Press Release

April 11, 2018

Oolite Arts launches The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Art Awards

Up to $500,000 being awarded to the city’s visual artists in an initiative

open to all

MIAMI BEACH (April 11, 2018) – In an effort to celebrate and elevate the careers of Miami’s visual artists, Oolite Arts will provide up to $500,000 in grants annually under a new initiative announced today.

The Ellies, Miami’s visual arts awards, will be a significant funding opportunity for the city’s visual artists, providing them with the resources they need to do their best work. With The Ellies, one of the city’s eminent artists will receive an unrestricted, $75,000 award and a commission from ArtCenter in collaboration with The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, to be shown at the museum. Additionally, The Ellies will offer competitive grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 for new works, and $5,000 travel grants for K-12 art teachers, with an application deadline of 6 p.m. Thursday, May 24, 2018.

“This program is a game-changer for our visual artists and for the community,” said Dennis Scholl, ArtCenter’s president and CEO. “Over the past decade, Miami’s artists have steadily built an international reputation for themselves, and have changed the way people perceive our city. The Ellies will provide our artists with the resources they need to advance their work and elevate their artistic practice.”

The Ellies are named in honor of ArtCenter’s founder Ellie Schneiderman, a visionary who, more than three decades ago, acquired several abandoned storefronts along Lincoln Road, foreseeing it as ideal for artist studios. Those storefronts grew into ArtCenter, which is credited for being a catalyst in the rebirth of Lincoln Road and South Beach.

“Ellie Schneiderman always recognized the power of supporting artists in their work. This program lives up to Ellie’s mission for the ArtCenter, to ‘help artists help themselves,” said Kim Kovel, ArtCenter’s board chair.

The Ellies are open to all – and offered in three categories: the Michael Richards Award to support established artists; the Ellies Creator Awards to support working and emerging artists; and the Ellies Teacher Travel Grants, to enable art educators to enhance their classroom curriculum.

The Michael Richards Award – to be nominated and selected by a jury of national and local curators and arts experts – is designed to celebrate a Miami-Dade artist who has created a recognized body of original, high-quality works of art over a sustained period of time and who, through their practice, is achieving the highest levels of professional distinction in the visual arts. The award includes a “no strings attached” stipend of $75,000 over two years, and the opportunity to be commissioned by the ArtCenter in collaboration with The Bass, to create a work to be exhibited at the museum.

Michael Richards (1963–2001), to whom this award pays tribute, was an incisive, provocative, and poetic artist whose body of work primarily addresses racial inequity and social injustice. Richards passed away tragically in his art studio in the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. An ArtCenter alumnus, Richards spent winters there over the course of a three-year program from 1997-2000. Miami was a significant artistic home for him.

“We’re delighted to host The Ellies award celebration and collaborate on a commission – both of which will provide a platform to put our local artists in the spotlight,” said Silvia Karman Cubiñá, executive director and chief curator at The Bass.

Applications for the Ellies Creator Awards and the Ellies Teacher Travel Grants, available online at, will be accepted from Wednesday, April 18, 2018 through 6 p.m. Thursday, May 24, 2018.

The Ellies Creator Awards support working artists with grants of $2,500 to $25,000 to realize a significant visual arts project that will advance their careers. ArtCenter is looking for bold ideas that speak to our community and our times. These awards are open to all Miami-Dade artists. Preference will be given to artists who partner with museums, alternative spaces or other local nonprofit arts organizations to present these projects.

The Ellies Teacher Travel Grants provides three K-12 art teachers with $5,000 in funds for travel that will ultimately enrich their classroom curriculum. By encouraging teachers to explore art experiences that they can take back to their students, these grants will help to create the audiences that our museums and arts organizations need to thrive.

Recipients will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, at a special reception at The Bass.


Established in 1984, Oolite Arts is a non-profit 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, the ARTSail Residency & Research Program 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


Marika Lynch, [email protected], 305-898-3595
Images and video available upon request