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Our own Steve Murray, noted playwright, wins Tanne Foundation award for artistic achievement

Playwright and critic Steve Murray has just been awarded a 2010 Tanne Foundation Arts Award. Murray has written about film and theater for ArtsCriticATL since its launch last year. (Click here to see Murray’s reviews and articles.)

The 2010 awards total $35,600 and recognize artistic achievement. Now in its 12th year, the foundation’s mission is to “underscore the importance of supporting individual artists with unrestricted funding.” Four awards were given this year, three to individual artists and one to an artist-led organization.

Founded by performance artist Joan Gale and named after her one-woman show “Of Tanne,” the Tanne Foundation was created to “enrich the artistic experience and broaden horizons for artists and audiences. The foundation’s primary interest is in the support of individual artists. Led by a board comprised of a majority of artists, the foundation is guided by the philosophy that in the creation of art, however unrecognized or obscure the voice, the sound may be extraordinary and it is vital that it be heard. Since its inception the foundation has made awards to 58 artists and nine organizations in recognition of outstanding achievements in a variety of fields in the visual and performing arts, including performance art, painting, poetry, music, acting and dance. Nominations for awards are made by the trustees of the Tanne Foundation.”

And the 2010 winners:

  • Steve Murray (top photo), now living in Macon, Georgia, is a playwright. His plays, including “Hungry to Bed,” “Rescue & Recovery,” “Mileage” and “This Passion Thing,” have been produced nationally. His work has been commissioned by Actor’s Express in Atlanta and the Portland Center Stage in Oregon. He was an award-winning film, theater and book critic and reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and continues to contribute to the arts website His plays touch on the elusive nature of truth, the potential of everyday people for great kindness and unthinking cruelty, and the crazy things people sometimes do for love. However, his plays are written, he says, “always with humor, because that’s what keeps us human.”
  • Patrick Earl Hammie of Champaign, Illinois, is a painter. He has developed a body of figurative work based on the images of the male body as a metaphor for social and political concerns such as identity, gender and race. His paintings explore the tension between power and vulnerability and examine how male artists have historically represented themselves and the nude. Hammie studied art at South Carolina’s Coker College and at the University of Connecticut. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout the U.S. He recently joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Kanarinka of Boston is an artist and educator. Her art practice is interdisciplinary and is often distributed across various sites, physical and virtual. A single project might take place online, in the street and in a gallery and involve multiple audiences participating in different ways for different reasons. Many of Kanarinka’s projects are collaboratively authored. Her artwork as been exhibited at the ICA Boston, Eyebeam in New York City, MASSMoCA and the Western Front in Vancouver. Kanarinka, a.k.a. Catherine D’Ignzaio, is codirector of the experimental curatorial group iKatun and a founder of the Institute for Infinitely Small Things. She now teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Digital Media Graduate Program.
  • Mobius, Inc. of Boston is recognized as one of the seminal alternative artist-run organizations in the United States. It produces and presents performance art, video, sound art, dance, installation and multimedia works by the Mobius Artists Group (photo below), their collaborators and guest artists. Negotiating the space between creative people, between creative people and the general public, between art and public space, and among artistic media have been the basis of Mobius’ artistic investigations since it was founded in 1977. The artists have presented their work through the United States and at venues and festivals in Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. Joan Gale’s “Of Tanne” premiered at Mobius in 1990.

Despite a New England focus, the Tanne Foundation awards go-to artists from many disciplines and across the country, with Atlantans prominent on the list, including actor and director Tim McDonough in 1999 (he played King Lear at Georgia Shakespeare this summer) and Syncronicity Performance Group in 2000. Three cheers for Steve Murray!