6/4/2021 11:30:00 AM

Alabama Artists and Arts Organizations Awarded $281,000

Alabama Artists and Arts Organizations Awarded $218,000
Announcing Fellowship Recipients and Cultural Facilities Grantees

MONTGOMERY, Ala., (June 4, 2021) At its June quarterly meeting, Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded twenty-one (21) Fellowship grants totaling $105,000 and four (4) Cultural Facilities grants totaling $176,000 for a total of $281,000 in funding.

Fellowships are given to individuals working in arts education, dance, design, media/photography, music, literature, theatre, visual arts, and crafts. These awards recognize artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity, contributing to the further development of the artist. Recipients may use funds to set aside time to create art, improve their skills, pursue professional development, or do what is most advantageous to enhance their artistic careers.

“Alabama is fortunate to have so many artists from every artistic discipline creating exceptional work. Through Fellowship grants, artists can enhance their practice and stay engaged with their communities in meaningful ways,” said Jim Harrison III, Chair of the Council on the Arts.

Cultural Facilities grants are awarded for planning, design, or construction of an arts space. All projects must involve top professionals with demonstrated expertise in urban and/or community planning, architecture, landscape design, or historic preservation.

The Cultural Facilities grant program supports organizations large and small to enhance spaces for arts creation and presentation. In all cases where a grant is awarded, evidence of community support is a key element.

“This important program continues to provide support for adaptive reuse projects in communities across the state. This year’s support includes the communities of Opelika, Harpersville, Atmore, and Birmingham. All of these facility-oriented projects reflect important initiatives that enhance spaces where arts programming will impact the community and surrounding areas for years to come,” said Dr. Elliot Knight, Executive Director of the Council on the Arts.

This round of grants will support activity between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022.  


The Cultural Facilities program assists arts organizations in building or renovating facilities and spaces for arts activities. Funding is for the improvement of buildings and spaces dedicated to the arts for the public of Alabama.

Klein Arts & Culture in Harpersville was awarded a $30,000 design grant for the creation of a comprehensive design for Klein Arts & Culture’s venues and 6-acre site to optimize visitor experience. The project includes accessibility and HVAC additions, the installation of an outdoor sculpture garden, as well as landscaping and hardscaping elements that integrate all interior and exterior exhibition and performance spaces.

Sloss Furnaces Foundation in Birmingham was awarded a $36,000 design grant for Sloss quarters renovations. The project will further the foundation’s goal of creating a national center for metal arts. Funds will also support structural renovations, establishing a studio/gallery for artists and a community exhibition space, and aid in historically restoring buildings and configuring outdoor spaces for events.

The City of Opelika was awarded a $30,000 construction grant for Phase V renovation for the Southside Center for the Arts. The project includes completing interior to adapt and repurpose the facility into a community cultural center, with an emphasis on the performing and visual arts.

Pride of Atmore in Atmore was awarded a $75,000 construction grant for the Strand Theatre Complex. The project is focused on the adaptive reuse renovation of two historic facilities (Strand Theatre and Atmore Hardware) as a theatre and multi-purpose, technological, educational, and cultural arts venue.



Fellowships are grants awarded to outstanding individual artists and arts educators in  Alabama who create important works of art and make valuable contributions to the entire state.

Christopher ‘Wilder’ Adkins of Hoover was awarded a Music Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. An accomplished singer-songwriter, Adkins’ sound is deeply rooted in the folk traditions of Appalachia. An always engaging performer, Adkins was hand-selected to be a part of the ASCAP Foundation’s Songwriter Showcase at the Kennedy Center. His song ‘When I’m Married’ can be heard on Sirius XM’s the Coffeehouse.

Cordelia Anderson of Montgomery was awarded a Music Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Dr. Anderson is Assistant Professor in Vocal Studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University. She performed for the unveiling of the U.S. stamp of world-renowned opera singer Marian Anderson, as well as the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) program in Graz, Austria. She was a Young Artist for Opera Las Vegas for two full seasons. Dr. Anderson is also a performing participant of the Lauren Flanigan Audition Bootcamp in New York City and recently toured internationally to Spain and Croatia.

Keith Anderson of Madison was awarded an Arts Educator Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Anderson is the Director of Bands at James Clemens High School. He received both his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of North Alabama. Keith is regularly employed as an adjudicator for band and percussion and is also a certified judge for the Alabama State Music Performance Assessment. He currently serves as the Alabama Music Educators Association Technology Committee Chair.

Javacia Harris Bowser of Fultondale was awarded a Literary Arts Fellowship in Prose in the amount of $5,000. She is a freelance journalist, essayist, columnist and the founder of See Jane Write, a website and community for women who write. Bowser studied journalism at the University of Alabama and the University of California at Berkeley. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Good Grit magazine, and The Birmingham Times. She currently serves as curator of the Reckon Women Voices column for Reckon South, helping guide Southern women in sharing their stories through personal essays.

Anna Foshee of Birmingham was awarded a Dance Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Foshee is a working dancer, teacher, and choreographer throughout the state of Alabama. She is an adjunct dance professor at Samford University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She received her B.A. from the University of Alabama and currently serves as artistic director of Sanspointe Dance Company.

Kelsey Harrison of Birmingham was awarded a Media/Photography Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Harrison is a multidisciplinary artist and award-winning storyteller. Harrison’s work engages diverse mediums and commonly explores the following themes: creativity, Southern identity, memory, process, change as certainty, the joy and conflict of human experience, natural interconnectedness, and the ordinary made marvelous. She serves as a video producer for Alabama Public Television and co-creator of the ongoing arts documentary series Monograph.

Jahman Hill of Birmingham was awarded a Literary Arts Fellowship in Poetry in the amount of $5,000. Hill is a poet, playwright, director, professor, and co-director of The Flourish Alabama, an arts education nonprofit. He published a book of poetry Made from My Mother’s Ceilings in 2017. In 2019, he wrote, produced, and starred in an award-winning one-person show, Black Enough, which played off-Broadway. Hill is an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama,  where he received Master’s degrees in Communications Studies and Women’s Studies and co-founded the Alabama Student Association for Poetry. He is also the founder and director of Poetry University, an online poetry education organization. The core of Hill’s creative work centers around “The Flourish,” or the idea that Black people are infinitely possible beings.

Stacey Holloway of Birmingham was awarded a Visual Arts Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. She currently serves as the Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In addition to teaching, Holloway is an active national mixed media artist, sculptor, and fabricator who works within various media, including drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and interactivity. Through the exploration of storytelling and ethology, she creates work that communicates a universal societal connectivity.

Elizabeth Hughey of Birmingham was awarded a Literary Arts Fellowship in Poetry in the amount of $5,000. Hughey is the programming director and co-founder of Desert Island Supply Co. (DISCO), a nonprofit literary arts center. She is the author of Sunday Houses the Sunday House (University of Iowa Press) and Guest Host (National Poetry Review Press). Hughey received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has been the recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.

Kerri-Noelle Humphrey of Huntsville was awarded an Arts Educator Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Humphrey is an educator at the Academy for Academics and Arts. Her current research, Dancing the Diaspora: Discovering the Influence of Traditional and Tribal African dance in the History of African-American Social and Concert Dance in the Caribbean and the United States, explores the unintentional exportation of African/Africanist movement during the slave trade and presents the findings as a middle school dance education curriculum unit. She received her B.S. in Mathematics from Howard University, an MBA from Barry University, and an M.A. in Dance Education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Bryce Lafferty of Jacksonville was awarded a Visual Arts Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Lafferty is an artist and teaches drawing, painting, and illustration at Jacksonville State University. His watercolor drawings, that center on his interest in the natural world, are represented by Momentum Gallery in Ashville, NC. His work has been juried into several competitive national exhibitions. Lafferty received his MFA from the University of North Texas in Studio Art.

Tara Stallworth Lee of Birmingham was awarded the Gay Burke Memorial Fellowship in Photographic Arts in the amount of $5,000. An artist and arts educator, Lee previously served as the Arts Education Coordinator for Space One Eleven, a visual arts nonprofit. She received her Bachelor's in Psychology from Birmingham-Southern College. For nearly twenty years, Lee has enjoyed traveling to Washington, D.C., to teach specialty art classes to youth for The Smithsonian Associates summer camp program.

Leanna Leithauser-Lesley of Birmingham was awarded a Craft Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Leithauser-Lesley is an avid needlepointer motivated by the power of jazz music, the perseverance of the civil rights movement, and an intention to advance the perception of needlepoint as an art form through the complexity of stitching portraits. She has exhibited her distinct portraits in museums, galleries, and cultural art centers throughout the U.S.

Charlie Lucas of Prattville was awarded a Visual Arts Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Lucas makes art in his studio in Selma and is the descendent of several generations of artisans and craftspeople. His work has featured in early, transformative exhibitions of Southern vernacular artists, including the High Museum of Art’s groundbreaking 1988 exhibition, “Outside the Mainstream: Folk Art in Our Time,” and “Souls Grown Deep: African-American Vernacular Art of the South” at the Michael C. Carlos Museum during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Lucas’ work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions over the last four decades; it is in multiple books and catalogs, including Charlie Lucas – Tin Man, published by the University of Alabama Press. In December 2020, his work was acquired by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Kerry Madden-Lunsford of Birmingham was awarded a Literary Arts Fellowship in Prose in the amount of $5,000. Madden-Lunsford is the author of Ernestine’s Milky Way, a picture book published by Schwartz & Wade of Random House, which was selected as the State Book of Alabama at the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. in 2019. She wrote the Smoky Mountain Trilogy for children, which includes Gentle’s Holler, Louisiana’s Song, and Jessie’s Mountain, published by Viking. Her book, Up Close Harper Lee, made Booklist’s Ten Top Biographies of 2009 for Youth. Madden-Lunsford is an associate professor of Creative Writing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  

Burgin Mathews of Birmingham was awarded a Literary Arts Fellowship in Prose in the amount of $5,000. Mathews is a writer, radio host, and teacher. His specialty is character-driven creative nonfiction steeped in history, music, and a deep-rooted sense of place. The University of Alabama Press published his oral history of musician and educator Frank “Doc” Adams (Doc: The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man). That project led to Mathews’ current book-in-progress, Magic City, which is a narrative history of Birmingham's influential but unsung jazz tradition. His writing has appeared in Southern Cultures, No Depression, WELD, Living Blues, The Old-Time Herald, Bluegrass Unlimited, the All Music Guide, Alabama Arts, and Birmingham Magazine. Mathews’ weekly radio show, The Lost Child, broadcasts both locally and online on Birmingham Mountain Radio.

Celestia Morgan of Birmingham was awarded a Media/Photography Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Morgan’s photographs have been exhibited in Minneapolis Institute of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American, Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Her recent exhibitions include the National Public Housing Museum’s “Undesign the Redline” in Chicago, Illinois; Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s New Southern Photography curated by Richard McCabe in New Orleans, Louisiana; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s “All or Nothing” in Bentonville, Arkansas; and Birmingham Public Library’s “Food is Work” (commissioned by the Southern Foodways Alliance). Publications include New York Times, LensScratch, New Southern Photography, Southern Foodways Alliance Gravy magazine, and ArtNet News.

Noel Newquist of Harvest was awarded an Arts Educator Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Newquist is a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) in the area of early to middle childhood visual arts. He received his Bachelor’s in Art Education from Flagler College and Master’s in Educational Theory and Practice from Arkansas State University – Jonesboro. Newquist is a passionate arts advocate in his community, exhibiting student artwork, painting murals, and volunteering at arts events. Through his YouTube channel, Mr. New’s Art Class, he teaches and inspires viewers from across the globe.

Scott Peek of Waverly was awarded a Design Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. In 1991, Peek and two longtime friends moved to Waverly, Alabama, renovated a 1930s cotton warehouse, and co-founded Standard Deluxe – a design and silkscreen print shop. Peek has been the sole owner of Standard Deluxe since 1998, garnering recognition from the national design community and clients including David Carson Design, Charles S. Anderson Design, Print Magazine, Rural Studio, Central Park Summerstage, and Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Peek has created spaces, experiences, and art that foster community and honor the homegrown, do-it-yourself values of Alabama. His work is centered on radical hospitality, the celebration of good music, and the ongoing quest to uncover possibilities through creative design.

Kelley Schoger of Tuscaloosa was awarded a Theatre Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Schoger is an actor, director, movement specialist, and nationally certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. She is Assistant Professor of Movement and Acting in the graduate and undergraduate theatre programs at the University of Alabama. Previously, Schoger performed professionally in New York City, including MCC Theater, La Mama, and Mabou Mines. She has created two original works of physical theatre, “Her Destined Port” and “Beauty, Identity, Release,” which have been performed nationally and internationally, including at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in 2019. Schoger holds an MFA in Theatre/Movement Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.A. in Theatre from Virginia Tech.

Melissa Yes of Birmingham was awarded a Media/Photography Fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Yes grew up in Huntsville and keeps her studio in Birmingham. She is an active member of the art community, working as an educator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and as co-director of a contemporary art nonprofit, Vinegar.

These grants are in response to applications submitted under a March 2, 2021 deadline and are awarded for the 2022 fiscal year (October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022).  

The Council is a body of fifteen members appointed by the Governor for six-year terms to help promote the arts statewide and makes final decisions on all grants awarded.

The next grant application deadline is September 1, 2021. Applications accepted will be for arts in education grants, project grants for organizations, and Folk Arts Apprenticeship requests. The application portal for the next round of Fellowships and Cultural Facilities grants will open on January 1, 2022.

For more information about the Alabama State Council on the Arts, visit arts.alabama.gov.



About Alabama State Council on the Arts
The Council on the Arts is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts in Alabama. The Council works to expand and preserve the state’s cultural resources by supporting nonprofit arts organizations, schools, colleges, units of local government, and individual artists. Arts programs, assisted by Council grants, have a track record of enhancing community development, education, cultural tourism, and overall quality of life in all regions of the state. Alabama State Council on the Arts receives an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and additional funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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