These 18 Artists Just Won Grants from Arizona Commission on the Arts

Artist Christine Cassano in her artist studio in the warehouse district.
Lynn Trimble
Artist Christine Cassano in her artist studio in the warehouse district.
Arizona Commission on the Arts has awarded research and development grants to 18 artists, according to a press release issued on Thursday, December 21.

The commission, which is one of 56 art agencies affiliated with the National Endowment for the Arts, works to strengthen Arizona communities through the arts.

The recipients include six artists in metro Phoenix and seven artists based in Tucson, as well as artists working in Flagstaff and McNeal.

The grants are designed to "aid artists in the development of artistic work, support the advance of artistic research, and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona's communities," according to the release. Each recipient will receive up to $5,000.

Phoenix-based Christine Cassano, Melanie Channon, Angelina Ramirez, and Suzanne Whitaker of Phoenix are among the winners for the fiscal year 2018 awards. Maria Alvarez of Chandler and Marieke Davis of Gilbert received awards as well.
Cassano is well-known for mixed-media works that reference the interplay of biology with technology, created with materials ranging from computer hardware to her own hair. In 2016, she received an artist grant from Phoenix Art Museum's Contemporary Forum support group.

Recently, her work was featured in the "Contemporary Forum Artist Grant Winners" exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum. Earlier this year, she had a solo exhibition titled "Black Box" at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

Angelina Ramirez is best known for bringing flamenco dance to mainstream audiences in settings such as Crescent Ballroom, thus expanding the dance landscape in metro Phoenix. She's the artistic director for Flamenco Por La Vida, which she launched in 2009.

Additional winners are Sama Alshaibi, William Ambrose, Torran Anderson, Clarice Bales, Juliana Desmond, Charles Hedgcock, Eric Johnsen, Lawrence Lenhart, Serge Levy, Laura Maher, Laurie McKenna, and Erin Stalcup.

All the Arizona Commission on the Arts research and development grant winners were selected through a competitive process. Applications were reviewed by six artists and arts professionals, who then convened a public meeting to discuss top-scoring candidates before selecting the grant recipients.

The panel included Lauren Strohacker, a previous recipient of the award. Her latest body of work explores the impact of border policies on wildlife and habitats, particularly the Northern Jaguar, along the U.S. and Mexico border.

Other panelists were Marcus Monenerkit, Kathleen Velo, Nicole Walker, Jessica Valiente, and Efrain Robles.

Previous recipients of the research and development grant include David Emitt Adams, Rachel Bess, and Claire A. Warden.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.