As part of Fall for Arts & Culture, Erie Arts & Culture will recognize the 2019 artist fellows, which include:
Established Artist Fellowship: Shelle Barron
Shelle Barron is a Professor of Art at Edinboro University, where she teaches graphic and two-dimensional design. She has shown her large-scale mixed media work in juried exhibitions, invitationals, and solo projects for some time, winning more than 20 awards for her work. Her artwork involves experimental digital methodologies, combined with more traditional art-making processes to explore personal narratives in an original manner.
Emerging Artist Fellowship: Alexa Potter
Alexa Potter brings her professional experience as a curator and historian to her new role as a visual artist. She makes art primarily out of the plastic flotsam and jetsam that washes ashore from Lake Erie. Each piece is augmented with a narrative title or a pithy story. She believes trash is a universal language and her work reflects humans’ relationship to the natural world, consumerism, environmental change, and the historical tension between man and nature.
Initial eligibility requirements for artist fellows mandated that applicants must be 25 years of age or older and be a resident of Erie County for at least two consecutive years prior to applying. Erie Arts & Culture’s Grantmaking Committee is responsible for overseeing the Artist Fellowship program. In summer 2019, the Committee reviewed the program’s eligibility requirement through the lens of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It was determined that eligibility requirements would be revised for the 2020 fellowships.
To partially address this issue in 2019, Erie Arts & Culture’s Board of Trustees approved the award of an additional fellowship in the present year. Emerging artists 19 years of age or older of any artistic discipline were eligible to apply. The only residency requirement was that artists demonstrate their commitment to living and working in Erie County as part of their application. Erie Arts & Culture defines an emerging artist as someone who is in the early stage of their career and has a modest independent body of work.
Emerging Artist Fellowship: Antonio Howard
Antonio Howard is an autodidact artist. At the young age of 15, he was incarcerated and sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile. While in prison, He educated himself on the concepts and processes of visual art-making through instructional books. He writes, “Although I often dreamed of being an escape artist, as a visual artist, my paintings broke free of that place long before I did.” Commuted in 2017 and now living as civilian employed by the Federal Public Defender’s office, he is committed to serving Erie and documenting his life through his paintings.