Arizona Commission on the Arts announced its latest research and development grant awards on December 20. The awards are up to $5,000 each and go to 17 artists. Five are based in metro Phoenix, six in northern Arizona, and another six in southern Arizona.
Recipients were selected by a panel of eight Arizona artists and arts professionals, including Jane Armstrong, Rogelia Gutierrez, Alexandra Jimenez, Milta Ortiz, Christina Park, Elizabeth Vogler, Rachel Zebro, and panel chair Ruben Alvarez.
Last year, just 12 artists received these grants. But the State of Arizona has since increased funding for Arizona Commission on the Arts, which made awarding five additional grants possible this year.
Here’s a look at the Valley-based recipients and the projects their awards will help support.
Rachel Bess, a Phoenix-based artist represented by Lisa Sette Gallery, will spend four months studying the science and technique of underpainting and other techniques at the heart of her own art practice. Bess received the 2014 Artist Award from the Contemporary Forum, a Phoenix Art Museum support organization, and her work was featured in one of our favorite 2016 art exhibitions.
Amy Carpenter, a Phoenix-based founding member of the Torch Theatre, plans to collaborate with Stacey Hanlon to explore the value of improvisation in fostering good quality of life for those living with autism.
Danielle Foushée, a visual artist based in Phoenix, will create a small-scale version of a modular community shade structure, then use the model to pursue a public art commission.
Hakeem Khaaliq, a Scottsdale-based photographer, plans to create a digital photo essay featuring isolated descendants of the African diaspora living in Mexico.
Claire Warden, a Phoenix photographer who received a 2015 Artist Grant from Contemporary Forum, will explore the abstract nature of identity and personal experience as an immigrant and person of mixed race using large-scale photography.
Awards went to artists working in several fields, including visual art, performance art, literature, and music. Other grant recipients are James Colby, Julie Comnick, William Cordeiro, Ashley Davidson, Henry Flurry, Sara Fraker, Yanara Friedland, Johanna Lundy, Yvonne Montoya, Delisa Myles, Ned Schaper, and Melissa Sevigny.
Flagstaff's Comnick is expanding her Arrangement for a Silent Orchestra project, which was featured in a 2015 exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. That exhibit featured paintings and video of violins being destroyed by fire. Moving forward, Comnick plans to work with orchestral instruments gradually covered by a snow storm.
The commission took another exciting step this year, curating an exhibition of works by several artists who received one of its research and development grants in 2015. The June art show at Chartreuse gallery featured works David Emitt Adams, Alexandra Jiménez, P. Nosa, and Lauren Strohacker and Kendra Sollars.
Correction: A previous version of this article indicated that Bess will be traveling to Italy for her grant-funded studies. She will not.