The rich artistic soil of Mississippi has cultivated some of the most outstanding and beloved artists of all time. The Mississippi Arts Commission is proud to support the efforts of artists across the state through our Artist Fellowship Grant. These highly competitive grants are open to artists of many different artistic disciplines to support professional development or the creation of new work.
Roy Adkins first began working as a professional photojournalist in 1996 while finishing his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Mississippi State. While his current focus is on fine art photography and portraits, Roy has also long worked in the fields of photojournalism, wedding photography, and commercial photography. His work has appeared in a great range of publications, from Time magazine to Jackson’s local alt-weekly. Roy was accepted to the Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild in 2009 for his mixed media work. He remains active in the local arts community, helping found the Jackson Arts Collective, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Greater Jackson Arts Council and the Jackson Arts and Music Foundation. Roy volunteers for Very Special Arts of Mississippi, and helped begin the “Art Buds” program to offer art classes to special needs children. Since 2006, Roy has shared ownership of the Light and Glass Studio with his wife, Jerri Sherer.
Artist Carolyn Busenlener graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a painting major. She studied further at the University of New Orleans and the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. Her oil paintings have developed in series; figurative, still life, nature and non-representational. Texture, gestural brush strokes and palette knife marks are important elements in the artist's work. Presently the artist is working in oil, acrylic, mixed media and monotypes. Formerly from New Orleans, Carolyn now has her studio and home in Pearlington, Mississippi. Over one hundred of her paintings, monoprints and drawings are owned by art collectors in the New Orleans area, on the Gulf Coast, and throughout the United States.
Grady Champion, "The Mississippi Bluesman," was raised on a small farm outside of Canton, MS and was the youngest of 28 children. He is currently playing approximately 180 shows a year as a blues entertainer. Grady's career hit the fast track when he won the 2010 International Blues Challenge. Grady Champion is continuing in his career to keep the blues alive in Mississippi and worldwide.
Kenneth William Davies
Ken Davies has worked lifelong as a composer, performer, conductor and teacher. His award-winning compositions range from vocal and instrumental music to electronic soundscape and he has become a familiar face at many new music festivals across the USA. His concert work has received yearly ASCAP awards since 2004. His Three Pieces for bass trombone and piano was the 2009 national prize winning composition at the Eastern Trombone Workshop Competition sponsored by the U.S. Army Band in Washington D.C. He was president of the Southeastern Composers' League from 2011-13. He has twice received the Mississippi Artist Fellowship in Composition (2006-07 and 2012-13). He holds masters' degrees in both composition (University of Colorado at Boulder) and trombone performance (Middle Tennessee State University at Murfreesboro).
Ken is available for commissions creating musical works for musical ensembles, filmmakers, dance groups and others seeking to bring new works to their audiences. He also offers workshops and master-classes in songwriting, music rights and publishing matters, and music technology.
Mississippi has been Paul Fayard's home since 1997. Born and raised in New Orleans, he studied at New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and the University of New Orleans before moving to Mississippi to earn his B.A., M.A., and M.F.A. at Mississippi College where he taught drawing and painting. Paul is also a clinical anaplastologist who sculpts and paints state of the art lifelike prosthetics.
About his work, Paul has said ""I strive to express to the viewer via the language of paint what the language of words so often cannot. My goal is to express myself with force by eliminating the extraneous, magnifying the essential, intensifying color and perspective and maximizing the undeniable psychological impact of shadow and light." Paul's artwork is included in many corporate and private collections including those of Roy Winston Wilkinson, Mississippi Chemical, Regions Bank and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. His work has been featured at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans, LA, the Mississippi Museum of Modern Art in Jackson, MS, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, MS, and the Alexandria Museum of Art in Alexandria, LA, among others. Paul's work can be seen at Fischer Galleries, Jackson, MS, the Attic Gallery in Vicksburg, MS and Carol Robinson Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Kyle Goddard was raised in the Greater Jackson Area and now calls Hattiesburg his home. He received a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Southern Mississippi. Kyle works as the gallery director of Oddfellows Gallery in Downtown Hattiesburg and is an active member in his Arts community. His paintings are mostly large white and black compositions which focus on the visual relationships and play of various shapes and edges. While his paintings are mostly nonrepresentational, he is a talented figure artist with a unique way of drawing the human form. His work is geometric, structural and can relate closely with architecture.
Mary Hardy’s work addresses issues of dualities of perception; presence versus absence, lost versus found, surface versus depth. Her imagery originates from memories; those once thought lost or buried that re-emerge, transform and initiate new revelations. Her earliest influences came from drawings done by her grandfather that always hung in her family’s home, as well as colorful patterned quilts made by her grandmother. She credits that early exposure to work created for their very personal needs, as making a lasting impression on her psyche and therefore her art. Hardy’s education includes a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of South Alabama, both in Art Education, and a very long list (which to date, continues to be added to) of workshops taken throughout the U.S. and Mexico. In 2007 Hardy retired as Instructor of Drawing and Painting at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where, in addition to her teaching load, she also held the position of Art Gallery Director for the Jackson County Campus. During her rewarding twenty-seven year teaching career she had the challenge of trying to balance a dual role of teacher and practicing studio artist. Now, in retirement, she is able to dedicate her focus to a full time studio schedule. In 2010 Hardy was appointed and currently serves as Curator for the Duckett Gallery at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center for Arts and Education. Hardy has received numerous awards for her personal artwork and teaching. Her work has been exhibited in solo museum and gallery shows. She has been included in prestigious invitational shows and group shows. Her work has been recognized with grants and numerous awards and is included in many noted public and private collections. Her work is currently represented by Carol Robinson Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana and The Attic Gallery, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Her work and additional information may be found on her website www.maryhardyart.com
Steven Wells Hicks
Steven Wells Hicks, a traditional Southern author, has published as both a novelist and essayist. His debut novel, a biracial love story entitled The Gleaner, was named a national quarter-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel competition, having bested over 4700 other entries vying for the same honor. His subsequent novels, The Fall of Adam and Horizontal Adjustment, have moved him into a more comedic vein. As an essayist, his New Orleans Dining: A Guide for the Hungry Diner Craving an Authentic Experience has released its third annual edition for 2013, and already found readers on three continents. In 2012, Hicks was awarded a Literary Fellowship grant by the Mississippi Arts Commission, in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Arts, to complete his fourth novel, a political melodrama of betrayal and revenge. He is married to noted jewelry designer Lil McKinnon-Hicks, with who he shares homes in central Mississippi and New Orleans.
Kimes received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2002, and his Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2005. Kimes works in cast iron, bronze and aluminum, welded steel, wood and found objects. His work is concerned with humanity, the individual and societies as a whole, and its relationship with the physical space, be it the built environment or the natural world. Kimes predominately uses the human figure at life size to illustrate the concepts in his work, allowing the public to visualize themselves in place of the figure to bring a new understanding of the surrounding environment. He lives and maintains a studio in Laurel, MS.
Dr. Steve Kistulentz
(Photo by James Patterson)
Steve Kistulentz is the author of two collections of poetry, Little Black Daydream (2012) and The Luckless Age (2010. His narrative nonfiction— mostly on the subject of popular culture—has appeared widely in journals.
Kistulentz’s poems work against the pervasive influence of nostalgia, occupying the space between histories; they often focus on what Yeats called “counter-truth,” the gap between the commonplace understanding of an event and its more nuanced or even imagined reinterpretation. Mike Krutel, writing in the American Book Review, compared the “lived-in landscapes” of The Luckless Age’s poems to Berryman’s Dream Songs.
Kistulentz was born in Washington, DC. He earned a BA in English from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University, an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and a Ph.D from the Florida State University.
His honors include the Benjamin Saltman Award for The Luckless Age, as well as fellowship support from Writers at Work, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and an individual award from the Mississippi Arts Commission. He has taught at the Johns Hopkins University; the University of Iowa, where he was the Joseph and Ursil Callan Scholar; and the Florida State University, where he was an Edward and Marie C. Kingsbury Fellow for Excellence in Thought. He currently teaches at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he directs the Millsaps Visiting Writers Series.- Biography adapted from the Poetry Foundation website.
Born into a family steeped in gospel in Jackson, Mississippi on October 13, 1946, Moore started singing lead in the church choir when she was five. By age 13, she competed every Wednesday night at the Alamo Theater on Farish Street in Jackson, a contest with adults. After high school Moore started singing background at a local studio while singing in clubs around Jackson. In 1965, she signed her first deal with the Epic label singing lead with a trio, The Poppies. The girl group had national success and was produced by Billy Sherrill who first recorded Tammy Wynette. Moore changed labels and producers quickly took notice and started recording her solo. It was not long until she burst on the scene with the classic Misty Blue in November 1975. Three months later she was nominated for the 1976 Grammy Awards. Her career took off and her first road show was New York’s Madison Square Garden. Thereafter she was a Grammy Award nominee for two years straight. The rest is history. In 2011 Dorothy Moore’s Misty Blue was sited on iTunes Blues Top Ten list in at least nine countries for over a year. Moore records and tours worldwide from her Jackson, Mississippi base. Learn more at her website www.farishstreetrecords.com.
Chris Offutt grew up in Haldeman, Kentucky, a former mining town of 200 people in the Daniel Boone National Forest. He graduated from Morehead State University with a B.A. in Theatre and Minor in English, and later received an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writer's Workshop. He is the author of Kentucky Straight, Out of the Woods, The Same River Twice, No Heroes, and The Good Brother. A novel and a collection of stories are forth coming. He wrote screenplays for HBO's "True Blood" and "Treme", Showtime's "Weeds," and TV pilots for Lions Gate and CBS. His TV work was nominated for an Emmy. Chris has published over 70 stories and essays, including appearances in the New York Times, Esquire, GQ, and National Public Radio. They are in many anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, Best of the South, and Classic American Memoirs. His prose has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the NEA, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Granta Magazine included him in their list of the "Top 20 Young American Writers." He is currently teaching in the English Department at the University of Mississippi.
For more than 20 years, Betty Press has photographed in East and West Africa, including eight years as an international photojournalist when she lived in Nairobi, Kenya. She has been widely published and exhibited. Currently, she is an adjunct instructor of photography at the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and is married to Bob Press. In 2011 she published I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Image and Proverb, a book of her African photographs in partnership with Books For Africa. For this work she was named the recipient of the 2012 Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award in Photography.
Julia Reyes is a multimedia artist currently based on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where she serves as an educator for the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art and attempts to stay relentlessly active among the arts community in whatever way possible. In 2010, Reyes received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mississippi State University, with an emphasis in painting. Though her background is predominately in painting, she views making art as a playful battle that, for her, cannot be limited to one particular medium. With that said, often the dialogue she hopes to evoke leads her to venture into less traditional media such as installation, sculptural, and interactive art. In 2012, Reyes and a fellow artist, Noel Anderson, collaborated on an exhibition called “Her Place” which explored a modern dialogue on feminism and posed the recurring question of “what is asked of us” as people (both men and women) in society. The exhibit, which was held at two Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College campuses, involved individual elements varying from experimental film and sculpture, to paintings, working in a conceptual union to create an engaging atmosphere.
Julia’s work stems from her love of daily documentation, embracing journey and conversation. The artist hopes to illustrate the continual human condition through the deconstruction of mundane objects and abstracting their original context. In her work, Reyes likes to embrace both the beauty in ambiguity and humorous familiarity.
She has participated in a number of group projects in the community intended to help fuel a stronger contemporary art presence on the Gulf Coast. She plans to continue to do so by stirring up more interactive shows and community involvement in the arts. Her work and additional information may be found on her website www.juliareyesart.com.
Johnson Thomasson is a writer/director from Starkville, Mississippi. He has been producing short films since the age of 15, the first of which, Private Detective, won Best in the Youth Category at the Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson. He is entirely self-taught in the art of filmmaking, through books, practice and imitation. He has a degree in Computer Science from Mississippi State, which he says enables him to streamline certain logistical aspects of the filmmaking process and the complicated post-production workflows that are necessary in today’s digital age. Johnson’s recent works include the Drug War thriller Blood Feud, a longform speculative trailer that won Best Homegrown at the Magnolia Film Festival in Starkville, and Headrush, a science-fiction murder mystery that is gaining lots of buzz as it prepares to enter the film festival circuit. Johnson is married to Leah Thomasson and is currently working as an IT engineer at Mossy Oak in West Point.
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