Next month we will announce the inaugural awardees of Artists Elevated. Two artists will receive $20,000 each.
This is a passion project for the Greater Columbus Arts Council. It encompasses several goals that I think are important for the health of the Arts Council and the arts in Columbus—raising private funds to create an endowment (so that we have a diverse revenue stream) and investing in professional, mid-career artists with more substantial cash awards and raising the profile of Columbus as a city that supports arts and culture.
A critical piece of Artists Elevated is the jury process and I am extremely proud of the jury that we were able to recruit.
Who sits on the jury is important on several levels. It reflects the prestige of the award. It is also important to ensure that the people reviewing the work are able to do so as objectively as possible. Naturally we wanted jurors that are renown in their respective fields. We specifically sought out artists from across the country, rather than Columbus professionals, to allow for a truly fresh review of the art. An absolute mandatory requirement was that there were jurors representing dance, fashion, film, literature, music, theater and visual arts. And, while it is impossible to be fully representative of our population with only seven jurors, actively seeking diverse representation on any jury is a priority.
Our 2021 Jurors include:
Pablo Cartaya, an award winning author and 2018 Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence. Cartaya is the author of the critically acclaimed middle-grade novels: The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish, and Each Tiny Spark. His novels center around the themes of family, culture, community, and the cross-section of the Latinx experience in the United States.
Linda Lorence Critelli, an accomplished music executive with expertise in performing rights, publishing, and talent development. She is currently a full-time assistant professor in Arts & Entertainment Industries Management (AEIM) at Rider University in New Jersey. She is former vice president of writer/publisher relations at SESAC in New York City, where she worked with a diverse roster of songwriting and publishing talent, in both pop and jazz.
Jared Ledesma, the senior curator at the Akron Museum of Art. Prior to Akron, Ledesma was associate curator at the Des Moines Art Center, where he organized more than a dozen exhibitions. This includes Queer Abstraction, which earned a commendation from the 2019 Sotheby’s Prize jury and the 2020 SECAC Award for Outstanding Exhibition and Catalog of Contemporary Materials.
Bernadette McCabe, the executive vice president of event cinema and exhibitor relations for Spotlight Cinema Network has more a decade experience with event cinema, content acquisitions and business development. McCabe co-founded Women in Exhibition in 2019, which is a global organization focused on promoting and supporting women in the movie theater industry.
Ronny Kofi Oppong, a New York City-based fashion and lifestyle professional. A graduate in fashion merchandising from The Ohio State University, Oppong has worked with startups, fortune 500 and 100 brands like Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors, Guess, Orange Culture Nigeria, Sunni Sunni Studio, Ceeze Studio, and Liberty Fashion and Lifestyle Fairs.
Daniel Enrique Perez, co-founder of the Teatro Bravo Theater in Phoenix, AZ, and associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Nevada, Reno where he is also an associate professor of Chicanx and Latinx Studies in the department of world Languages and literatures. His books include: Rethinking Chicana/o and Latina/o Popular Culture, an edited collection of plays entitled Latina/o Heritage on Stage: Dramatizing Heroes and Legends, and a collection of poems entitled Things You See in the Dark.
Tamara (Fakimi) Williams, founder and artistic director of Moving Spirits a contemporary arts organization dedicated to performing, researching, documenting and producing African diaspora arts. Williams is also an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Her scholarly work includes: Giving Life to Movement: The Silvestre Dance Technique, “Reviving Culture Through Ring Shout” published in The Dancer-Citizen.
Over the next several weeks this team will review 92 applications. Each juror will choose two finalists from their respective discipline and then collectively the jury will select the final two award recipients. The awards and the finalists will be announced in early November.
—Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.