Nine visual artists have been announced as finalists for the inaugural Southern Prize awards, given by the Atlanta-based regional organization South Arts. As part of the award, each artist receives an unrestricted $5,000 Southern Prize and State Fellowship, and will be in the running for the $25,000 Southern Prize and a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. A second artist will receive the $10,000 Finalist Prize. The final award winners will be announced at a ceremony on April 24 in Atlanta.
The artists, who hail from the nine states served by South Arts, are Masud Olufani of Georgia, Pete Schulte of Alabama, Noelle Mason of Florida, Becky Alley of Kentucky, Joey Slaughter of Louisiana, Coulter Fussell of Mississippi, Stephanie J. Woods of North Carolina, Herb Parker of South Carolina, and Georgann DeMille of Tennessee.
From January through March 2017, over 850 visual artists submitted work for consideration. Each application was reviewed by a panel of jurors comprising Erin Gilbert, independent curator from Chicago; Mark Scala, Curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville; Lauren Haynes, Curator of Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas; Jan Davidson, retired director of the John C. Campbell School of Folk Arts in Brasstown, North Carolina; and Gia Hamilton, director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.
The winners will be determined by second panel of jurors, including Miranda Lash, curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville; Dominique Nahas, independent curator and critic in Brooklyn; and Monica Moses, editor in chief of American Craft in Minneapolis.
“There is a deep well of artistic talent throughout our region,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “From traditional basket weaving through experimental 3D printing, the creative minds around us are producing brilliant work … These fellowships and awards are part of the support system allowing artists in the South to make a living in our region.”
South Arts is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts; the state arts agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee; as well as foundations, businesses and individuals.