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Bullman, Stevens receive ASCA Literature Fellowships

At its June meeting in Montgomery, the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) awarded fifteen fellowship grants, including one arts administration fellowship totaling $75,000 and two Arts and Cultural Facilities grants totaling $40,000, for a grand total of $115,000. Brooke Bullman of Huntsville and Kyes Stevens of Waverly received the two Literature Fellowships.

Bullman received her BA in English from Auburn University, where she served as editor of the Auburn Circle literary magazine. She is enrolled in the low-residency MFA writing program at Spalding University while employed as a marketing writer in Huntsville. Bullman is currently working on a novel-in-stories about two families from Alabama. Her fiction is notable for its refinement, compelling narrative, and convincing voice. As an emerging writer, she has shown great professionalism, productivity and commitment. Her work shows great promise and represents Alabama well.

Stevens is a poet with a strong work ethic and a mature style characterized by sophistication, earthiness, and a strong sense of social engagement. She received her MFA in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and has published in multiple literary genres. Her prose is also strong, communicating her energy and passion. Stevens is the founder, director, and teaching poet for the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project. She is currently writing a book on the evolution and impact of the project, which provides art instruction and other educational opportunities in Alabama’s prisons.

Fellowship grants are awarded to individual artists and are based on merit of work, career achievement, professional development, and service to the state. Arts and 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. This round of grants will support activity taking place between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014.

The cultural facilities funding program provides support to organizations large and small in an effort to enhance spaces for arts creation and presentation. In all cases where a grant is requested, evidence of community support is a key element. Al Head, Executive Director of the Council said, “In the past eight years since the inception of the program for cultural facilities, the Council has provided support for significant projects in communities in all parts of the state. This year’s support to the Arts Revive in Selma is a great example of an adaptive reuse of an old car dealership for use as a community cultural center. The design grant for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham relates to expanding the current facility resulting in a state-of-the-art exhibition center showcasing jazz music and musicians in Alabama.”

Fellowships are given to individual artists working in arts administration, crafts, dance, design, media/photography, music, literature, theatre, and visual arts. Jim Harrison III, Chairman of the Council, emphasized, “Our state is fortunate to have so many artists from every artistic discipline producing works of the highest quality.”

The awards recognize artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity. Recipients may use funds to set aside time to create art, improve their skills, or to do what is most advantageous to enhance their artistic careers.

These grants are in response to applications submitted under a March 1, 2013, deadline and are awarded for the 2014 fiscal year beginning October 1, 2013 and extending through September 30, 2014. Jim Harrison III of Tuscaloosa chairs the 15-member Council. The next deadline for the submission of Fellowship and Arts and Cultural Facilities applications is March 1, 2014.

County Name City Title Discipline Grant
Dallas Arts Revive - Selma Selma Comprehensive Design Plan for AR Design Arts $20,000.00
Jefferson AL Jazz Hall of Fame Birmingham Design - Jazz Hall of Fame/Carver Design Arts $20,000.00
Chloe Collins Birmingham Arts Administration Fellowship Community Arts $5,000.00
Alicia Johnson-Williams Bessemer Theatre Fellowship Performing Arts $5,000.00
Lee Chuck Hemard Auburn Photography Fellowship Visual Arts $5,000.00
Madison Brooke Bullman Huntsville Literature Fellowship Literary Arts $5,000.00
Monique Ryan Huntsville Dance Fellowship Performing Arts $5,000.00
Montgomery Sudha Raghuram Montgomery Dance Fellowship Performing Arts $5,000.00
Joseph D. Trimble Montgomery Theatre Fellowship Performing Arts $5,000.00
Pike Walter Black Troy Craft Fellowship Visual Arts $5,000.00
Shelby Lori F. Ardovino Alabaster Music Fellowship Performing Arts $5,000.00
Tallapoosa Kyes Stevens Waverly Literature Fellowship Literary Arts $5,000.00
Tuscaloosa Rob Alley Tuscaloosa Music Fellowship Performing Arts $5,000.00
Barbara Lee Black Tuscaloosa Media/Photography Fellowship Visual Arts $5,000.00
Jessica Peterson Northport Visual Art Fellowship Visual Arts $5,000.00
Jessica L. Smith Tuscaloosa Craft Fellowship Visual Arts $5,000.00
Craig R. Wedderspoon Northport Visual Art Fellowship Visual Arts $5,000.00

Cultural Facility Design Grants

The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame was awarded a $20,000 Arts & Cultural Facilities grant for design work relating to the expansion of its facility. A larger facility will allow the museum to continue to foster, encourage, educate, and cultivate a general appreciation of the medium of jazz music. The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame aims to preserve the heritage of jazz and contemporary expressions of an art form with deep roots in Alabama.

Arts Revive of Selma was awarded a $20,000 Arts & Cultural Facilities grant for a comprehensive design plan. Arts Revive aims to enhance community development in the greater historic district of Selma through the arts, smart urban design, and expanded tourism. The planned building construction for Arts Revive is cohesive with the city’s plan and vision for Selma.

Additional Individual Artist Fellowships - $5,000

Rob Alley of Tuscaloosa was awarded a Music Fellowship. He received a Master of Music from the University of Alabama and is currently a faculty member teaching in the Jazz Department. He is a well-known musician and composer, and considered to be one of the most in-demand trumpeters in the South. His music demonstrates a high level of professionalism, and the benefits of his work to the state are significant given the scope of the research involved and the focus on Alabama musicians.

Lori F. Ardovino of Alabaster was the second awardee in the Music Fellowship category. She is a music professor at the University of Montevallo and received a Doctorate of Music in clarinet performance from the Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. Ardovino plans to use the fellowship money towards the creation of new concert pieces, spotlighting the saxophone. She also plans to base compositions on verse composed by women poets from Alabama.

Barbara Lee Black of Tuscaloosa was awarded one of two Media/Photography Fellowships. Black, a uniquely talented visual artist, demonstrates artistic growth clearly evident in her current body of work. Her narratives within her work are both appealing and repellent, and encourage the viewer to consider broader questions relating to memory, identity, place, and death.

Walter Black of Troy was awarded a Craft Fellowship. Black received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Troy University. His work covers an array of mediums and has been exhibited by multiple museums throughout the state. His work shows unique interest with his juxtaposition of organic and geometric elements. His work also combines an industrial aesthetic with a decorative sensibility.

Chloe Collins of Birmingham is the 2013 recipient of the Council’s single Arts Administration Fellowship. She is currently the executive director of Alabama Moving Image Association/Sidewalk Film Festival, Birmingham. She will use the fellowship award to attend the International Film Festival Summit and the Independent Film Project’s Festival Forum. Attending these conferences will allow her to network with leading peer professionals and develop a stronger understanding of the unique challenges facing film festivals in the ever-changing world of film and film distribution.

Chuck Hemard of Auburn was awarded the second Media/Photography Fellowship. Hemard is an Assistant Professor in the Art Department at Auburn University. He received his MFA at the University of Georgia in Athens. Hemard’s work offers the pleasures of places and environmental exploration as well as engaging viewers to consider relationships between humans and the natural world. His work demonstrates a high level of technical skill that illustrates his artistic vision.

Alicia Johnson-Williams of Bessemer was awarded a fellowship in the category of Theatre for playwriting. Her written samples of work are strong with a leaning towards material for young performers and young audiences. The arrangement of the dramatic incidents and the treatment of historical events are relevant and engaging to theatre viewers.

Jessica Peterson of Tuscaloosa was awarded one of two Visual Art Fellowships. Peterson co-owns the Southern Letterpress, a printmaking store in Tuscaloosa. Peterson’s work represents high quality and reflects her skills, knowledge of techniques, materials, and process. She achieves a strong level of community engagement through her work and in multi-faceted ways provides valuable services to the state.

Sudha Raghuram of Montgomery was awarded a fellowship in the Dance category. Raghuram shows artistic quality through her traditional Indian dances and represents great merit in the genre of Bharatanatyam. Her creativity working with young dancers and her longevity as a consummate professional performing artist has been acknowledged statewide.

Monique Ryan of Huntsville was also awarded a fellowship in Dance. Ryan, a choreographer and member of the Alabama Dance Council, shows imagination and great creativity through her work. Her ability to showcase the strengths of each young dancer, no matter their level of technique and maturity, can be seen through her choreography. She demonstrated clear focus for professional career development as well as expanding dance activities throughout the state.

Jessica L. Smith of Tuscaloosa was awarded the second Craft Fellowship. Smith is a professor at the University of West Alabama in Livingston. Her cohesive body of work shows unity and freshness and seems to share some type of deeper meaning, which seems to leave viewers with more questions than answers. Her work is reminiscent of something unearthed or salvaged from a shipwreck and promotes a search for perceived meaning.

Joseph D. Trimble of Montgomery was awarded the second Theatre Fellowship. Trimble shows cultural and historical significance that is deftly constructed and artistically narrated. Not only does his work consist of fabled stories, but Tremble also creates contemporary tales that connect and communicate age old values and morals to a new generation of listeners.

Craig Wedderspoon of Tuscaloosa was awarded a fellowship in Visual Arts. Wedderspoon is an accomplished sculptor and his work displays an excellence in technical skill and content. His sculptures reveal a metamorphosis of form with a clear trajectory for future growth as evidenced by his samples of work and exhibition history.

The staff of the Council, directed by Al Head, administers the grants program and provides financial assistance in arts planning and programming. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

For more information, please contact Barbara Reed at 334-242-4076, ext. 223, or visit our website:

(Photo of Brooke Bullman by Kerry Brooks)

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