Culture News

Here Are Phoenix Art Museum's 2016 Contemporary Forum Winners

Phoenix artist Patricia Sannit received the 2016 Arlene and Morton Scult Contemporary Forum Award at Phoenix Art Museum on Wednesday, May 11. 

Contemporary Forum is one of several Phoenix Art Museum support organizations. The membership-based group was founded 34 years ago, and has been providing grants to Arizona artists ever since 1986. Sannit received a Contemporary Forum Artist Grant in 2008. 

Five 2016 Contemporary Forum Artist Grant winners were also announced during the event, which featured a lecture from 2015 winner Saskia Jordá. This year’s grantees are David Emitt Adams, Christine Cassano, Bryan David Griffith, Constance McBride, and Mary Meyer. Each will receive $2,000 and be part of a group exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum next spring.

Scult Award honorees receive $5,000 and a solo exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum. Currently the museum is featuring “Saskia Jordá: A Geography of Line,” the solo exhibition for the 2015 Scult Award honoree. Sannit’s solo exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum will open in the Spring of 2017.

The prestigious award recognizes artists whose work "has demonstrated a sustained degree of excellence" and who have "demonstrated significant growth in their work over their career." Previous Scult recipients include Saskia Jordá (2015), Rachel Bess (2014). Colin Chillag (2013), Annie Lopez (2012), Gregory Sale (2011), Mayme Kratz (2010), and Jon Haddock (2006).

There’s a different process for selecting grant and award winners, says Contemporary Forum administrator Lynn Spencer. Contemporary Forum grantees are selected from artists who submit their work for consideration through an open call process. Award recipients are selected from artists nominated by Contemporary Forum members.

This year’s jury panel was headed by Gilbert Vicario, The Selig Family Chief Curator for Phoenix Art Museum, and also included artists Jordá and Gabriela Muñoz. Formerly the Curatorial Associate in Contemporary and Latin American Art at Phoenix Art Museum, Muñoz now serves as the Artist Programs Manager for Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Artists under consideration submit images of the works they want the panel to consider, along with related materials including biographical details and an artist statement. This year’s recipients actually learned they’d been selected about two weeks ago, Spencer says. But they were sworn to secrecy until last night’s announcement.

Sannit submitted images from a recent installation at Gebert Contemporary in Scottsdale. A new collaborative exhibition featuring works by Sannit and Phoenix artist Christopher Jagmin opens Friday, May 13, at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

Including the 2016 recipients, Spencer says, Contemporary Forum has now awarded 183 grants totaling more than $255,000.

Correction: This post originally stated that Contemporary Forum was founded in 30 years ago, but it was founded 34 years ago. Additionally, 2016 grant recipients receive $2,000, not $1,500.
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble