BY BO EMERSON / BEMERSON@AJC.COM
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia announced the winners of its Working Artist Project over the weekend, awarding $15,000 fellowships to three Atlanta artists: Jill Frank, Elizabeth Lide and Masud Ashley Olufani.
MOCA GA awards the Working Artist fellowships each year to three established artists from the 23-county metropolitan area. Funded by the Charles Loridans Foundation, the award carries with it the opportunity to stage a one-person show at the museum, provides a stipend of $15,000, pays for materials and also a studio apprentice for up to 300 hours for each artist.
The intent of the program was to encourage established artists to stay in Atlanta, rather than leaving the city for New York or other destinations. According to Annette Cone-Skelton, director of MOCA GA, the program has been successful, in that most of the 24 Working Artist Fellows chosen since 2007 still call Atlanta home.
Each year, a different curator evaluates the artists’ submissions before the recipients of the awards are chosen. This year’s judge was Saisha Grayson, assistant curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, in New York’s Brooklyn Museum.
The winners of the awards come from disparate disciplines:
- Jill Frank, 36, is a photographer who studied as an undergraduate at Bard College and earned a Master of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her current work, often produced on a large scale, investigates American social rituals and rites of passage.
- Elizabeth Lide, 68, is a graphic designer and visual artist known for her drawings, paintings, installations and handmade books. She worked in graphic design with Raymond Loewy and was the graphic designer at Art Papers. She has a BFA from the University of Georgia and an MFA from Georgia State University.
- Masud Ashley Olufani, 46, is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture. In addition to creating mixed-media sculptures, he is an actor who has appeared on stage and screen and as the host of the GPB radio and television series “37 Weeks: Sherman on the March.”
Olufani said the fellowship will give him the opportunity to complete a work called “Chorus of Memory,” which combines a sculptural mosaic with the recorded voices of elderly people around Atlanta.
Lide said the prize offers the luxury of time in the studio. Olufani, echoing the thoughts of the other artists, expressed gratitude for the help of an assistant. The intent of that part of the program is for established artists to pass on expertise to younger creators.
“Hopefully we can help them on their career path,” he said. “I would not have the opportunities I’ve had without people looking out for me.”
All three artists will prepare works for a solo show at the museum. MOCA GA estimates the value of each show, which includes exhibition costs and the cost of preparing a catalog, at $38,000.