Announcing the 2023 Lydia McCain Artist Fellows

Wednesday Dec 7th, 2022

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In 2016, Erie Arts & Culture saw a need to provide artists with unrestricted grant funding that could be used to assist them in their pursuit of artistic development and professional growth.

This year, four independent panels reviewed a pool of 50 applications. The applicants to this year’s Fellowship showcased the breadth of diversity in artistic disciplines, career trajectories, and lived experiences among artists in Erie County. The panels were composed of practicing artists, professors, and arts administrators from across the nation. 

Erie Arts & Culture awards Fellowship grants to three artists across three career categories; emerging, mid-career, and established. Each category provides a cash award of $2,000, $3,500, and $5,500, respectively.

Funding for the Artist Fellowship comes from the Lydia McCain Fund, which was established in 1995 as the first unrestricted contribution to the Erie Arts Endowment. Lydia McBrier McCain was an active member of the Erie community and staunchly served and supported arts and civic organizations and practicing artists in Erie County. A painter and jewelry maker herself, Lydia’s commitment to the arts ensured that both artists and arts organizations with a strong vision had the chance to reach their full potential.

Introducing this year’s Lydia McCain Artist Fellows:

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Niecey Nicole Davis | Writer, Spoken Word Artist, and Poet

Niecey Nicole is a published writer, humorist and activist. She is a mother of two, Fighting Scot (EUP Grad) and retired civil servant. Niecey is best known for writing poetry, performing spoken word and activism for Women, People of Color and the LGBTQ+community. She was a finalist in the 2021/2022 Erie County Poet Laureate Competition. She has performed alongside local powerhouses as well as world renowned bands on tour. Niecey is a member of the Erie County Poetry Committee. In addition to her work as an artist, Niecey works with youth in social services.

Click the buttons below to view samples of her work:

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3


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Eric Anthony Berdis | Visual Arts and Performance 

Eric Anthony Berdis (Erie, PA) is an artist and educator whose practice strives to celebrate DIY collectivity and play for both themselves and his students. All while reflecting on the ghost of queer history and activism. Eric has been awarded The Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery Artist in Residence this fall at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

He has had solo exhibitions at the University Galleries of Illinois State University, Project 1612 (Peoria, IL), Practice Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), and Bunker Project (Pittsburgh, PA). They have exhibited work at Iridian Gallery (Richmond, VA), Stay Home Gallery (Paris, TN), Oklahomo (Chicago), the Erie Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Eric received his BFA from Slippery Rock University and MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. His work has been published on Teaching Artist Podcast, Emergency Index Annual Performance Publication, and New American Painting.

Click the button below to view his portfolio pieces:

Eric's Portfolio

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Adam Holquist | Performing Arts: Electronic Music

Adam Holquist [b. 1979] is a composer, musician, sound designer, and multi-media creator from Erie, Pennsylvania. As a musician, Adam records and performs solo under the name onewayness, as a member of the duo embral with longtime collaborator Charles Shriner, as a member of several other groups, and in both composed and improvised settings with a variety of local and global collaborators. He uses guitars, pianos, analog and digital synthesis, spoken word and field recordings, and a variety of hardware and software tools to create atmospheric and textural music which draws influence from a variety of sources. These may include: ambient, drone, minimalism, post-rock, and vintage and contemporary electronic 'listening music'.

Adam performs and tours regularly, appearing at festivals, galleries, cafés, dive bars, art spaces, basements, and the occasional laundromat throughout the US and in Canada. Since 2011, he has given hundreds of live performances, and has released over 40 albums and EP’s between his various creative entities. His work has been featured on a number of both terrestrial and streaming radio stations, has charted on Zone Music Reporter’s weekly Top 100 ambient music airplay charts, and has been positively reviewed by a variety of publications both in the US and abroad.

Adam has created original music and sound design for theatre, independent films, and art installations; serves as curator of the ElectroFLUX Experimental Music Series, which presents creative music from local, regional, and international artists at various Erie venues; and has served as the producer and co-host of Social Distancing Variety Hour, a weekly live streaming video program and podcast focused on the arts, politics, and current events.

Listen to Adam's creations below:

Adam's Portfolio

Erie Arts & Culture

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