Press Release

April 17, 2019

The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Arts Awards presented by Oolite Arts, offer a share of $500,000 to local artists

2019 Applications open as first-year winners of The Ellies launch projects locally and across the country

MIAMI BEACH (April 17, 2019) – Starting today, Miami-Dade’s visual artists and art teachers can apply for a share of $500,000 to create projects that elevate their careers.

Presented by Oolite Arts, The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Arts Awards, are one of the city’s most significant funding opportunities for the artists who make the city the booming cultural destination it is today.

Now in its second year, the Ellies are open to all in three categories. The program provides grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 for new works, and $5,000 travel grants for K-12 art teachers. The application, available online now at, is due at 6 p.m. on May 20, 2019.

In addition, one eminent artist will receive the Michael Richards Award, an unrestricted $75,000 award along with a commission from Oolite Arts in collaboration with The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, to be shown at the museum. Edouard Duval-Carrie, noted artist and Oolite Arts alumnus, was the inaugural recipient.

Information on the categories is detailed below.

“Over the past decade, our artists have built this city’s reputation as a nationally recognized cultural capital. The first year winners of The Ellies demonstrate why,” said Dennis Scholl, CEO of Oolite Arts. “We hope The Ellies provide them with the resources to significantly advance their work and elevate their artistic practice.”

In 2018, the first year of the Ellies, Oolite Arts awarded funding to a diverse group of 44 visual artists and art teachers, working across a range of mediums and addressing themes from the environment to immigration and more.

This spring, several recipients are launching their projects, including the following:

  • Artist and curator GeoVanna Gonzalez has created Supplement Projects, an exhibition space in her own home that expands the idea of how artists can create spaces for each other to curate and show their work. The current exhibit, “The Body as a Centerpiece,” focuses on ideas of domesticity.
  • Two artists, Gonzalo Fuenmayor and Nicolas Lobo, are using support from The Ellies to launch significant exhibitions in cities across the country. Fuenmayor will present his large-scale charcoal drawings at Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco, and Lobo will create an immersive experience at Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
  • In May, 2019, photographer Johanne Rahaman, who was initially drawn to the medium at an Oolite Arts class, launches an exhibition of her series “Water Rights,” broadcast from boats off Miami Beach.
  • This summer, Bo Droga will turn the pillars beneath the Metrorail into a series of playful domino pieces as he completes “Concrete Landscapes Miami.”

The Ellies are named in honor of Oolite Arts’ founder Ellie Schneiderman, a visionary who, more than three decades ago, acquired several abandoned storefronts along Lincoln Road, foreseeing it as an ideal location for artist studios. Her vision: to create a place “to help artists help themselves.”

Those storefronts grew into what was then called ArtCenter/South Florida, which is credited for being a catalyst in the rebirth of Lincoln Road and South Beach. Earlier this year, the organization changed its name to Oolite Arts to better reflect its local roots and mission.

The Ellies’ three categories are:

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. Oolite Arts is looking for bold ideas that speak to our community and our times. These awards are open to all Miami-Dade County artists.

The Ellies Teacher Travel Grants provide 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 they can take back to their students, these grants will help create the audiences that our museums and arts organizations need to thrive.

Applications for the Ellies Creator Awards and the Ellies Teacher Travel Grants, available online at, will be accepted from Wednesday, April 17 through 6 p.m. Monday, May 20, 2019.

Information sessions will be held at:

  • 6 p.m. April 24 at Oolite Arts, 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.
  • 6 p.m. May 15 at Simply Good Miami, 212 NW 73rd St., Miami.

The Michael Richards Award 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 a commission from Oolite Arts in collaboration with The Bass to create a work to be exhibited at the museum. Candidates are nominated and selected by a jury of national and local curators and arts experts.

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

Ellies Awards recipients will be announced in the fall of 2019 at a special reception.


Established in 1984, Oolite Arts 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


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