New Maxwell Hanrahan Foundation Award Spotlights American Craft
The five inaugural recipients of the Awards in Craft each received $100,000 to propel their practice forward.
Jamie Okuma, Elk boots (2018). Antique glass seed beads beaded onto Giuseppe Zanotti platform boots size 37. Courtesy Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation. Photo: Cameron Linton.
Worth a total of $US 500,000, the award is one of the largest dedicated to supporting craftspeople in the United States.
The new annual fellowship scheme seeks to redress the imbalance in arts sector funding for crafts. 'The significant contributions of artists and craftspeople are often underappreciated, and these awards are a step toward changing this reality,' said Maxwell/Hanrahan Executive Director Rachel Strader.
The five inaugural fellows revealed last week are Antonius-Tín Bui, Christine Lee, Kristina Madsen, Jamie Okuma, and Terrol Dew Johnson.
Antonius-Tín Bui is a queer, non-binary, multidiscilinary artist whose work, partly inspired by their Vietnamese heritage, has been shown at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Christine Lee works with sustainable, non-toxic, and fibre-based materials, using a combination of traditional craft techniques and computer-based technology. Her works have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, the ASU Art Museum, Tempe, and the Aspen Art Museum.
A student of British craftsman David Powell and Fijian woodcarver Makiti Koto, Kristina Madsen enlivens her wooden furniture pieces with freehand intaglio carving.
Native American artists Jamie Okuma and Terrol Dew Johnson, meanwhile, champion Indigenous craft traditions in the United States. Okuma, tribally affiliated with Luiseño, Shoshone-Bannock, Wailaki, and part-Okinawan, incorporates beadwork across multiple artforms.
Johnson combines modern design with traditional Tohono O'odham basket weaving and advocates for community food security and public health as a community leader.
The winners were chosen by a selection panel that included Andrea Hanley, chief curator of Santa Fe's Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian; director of New York's Greenwich House Pottery Fabio J. Fernandez; and president of Boston's North Bennet Street School Sarah Turner.
Out of the nominees put forward by the national arts fund United States Artists and field experts, the panel looked for artists who displayed a 'unique and vital mastery of their crafts', have had an impact on their field, and stand at critical moments in their careers.
'We hope that supporting individuals as they grow in their careers will not only propel their own work forward, but also build support for funding arts and crafts, and encourage others to commit to these fields,' said Strader.
Established in 2018, the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation provides grants and awards across the fields of science, conservation, teaching, and the arts. Strader explained, 'The foundation is committed to honoring crafts people's roles as stewards of cultural traditions, innovators and integrators.'—[O]