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Artist/educator Kevin Cole and MOCA GA founder Annette Cone-Skelton will receive the 2019 Nexus Award from the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. The award acknowledges individuals, groups or organizations that have made significant contributions to contemporary art and celebrates local leaders who make Atlanta a vibrant arts community.

Artist/educator Kevin Cole (Photo by Tom Meyer)

The name of the award comes from the Contemporary’s 1973 beginnings as a grassroots artists’ cooperative. In the years since, it has become one of the Southeast’s leading contemporary art centers.

Both recipients, says Contemporary executive director Veronica Kessenich, have been “consistently nominated in our heart of hearts. It just seemed right to honor them this year.”

Cole’s work is in many public and private collections in metro Atlanta as well as Arkansas, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., among other U.S. cities. “His studio productivity, his commitment to nurturing the development of young artists as well as collectors, and his overall involvement in the creative life of the community place him among the most artistically productive individuals I have ever encountered,” says 2016 Nexus winner Larry Walker, professor emeritus and former director of art and design at Georgia State University.

MOCA GA’s Annette Cone-Skelton (Photo by Kim Link)

Cone-Skelton founded MOCA GA in 2000 to highlight, exhibit and acquire the work of Georgia artists. “Her unique skills — combined with her talent as an artist — are evidenced in her abilities as an arts administrator, fundraiser, and curator of exhibitions and programming,” says longtime Atlanta photographer Lucinda Bunnen, the 2013 Nexus winner.

Cone-Skelton conceived MOCA GA’s annual Working Artist Project, which supports established visual artists living in metro Atlanta and is now in its 12th year. It “provides unparalleled support for individual artists,” Bunnen says.

A list of Working Artist Project alumni includes such familiar names as Maria Artemis, Krista Clark, Craig Drennen, Jiha Moon, Masud Olufani, Fahamu Pecou, Lauri Stallings, Gregor Turk and Xie Caomin.

Public recognition of Cole and Cone-Skelton begins August 24 in conjunction with the Contemporary’s annual fundraising Art Party. The Nexus Award ceremony is on October 3.

Previous Nexus recipients include Kenny Blank of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival in 2018; MailChimp in 2017; Walker in 2016; High curator Michael Rooks in 2015; Whitespace gallerist Susan Bridges in 2014; Bunnen in 2013; Lisa Cremin of the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund in 2012; Flux Projects’ Louis Corrigan in 2011; and in 2010, the award’s inaugural year, Spelman College’s Andrea Barnwell Brownlee and writer, critic, poet and ARTS ATL contributor Jerry Cullum.

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