” said Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of ArtCenter. “Each of these winners demonstrates how far our visual arts community has come – and seeds the possibilities for the exciting growth we can see in the future.”
The awards, presented at a celebration at The Bass, are named for ArtCenter founder Ellie Schneiderman, who had the foresight to turn empty storefronts on Lincoln Road into artist studios. Today, ArtCenter is one of the largest artist support organizations in Miami, with a recent expansion of its programming to include The Ellies, a Cinematic Arts Residency, the Art Films series, the lecture series Talks in partnership with Locust Projects and more.
The Ellies are bestowed in three categories: the Creator Award, which offers project grants to realize a significant visual arts project; Teacher Travel Grants, which enable art teachers to have an art experience in another city or country that they can use to enrich the classroom experience; and the Michael Richards Award, which honors one of the city’s eminent artists.
Creator Awards: Thirty-eight grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000
The 38 winners of the Creator Awards include emerging artists such as Julie Fliegenspan and Michelle Lisa Polissaint, and some of the city’s most recognized, including Dara Friedman, Nicolas Lobo, Adler Guerrier and Pepe Mar.
- The projects tackle some of society’s most pressing issues, from commemorating the lives of victims of police shootings and addressing environmental challenges, to the more playful, including transforming the columns beneath the Metrorail into dominoes.
- Many projects are deeply rooted in Miami, including MiamiLith by noted street artist Marcus Blake, which will turn pieces of concrete from the demolished Liberty Square housing project into brightly-painted megalith sculptures around Liberty City.
- Miami filmmakers, who have been making waves nationally with their work, will receive funding for projects including a documentary on the impact of the arrival of a group of gay men during the 1980 Mariel Boat Lift, and a Claymation series based on conversations with a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who loves bingo, gambling and Chinese buffets.
“Our founder Ellie Schneiderman, for whom The Ellies are named, felt that ArtCenter’s mission was to help artists help themselves. We’re delighted that the Creator Awards will continue to fulfill that dream,” said Kim Kovel, Board Chair for ArtCenter.
The complete list of winners is below.
Michael Richards Award
Edouard Duval-Carrie received this year’s Michael Richards Award. This award was created in tribute to Michael Richards (1963–2001), an incisive, provocative and poetic artist whose body of work primarily addresses racial inequity and social injustice. An ArtCenter alum, Richards passed away tragically in his art studio in the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The award of $75,000 celebrates a Miami-Dade artist who has created a recognized body of high-quality works, and who is achieving the highest levels of professional distinction in the visual arts through their practice. The award will support this practice over a two-year period, including a commission to create a work of art to be exhibited at The Bass.
Duval-Carrie, who was chosen by a jury of national and local artists and curators, is a Haitian-American sculptor and painter who creates works that speaks to the complexities of the Caribbean and its diaspora. Through his practice, he has worked to promote critical and artistic initiatives within Miami’s visual arts community, and has had solo exhibitions at the Perez Art Museum Miami, MOCA North Miami and in Santiago, Chile, Madrid, Dakar in other cities internationally.
Teacher Travel Grants: Five awards of $5,000
Thanks to these travel grants, five Miami-Dade K-12 teachers will receive $5,000 each to travel around the world to have artistic experiences they can bring back to their classroom and help cultivate tomorrow’s visual arts aficionados.
Originally designated for three teachers, ArtCenter expanded this category to five winners this year because of the quality of the submissions.
Teachers will travel throughout the U.S. to build a curriculum around American women artists, study the art of mosaics in Spain, learn the historical craft of boatbuilding in Maine, and more.
The Ellies Creator Award Winners
Arrow will reimagine abstract cinema classics inspired by Oskar Fischinger’s “An Optical Poem” and others for a multifaceted audiovisual presentation.
“Transnaturism” will be an installation with choreography based on the Transhumanism movement, which looks at the cyclic disconnection between people, the environment and spirituality.
“MiamiLith” will take slabs of concrete from the demolition of the old Liberty Square housing complex, and have them painted by local artists and erected as megaliths in open spaces around Liberty City. The community will have the opportunity to enter these lots, walk around, and enjoy these eye-catching structures.
“The Gay Men of Mariel” is a documentary film that examines the cultural, societal and historical impact of the arrival of a group of gay men during the Mariel Boat Lift.
“Levels and Bosses” is a fine art video game that deconstructs the binaries and hierarchies pervasive throughout not only game design, but also our world. Subverting traditional boundaries between the environment and the individual, antagonist and protagonist, abstraction and representation, “Levels and Bosses” offers new models for imagining the future.
Thom Wheeler Castillo
“Mangroove” will explore the sounds of estuaries along Miami’s shoreline, embedding sculptural mics in the mangroves to enhance the experience of the spaces between land and water.
Lou Anne Colodny
“Consumption Personified” is a book about one of Miami’s preeminent photographers, Rafael Salazar, and his compulsion to document and live with his personal consumption. Known primarily for his landscape photos reminiscent of David Hockney, and for his documentation of the Miami art scene, Salazar has been quietly creating a rarely seen immersive art environment in Hialeah.
“Vivarium Meconium Laboratory” will encompass a lab and a series of large-scale paintings made with watercolor paper and butterfly meconium, which is secreted after a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.
“This is Little Haiti” is a multimedia exploration of the people, history and culture of Little Haiti, which is both the cultural capital of the Haitian diaspora and one of Miami’s fastest gentrifying neighborhoods. Through documentary film and a transmedia website, the project aims to investigate and preserve the neighborhood’s cultural legacy.
“Earthbound Objects” is both a video installation and a quiet narrative film that simultaneously explores the story of the man who holds the Guinness World Record for the most lightning strikes, and themes of existential loneliness.
“ALABAMALAND” is a feature-length documentary that is an ongoing exploration of African-American land ownership in the rural South. The film examines three black women’s relationships to their family’s 688-acre Alabama farm – a place that has long provided them with solace, free from the discrimination and limitations they face in the outside world.
“Concrete Landscapes Miami” aims to enhance the concrete pylons that support Miami-Dade’s Metrorail by using the method of “trompe l’oeil” to transform them into a playful and thought-provoking installation of dominoes game pieces.
Elman is creating a series of large-scale portraits of both African-American icons and local residents who frequented the Historic Hampton House in Brownsville in the 1950s and 60s during segregation. Being created in partnership with the Hampton House, these portraits will be donated to the historic site and will hang throughout the building.
“Balalaika” is a slightly larger-than-life-size, fully-detailed paper airplane based on the Russian MiG-21 fighter jet. Made entirely from paper and glue here in Miami, there are currently well over 320,000 individual components to this sculpture.
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Fliegenspan will create an experimental claymation documentary based on audio clippings from her conversations with Lily Gaier, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who loves bingo, gambling and Chinese buffets. The project will reflect the artist’s own Jewish heritage, recognizing that she is from the last generation who will have direct contact with living survivors of the Holocaust.
“FIGHT” aims to examine patterns of confrontation, argument and negotiation through a process of theater games, Aikido, debate workshops and structural film techniques to culminate in a series of 30-second public service announcements.
Fuenmayor will create a series of large-scale charcoal drawings exploring gesture and erasure, and the choreographed ballet between the opposing actions of adding charcoal and then erasing it.
Rosa Naday Garmendia
“Rituals of Commemoration” is a public art work created to ensure that the names of the victims of police misconduct are not forgotten. Inspired by the death of Michael Brown in 2014, the commemoration includes 400 inscribed bricks that honor victims of police violence across the United States since 1979.
Supplement Projects is an alternative, backyard space in Little Haiti motivated by the idea that every city and county’s infrastructure already has the spaces and people necessary to create and share art in provocatively new and challenging ways – they just need to be activated. The programming will encourage other curators and artists to propose projects for the space, reinforcing and adding to the community in Miami-Dade.
Guerrier will create a film that will depict spaces identified with immigrant groups, and explore how people shape them culturally and politically. This examination will offer images of grace and dignity to counter the dominant framing that depicts immigrant spaces as dirty and dangerous.
Lobo will create a modeling salon and wellness center with a rotating menu of experiences based on the human senses. During the therapeutic sessions, participants will be scanned to create a database of 3D forms that will be used to develop sculptures that address wellness and self-care.
Mar will use funding toward his first, major museum solo exhibition at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh. Informed by his 14-year collage practice, the museum solo show will incorporate artifacts, gay ephemera and Mar’s personal archive mining the identity of queer spaces.
Mayer will create a mobile artist residency that also doubles as a survivalist shelter, focusing on sustainability and off-the-grid living inspired by prepper culture. The solar-powered residency will have a rooftop garden, be outfitted with a steel shutter system for times of extreme weather, and will attach to a towing vehicle in order to seek safer ground in times of natural or man-made catastrophes.
“Assembly” aims to re-contextualize anti-democratic design and transform it into public art that will function as an incubator for public dissent. Appropriating a design for protest deterrents used in Mexico City, the work will act as a site for protest for several weeks with demonstrations organized by local artists and activists, inverting the original intent of the structure.
Michelle Lisa Polissaint
“Moonshine Moanin’” is an exploration of the artist’s queer identity as it relates to being raised in the South. The work will consist of public performances inviting viewers to watch the artist perform the personas of female black queer jazz singers from the 1920s and 30s such as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, who spoke openly and unapologetically about their queerness in their work.
“Water Rights” is a moving installation that examines the African Diaspora’s relationship to water, from the Middle Passage, through segregation, to the present, as black bodies are policed at beaches and swimming pools, and safe drinking water is still not democratized. The exhibition is a segment of the project BlackFlorida, the ongoing photographic archive of black rural and urban spaces of Florida.
“Retra-Tablos” is an outreach program working with immigrant children and ancient textile art. By collecting the cultural narratives of these children and bringing value to textile arts traditions, the program aims to reclaim the history and memory of these oppressed voices.
“Cuban Architects at Home and in Exile: The Modernist Generation,” produced in collaboration with University of Miami’s School of Architecture, is an online and traveling exhibition focusing on Modernist architects – the so-called Generación de los Cincuenta, active from the late 1930s until 1959 – and extolling the national and international importance of their architecture and urban works.
“Tarnished Nature, Erasable Art” is a series of large-scale, interactive and erasable works about the impermanence of our ecosystems, as they are affected by pollution and global warming. They will be accompanied by a participatory performance where the public is invited to interact with the artworks by erasing parts of the works and redrawing them.
“Alusogbe” is a project examining Colonial era and contemporary ethnobotany as material for understanding the migrations of both humans and plants during the Atlantic Colonial slave era. It will culminate with a public exhibition of photographs, works on paper, film and an artist book.
Sheldon’s project is part of For Freedoms’ 50 State Initiative, “the largest creative collaboration in U.S. history.” Sheldon created a billboard on I-95 and simultaneous social media campaign to foster conversation about reasonable gun safety policy in the run-up to the November midterm elections.
Simmons will celebrate Miami’s unique neighborhoods, many of which are being gentrified, by salvaging sections of buildings slated for demolition and transforming them into pieces of art. He hopes his work, which blurs the lines between painting, wall relief and sculptural installation, will give future inhabitants of the neighborhood a glimpse into its past.
“Provisional Obstruction” is a series of collaborative works with artist Misael Soto, which in Miami will consist of three, site-specific installations of temporary structures – like scaffolding and images – on the facades of specific arts organizations, to inquire how conversations birthed from impermanence can lead towards shared ideas of stability in various spaces and communities.
“NOTES TO MY YOUNGER SELF/Women’s Photo Documentary exhibit” captures the diverse images and personal handwritten narratives of bold and innovative women of Miami-Dade County. Both the images and narratives highlight the journey of being a woman, and are crafted to provide practical advice to young emerging women leaders in Miami-Dade.
Water Radio is a series of participatory performances during kayak outings along Miami’s canals, where underwater microphones and environmental sensors transmit sound art. Paddlers will explore this hidden ecology as an environmental habitat, transportation alternative and recreational space.
“Rest Ashore” is a multichannel installation that re-examines the experience of migration and how it relates to the current global refugee crisis. Using the Cuban balsero crisis as a starting point, the exhibition examines how these crises are documented in mass media, while creating a new visual vernacular honoring those who died at sea.
Virgin will invite distinguished writers and artists to collaborate on a series of five artist books on pressing community issues such as sea level rise, homelessness, gun violence and public education.
Teacher Travel Grants
Juana Meneses, New World School of the Arts
Meneses will travel to Berlin to further develop her skills in publishing art books and zines by working with Franziska Brandt and Moritz Grünke of We Make It, and Herbarium Riso, a Risograph-based publishing project.
Susan Feliciano, Robert Morgan Education Center High School
Feliciano will travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico, New York City and Washington, D.C. to research and develop an art curricula for K-12 students entitled American Women Artists. This set of lesson plans will focus on the lives and works of five American female artists and the contributions they made in shaping the history of art.
Lourdes Fuller, Shenandoah Middle School
Fuller will go to Spain to study mosaics, a simple yet intricate ancient art form that teaches patience and harmony. Then she will work with students to create mosaic projects that can help students understand cooperation and build community.
Justin Long, New World School of the Arts
Long will attend the Wooden Boat Building School in Maine, where he will experiment with new techniques in creating three-dimensional forms that he can pass on to the students in his sculpture class.
Mirena Suarez, Ada Merritt K-8
Suarez will go to Italy to learn about the Renaissance and the grand masters of the art world through the “Italy Through Art” study abroad program at Florida International University.
ABOUT ARTCENTER/SOUTH FLORIDA
Established in 1984, Oolite Arts is a nonprofit that advances the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts and culture to an audience of approximately 80,000 people per year. Oolite Arts creates opportunities for experimentation and encourages the critical exchange of ideas through residencies, exhibitions, public programs, education and outreach. The residency programs include a Studio Residency Program, an International Exchange Program, a PRINTshop Residency Program, a Fellowship Program, a Cinematic Arts Residency and Art in Public Life Residency. Exhibitions and programs at Oolite Arts are made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; the State of Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Arts Council; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For more information, visit www.artcentersf.org
Marika Lynch, [email protected], 305-898-3595
Images available upon request