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Arts & Life

Five Artists Tapped For Charlotte Street Awards

On Monday, the Charlotte Street Foundation announced the 2014 visual and performing artist awards. A Charlotte Street award is always a welcome surprise to artists - in part, because it provides $10,000 in unrestricted cash.

The selection process for the Charlotte Street Foundation awards is competitive. In recent years, it's started with an open call for applications from artists from the Kansas City metropolitan area. This was narrowed to 11 finalists this year for generative performing arts, and 10 for the visual arts, who received studio visits, or presented their work. The panelists selecting the award recipients include artists and curators from the Kansas City area and across the country.

A range of materials and contexts

This year's visual artist award recipients include:

  • Amy Kligman, a painter and mixed media artist, is one of the five founders of Plug Projects, an artist-run exhibition space in Kansas City's West Bottoms. She'll also be the first artist fellow to receive a new annual award named for gallerist and collector Byron Cohen called the Byron C. Cohen Award. It provides funding to attend an international art fair.
  • Garry Noland, his work transforms "materials and experiences into new identities through his art." He's known for layering, stacking and collaging materials such as tape, foam, and bubble wrap.
  • Sean Starowitz, his projects engage the community, often crossing political and social boundaries. Some of these include BREAD! KC, an ongoing dining event which raises funds for artist microgrants; Byproduct: The Laundromat, including storytelling, performances, and discussions in a Midtown laundromat; and Fresh Bread, a pop-up bakery which travels to food deserts in Kansas City.

From performances in an office building to award-winning jazz

Generative performing artist fellows include:

  • Jane Gotch, a dancer and choreographer. Gotch has collaborated with actors, dancers, visual artists and musicians on dance-based performance installations, some in offbeat locations such as street corners, office buildings, or parks.
  • Hermon Mehari, a musician who started playing the trumpet when he was in seventh grade. The founder and member of the jazz trio Diverse, Mehari is "a student of jazz, neo-soul, pop, R&B, and classical music" and cites influences ranging from Charlie Parker to Guiseppe Verdi.

Nearly 20 years of cash awards for artists

The Charlotte Street Foundation established the awards for visual artists in 1998 and for generative performing artists in 2008. To date, they've distributed just over $650,000 to artists, including $572,500 to visual artists, and $78,000 to generative performing artists.

In September, the work of the 2014 visual artist award fellows goes on display at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at Johnson County Community College; the exhibition will be curated by Nerman Museum director, Bruce Hartman. Public performances by generative performing artists will be highlighted throughout the year.

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