Meet Phoenix Art Museum’s 2017 Contemporary Forum Winners

Matt Magee received the 2017 Scult Award from Contemporary Forum at Phoenix Art Museum on June 7.
Matt Magee received the 2017 Scult Award from Contemporary Forum at Phoenix Art Museum on June 7. Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix artist Matt Magee received the 2017 Arlene and Morton Scult Contemporary Forum Award at Phoenix Art Museum on Wednesday, June 7. Magee’s studio is located at the Cattle Track Arts Compound in Scottsdale.

Contemporary Forum is one of several Phoenix Art Museum support organizations. Founded in 1982, it’s been providing grants to Arizona artists since 1986.

To date, Contemporary Forum has awarded nine mid-career and Scult Awards totaling $45,000. And it’s awarded 179 artist grants totaling more than $223,000.

The prestigious Scult Award recognizes artists whose work “has demonstrated a sustained degree of excellence” and who have “demonstrated significant growth in their work over their career.”

"It's important that we recognize local artists," says Gilbert Vicario, chief curator for Phoenix Art Museum. "It's a way to engage the community and give artists the experience of showing work in this type of setting."

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Patricia Sannit surrounded by work featured in "Rise Fall Rise" at Phoenix Art Museum.
Lynn Trimble
Previous recipients include Patricia Sannit (2016), Saskia Jorda (2015), Rachel Bess (2014), Colin Chillag (2013), Annie Lopez (2012), Gregory Sale (2011), Mayme Kratz (2010), and Jon Haddock (2006).

Scult Award honorees receive $5,000 and a solo exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum. Magee’s solo exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum will likely open in May or June 2018.

Vicario has high praise for Magee. "He demonstrates true artistic excellence, which is basically what we're looking for," Vicario says of this year's Scult Award winner.

Currently, the museum is featuring “Patricia Sannit: Rise Fall Rise,” the solo exhibition for the 2016 Scult Award honoree. Sannit gave an artist talk about her work at the June 7 Contemporary Forum event.

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Contemporary Forum Artist Grant recipients (from left) Christopher Jagmin, Laura Spalding Best, Casey Farina, and Jennifer Day.
Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum
Four additional artists were honored that evening, including Laura Spalding Best, Jennifer Day, Casey Farina, and Christopher Jagmin. Each received a $2,000 Contemporary Forum Artist Grant, and all will be part of a group exhibition that coincides with Magee’s solo show at the museum next year.

Day is based in Tucson and Santa Fe, New Mexico. But the other four artists honored by Contemporary Forum on June 7 live and work in metro Phoenix, where their work has been featured in several exhibitions during the past year.

Magee exhibited photographs at Shortcut Gallery in February, and Casey Farina’s work was shown during Art Detour in March. Last summer, Jagmin and Sannit had a joint exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, and Laura Spalding Best had a solo exhibition at Chartreuse gallery last fall.

The “Rise Fall Rise” and “2016 Contemporary Forum Artists Grant Winners” exhibits continue through Sunday, September 17. Learn more on the Phoenix Art Museum website.
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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