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Regional nonprofit arts organization South Arts has named nine visual artists from the South to receive State Fellowship awards of $5,000 each. Atlanta area artist Paul Stephen Benjamin is the 2018 State Fellow from Georgia.

The nine artists are now in consideration for the Southern Prize, which includes an additional $25,000 cash award and a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. The winner of the Southern Prize and a winner of the $10,000 finalist prize will be announced at a ceremony celebrating the State Fellows on April 16 in New Orleans.

The 2018 State Fellowship award recipients are:

·         Amy Pleasant, Birmingham, AL, painting;

·         Anastasia Samoylova, Miami Beach, FL, photography;

·         Paul Stephen Benjamin, Scottdale, GA, multidisciplinary;

·         Garrett Hansen, Lexington, KY, multidisciplinary;

·         Jeremiah Ariaz, Baton Rouge, LA, photography;

·         Dominic Lippillo, Starkville, MS, photography;

·         Meg Stein, Durham, NC, sculpture;

·         Kate Hooray Osmond, Charleston, SC, painting;

·         Vesna Pavlović, Nashville, TN, photography.

Now in its second year, the South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowship seeks to support artistic work being created in the American South. Last year’s state fellow was Masud Olufani of Atlanta. The inaugural prize was awarded to Florida’s state fellow, Noelle Mason, and the Finalist Prize was given to Mississippi’s fellow, Coulter Fussell.

Nearly 700 visual artists submitted work for consideration, and a panel of jurors reviewed each application with the sole criterion of artistic excellence to determine the nine State Fellows. A second panel of jurors is currently reviewing the State Fellows to determine the Southern Prize awardee and the Finalist.

The State Fellowship juror panel included Ade Omotosho with the Pérez Art Museum Miami; Jan Davidson, former director of the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC; Mark Scala, chief curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville; and Scott Stulen, director and president of Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK.

Visual artists living in South Arts’ nine-state region and producing crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media and multidisciplinary work were eligible to apply. The awards will be presented to the artists as unrestricted funds.

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