Phoenix artist Ann Morton has been named the 2019 Arlene and Morton Scult Award recipient. The award is presented by Friends of Contemporary Art, a support organization of the Phoenix Art Museum, which announced the news on its Facebook page on Tuesday, October 8.
Morton learned she’d been selected on Friday when she got a call from Rachel Zebro, curatorial associate for modern and contemporary art for the museum. Morton was notified during the summer that she’d been nominated for the award and was asked to submit samples of her work.
The Scult Award is presented annually. The recipient receives both a cash award and a solo exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum. Morton’s exhibit will open on July 11, 2020.
Friends of Contemporary Art also has selected five recipients for its 2019 artists’ grants. Those artists are Christina Gednalske, Danielle Hacche, Lena Klett, Nazafarin Lotfi, and Kimberly Lyle.
The museum announced its first all-women artists' grant cohort via Facebook just last week. In addition to receiving a grant, each artist will be featured in a group exhibition at the museum next summer.
Morton is already looking ahead to her Scult Award exhibition, although it’s too soon to know what she’ll be showing.
“I don’t have a specific idea yet about what I’d like to show,” she says. “I’m hoping to do a community art project, but that will be challenging given the timing of the exhibit.”
The good news comes on the heels of a small setback for the artist. Morton expected to show a large-scale installation as part of Canal Convergence in November but says Scottsdale Arts canceled the commission.
Now, she’s creating new pieces for a March 2020 exhibit with fellow artists Chris Jagmin and Safwat Saleem, and is expecting to start working soon on a project for the city of Phoenix.
Morton works primarily with traditional fiber art techniques to explore contemporary cultural, social, and political issues, including several pieces addressing President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric. She has also created work using unconventional materials, including the metal speculums used during gynecological exams.
Her work has been exhibited at multiple metro Phoenix galleries, including ASU Step Gallery, Fine Art Complex 1101, Lisa Sette Gallery, Modified Arts, Practical Art, and Vision Gallery, as well as galleries located at Arizona Jewish Historical Society, Mesa Community College, Phoenix City Hall, Sky Harbor Airport, and Tempe Center for the Arts. It’s also been shown in national and international settings.
Morton worked for more than three decades in graphic and environmental design before earning her MFA from Arizona State University. Her body of work includes several public and community art projects focused on themes ranging from homelessness to recycling.
Previous Scult Award recipients include Julio César Morales, Matt Magee, Patricia Sannit, and Saskia Jorda, to name a few. “It’s really exciting to be chosen for this award,” Morton says. “I’m very honored.”