Pratt Institute Assistant Chair of Fine Arts Sheila Pepe and Visiting Assistant Professor and alumna Mickalene Thomas won 2009 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants and $25,000 for their accomplishments in sculpture and painting, respectively. Alumna Carrie Moyer, who received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Pratt in 1985, also received a 2009 Joan Mitchell Grant for her work in painting. All three reside in Brooklyn.
The Joan Mitchell Foundation annually bestows Painters and Sculptors Grants upon 25 artists. Each year, nominated candidates are selected based on artistic merit and financial need to receive a grant intended to further their artistic careers.
Pepe’s massive installations, often composed of crocheted yarn and shoelaces, show evidence of practices usually associated with traditional feminine crafts, such as sewing and knitting. Pepe has held solo exhibitions at the World Financial Plaza and Wintergarden, New York; the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; Smith College Museum of Art, Massachusetts; Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara, Calif.; and the Jersey City Museum in New Jersey. In 2001, she received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and in 2004 a Lower East Side Printshop Publishing Residency and a Professional Development Grant through the Rhode Island School of Design.
Pepe received her bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics with distinction from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1994 and received her master of fine arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston.
New York-based artist Thomas often depicts African American women presented as celebrities, and frequently explores notions of femininity and power in her works. She often adorns her canvases with rhinestones, acrylics, and enamel. Thomas has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally. Her work is included in the public collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, the International Center of Photography, and Brooklyn Museum in New York; and the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Most recently, she’s been commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art to create a new work for the façade of The Modern on 53rd Street for 2010.
Thomas received her bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from Pratt in 2000, her masters of fine arts from Yale University in 2002, and completed a residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem. She is currently represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York, Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.
Moyer has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad, at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and PS1/Institute for Contemporary Art in New York, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Calif. She was recently honored with a 2009 Anonymous Was a Woman Grant of $25,000. Moyer received her master of fine arts degree in painting from Bard College.
Joan Mitchell was an abstract expressionist known for the unrestrained use of color and pervasive luminosity of her large scaled and multiple-paneled works. The mission of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, established in 1993, is to aid and assist the needs of sculptors and painters while also celebrating the legacy of Joan Mitchell. The Foundation annually awards grants to sculptors and painters, supports outside programming such as workshops and residencies serving individual artists, and provides free art education opportunities for New York City Youth. For more information, visit http://www.joanmitchellfoundation.org/.