BIG NIGHT! A United States Artists Ford Fellowship 2012
2012 has been a red-letter year. First I was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers Circle of the Americas in September 2012. As the year draws to a close, I learn I’m awarded a 2012 USA Ford Fellowship and $50,000 grant. http://www.usafellows.org/fellows. United States Artists gives 2.5 million directly to artists. Thank you, thank you, thank you all for all your support, and thank you sister for belief in my work as an artist and writer, and thank you dear family.
Each year, United States Artists honors 50 of America’s finest artists with individual fellowship awards of $50,000 each.
If I look shell shocked in the picture, that’ s because I am. The photo was taken during the awards ceremony, a gala event at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles December 2, 2012. The celebration was elegant, snazzy, and filled with humble, yet exuberant artists. There were the presentations by various artists, dancers, musicians, and poet Adrian Castro, USA Fellow 2012 read from his work. Emcee Tim Robbins, (actor) gave a heartfelt introduction about the work of artists and the impact on future generations. He said he’d recently attended the funeral of a young pianist who’d first heard Mozart at a very early nine and then told his parents “I think you should buy me a piano.” Singer Linda Ronstadt spoke passionately about the work of Latino musicians and artists in their communities. And OMG, I got to meet actor, poet, and photographer, Leonard Nimoy. He’s one of my lifelong heros.
In the picture at the right, I’m standing beside Edgar Heap of Birds, another Native from Oklahoma and 2012 United States Artists’ recipient. But the main reason I’m shocked is because of the other 2012 winners for literature. I can’t believe I’m a part of this group! No really, I can’t believe I’m one of the 2012 literary winners.
Cantos to Blood and Honey (1997), won the Eric Mathiue King Award from the Academy of American Poets. The New York Times Review of Books selected his second collection, Wise Fish: Tales in 6/8 Time as an Editor’s Choice, noting its “sinuous syncopated verses.” Castro has taught at several universities, including the University of Miami. He is also a trained Chinese medical practitioner as well as a Babalawo, a priest in the Yoruba Ifá divination system.
Known as a fiction writer he became stranded during the outbreak of the Bosnian war while visiting from his native Sarajevo. He writes about displacement and exile, mixing autobiography and fiction. Hemon has published two novels and two collections of short stories. His first novel, Nowhere Man (2002), was shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award. His second novel, The Lazarus Project (2008), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Hemon has received numerous honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2004.
Micheline Aharonian Marcom
Born to an American father and an Armenian-Lebanese mother, novelist Micheline Aharonian Marcom spent many childhood summers in Beirut. Her first book, Three Apples Fell From Heaven (2001) deals with the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman government and was named one of the best books of the year by both The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The Daydreaming Boy (2004), about a genocide survivor living in 1960s Beirut, won the 2005 PEN/USA Award for Fiction. Marcom received a Whiting Writer’s Award in 2006 and is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Mills College and Goddard College.
Renowned fiction writer Annie Proulx worked as a journalist before turning to short stories. Proulx has said that her work concerns “rural working class occupations against a background of social and economic change.” She is best known for second her novel, The Shipping News (1993), which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award (both 1994). Her equally famous “Brokeback Mountain” originally appeared as a short story in The New Yorker in 1997. The story won an O. Henry Prize in 1998, and the collection in which it appeared, Close Range: Wyoming Stories, was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize (2000).
Writer C. E. Morgan’s debut novel, All the Living (2009), won the Weatherford Award as an outstanding work of fiction depicting Appalachia. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway First Fiction Book Award and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. Morgan was selected by the National Book Foundation as one of its “5 under 35” honorees (2009) and was included on The New Yorker’s 2010 “20 under 40” list of best emerging fiction writers.
Below are pictures taken at another lovely event that was sponsored by United States Artists org. We’re at a lovely home on one of the hills outside of Santa Monica on Dec. 3. Claire Lynch is a fantastic musician, wow, what a talent. What a gift it was to meet everyone and see the amazing work of other American artists. One final note on art in America: 94 percent of Americans love art, but only about 20 percent of Americans like artists. If that’s true United States Artists.org is out to change opinions.