Past Grantees

Artistik Approach at Artspace Lofts
photo: Alyssa Kelley

Meet the past recipients of our ArtsAccelerator funding.

In 2017, ArtsMemphis awarded a $25,000 in competitive grants to five visual artists from Shelby County to enhance the artist’s overall work or career.  By supporting individual artists we are able to provide real and accessible support for new work, signal to visual artists that Memphis values their contributions to our region, attract and retain a vibrant creative class in Memphis and contribute to the visibility of our artistic community as a whole, both regionally and nationally.

We had a record number of 96 applicants which were judged by three distinguished judges from outside of the MidSouth area. Sally Frater is the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, Kansas.  Juan Logan is an artist from Belmont, North Carolina and has shown extensively nationally and internationally. Roseann Weiss is Director of Artist and Community Initiatives at The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) of St. Louis.

Click a tab below to learn about each grantee and their projects. 

To learn more about their projects and how ArtsAccelerator affected their careers, please visit our YouTube channel to watch interviews with some of the artists. 

2018 Grantees and Projects

MB is a Texas native performance & interactive installation artist.  With a BA in Art History and a BA in Religious Studies from Rhodes College, MB has continually explored the origins and functions of creativity & community.  Confronting moments of contention, confusion, and chaos, MB curates opportunities for others to get involved, becoming co-creators of a shared experience.  The approachable yet agitating nature of their work is meant to encourage compassionate investigation of all experiences we

might encounter or create.  


Maritza Davila is Professor of Fine Arts at the Memphis College of Art and the head of printmaking, where she has taught drawing and printmaking since 1982. Professor Davila has exhibited around the world and has works in collections in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. She has received awards in the U.S., Puerto Rico and France. Her work is included in collections at the National Library Madrid, Spain, National Library of Paris France, Museum of Art and History at the University of Puerto Rico, National Library of Congress in Washington DC among others.  She is the owner of the Atabeira Press studio and has collaborated with poet Kay Lindsey and visual artist Indrani Nayar-Gall from India on various art projects. She was also visiting artist at University of Bilbao, Spain in 2011. Residencies include Taller ACE in Buenos Aires Argentina on 2011 and the University of Illinois Normal Editions, on 2016.



Wilbert Mays is a musician and performance artist currently based in Memphis, TN. Wilbert's work explores corporeal romanticism, sonic extremes, and the dissolution of genre.  Through his project Cities Aviv, Wilbert has garnered critique from outlets such as the The New York Times, The Commercial Appeal, Pitchfork, The Fader and Wax Poetics. In recent years, he has held solo performances in Memphis at The Brooks Museum and TOPS Gallery. The end of 2017 saw him on a lengthy performance exhibition in Europe, with performances at Praha: Forum For Architecture and Media in Brno, Czech Republic as well as Theater Bremen in Bremen, Germany among others.  In 2015, Wilbert collaborated closely with filmmakers Mati Diop and Manon Lutanie to score their short video piece "Liberian Boy." After its opening at Treize Galerie in Paris, France, "Liberian Boy" went on to be shown at spaces in New York, London, and Los Angeles.  Wilbert is currently focused on multiple upcoming projects including Total Works which he started last year. Total Works is a creative house that operates with attention to output from experimental and outsider artists. 


Andrea Morales is Peruvian-born (1984), Miami-bred and Memphis-based: after years of existing in spaces heavy with the constructs of socioeconomic binaries, her work moves with the hope of observing the things in between. A decade in community newspapers taught her to value both the ceremonial and the mundane while a graduate education in visual storytelling at Ohio University helped her think about giving that life off the printed page. As an independent photographer in the Delta South, Andrea focuses on editorial work through a journalistic and documentary lens.





Catherine Patton is a photographer from Memphis, TN. She graduated from the University of Memphis with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. After working behind the camera in her classes, she became fond of the composition and creation of images. However, her interest in more artistic expression led her from shooting video to a strong interest in still photography.  In her work, Catherine looks for elements that present her subjects honestly and vulnerably in an effort to establish an empathetic relationship between her subject and her viewer. Ultimately, she hopes that her work evolves to inspire further introspection, unearth inspiration, and create meaningful conversation.  Catherine is intrigued by and works to create photography that challenges her to see beyond an image.  Catherine’s work has been published in The Commercial Appeal (print and digital), The Memphis Flyer (digital) and CNTRABN Magazine (print and digital publication by The Collective). She has also presented her work at the Orange Mound Gallery at Fiber: A Tribute to Black Femininity, an art exhibition by The Collective. Her work will also be shown in The Collective’s residency exhibition in April 2018.

2017 Grantees and Projects

Haley Morris-Cafiero | haleymorriscafiero.comHaley Morris Cafiero

Haley Morris-Cafiero's goal with her new project is to solidify her position as a performative photographer in the contemporary art world. Becuase most people saw her first project, "Wait Watchers," in the mainstream media before they saw it in an art context, many collectors and museums will not purchase her work. A second project will reinforce her abilities as an artist and someone who is pushing the boundaries of art.

The new project, "In the Time of Trump," is being considered for collection by the Tate Modern Museum in London. 


Cat Peña | catpena.comCat Pena

Cat Peña will be attending the 2017 Open Engagement Conference which is dedicated to expanding the dialogue around and creating a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. This conference highlights the work of transdisciplinary artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, and organizations working within the complex social issues and struggles of our time.


Christopher Reyes | catandfish.comChristopher Reyes

Christopher Reyes will purchase various equipment needed to support temporary, public, site-specific art and technology installations. This grant will also allow him to experiment and expand his capabilities. 


Amanda Sparks | amandasparks.netAmanda Sparks

Amanda Sparks will complete a new body of work in a timely manner, consistent with her creative output, without being delayed by the financial restraints of costly materials. This body of work will have a direct connection with the current political landscape, addressing perceptions of gender roles and nostalgia at the onset of a new American administration.



Lance Turner | lanceturnerpainting.comLance Turner

Lance Turner will buy high quality, time efficient art supplies allowing him to make a large, specific body of work. This new work will help him gain gallery representation and in turn help him become a full time artist in Memphis. 

2016 Grantees and Projects

Paula Kovarik | paulakovarik.comPaula Kovarik

Paula Kovarik plans to use the grant to purchase a new sewing machine. The new equipment will provide maximum maneuverability. It will also assure a more comfortable work posture, more intricate detail in the work, and the creation of larger works of stitched art.


Lawrence Matthews III |

Lawrence Matthews III plans to put the money towards purchasing materials to create and rent a space to properly do so. The inability to purchase materials has always plagued his creative process. Now out of school with more responsibilities, money is divided even thinner. The funds will go toward creating multiple bodies of work that we believe could take his career to the next level.


Madsen Minax | madsenminax.comMasen Minax

Madsen Minax has been accepted as a visiting artist to the 2016, Berlinale. The Berlin International Film Festival, also called the Berlinale, is one of the world's leading film festivals and most reputable media events.  Funds from the the grant will be used to cover the costs of airfare, food, housing and regional transport while in Berlin for 12 days.


Michael Roy | birdcap.netMichael Roy

Michael Roy will use the grant funds to attend some of the upcoming mural festivals he has been accepted to participate in, including the Montreal Mural Fest and the HUE Fest in Houston. In December he will travel to Miami Basel as well to paint for the accompanying event known as Wynwood Walls. After each festival he plans to stop in cities on the path back to Memphis, bread crumbing the route with his murals. 


Laurel Sucsy |

Laurel Sucsy will use a portion of the funds to purchase all of the materials necessary to create ten 60” x 48” oil paintings, including canvas stretchers, unprimed linen, oil primer, oil paint, and a range of large brushes. She will also use the funds to help offset the cost of childcare. 

2014 Grantees and Projects

Stephanie Cosby | Cosby

This new project, called Cosmos, involves a synthesis of all my previous ways of working. To make this happen I need to carefully craft my studio space, in my home, with a plain backdrop, light and a projector… and strengthen my digital darkroom with more computer memory and access to Photoshop. The ArtsAccelerator Grant is making this possible.


Hamlett Dobbins | hamlettdobbins.comHamlett Dobbins

Funding from ArtsMemphis will also allow me to expand my studio practice to work in a new field in the already fruitful territory of the artist’s book.  Additionally, the small print run (of one hundred copies) will allow me to share the intimate experience of viewing these small drawings with people at exhibitions and through venues that specialize in artist’s books.


Beth Edwards | bethedwards.comBeth Edwards

I am making some of the best work of my 30+ years of painting, and I wish to avail myself of every opportunity to make the work stronger and hopefully broaden its critical audience. The ArtsAccelerator grant allows me to continue this body of paintings utilizing natural elements to make complex and absorbing images. While, exposing the work to new influences and a new audience.


Adam Farmer | avantgauze.comAdam Farmer

Right now; for me, home is where the art is. Glitch has been the ongoing transformation of what was once my living room and is now a collection of murals that are constantly being modified over time. The walls present a visual anthology of the space's history.  While its primary function is a place where artists can have the chance to show work without a fee to do so, the entire space has become an installation piece and continues to evolve over time.


Johnathan Payne |

This grant will allow me to be more supported in art making and it will be a relief to have a proper process in place to photograph, archive, post and display the work I'm currently producing. Having the freedom and resources to complete these things in my own space and on my own time will help me feel more in control of my process.  The grant will certainly help me expand my profile as an artist.

2013 Grantees and Projects

In 2013, for the first time in its 50-year history, ArtsMemphis created a fund for individual working artists in the field of visual arts. ArtsAccelerator will help artists who are at a critical juncture in their work offset expenses related to a project or opportunity that would enhance the artist’s overall work or career. 

Ben Butler |

For me, the ArtsAccelerator Grant provides the support and motivation for exploring genuinely new and experimental work. I will be working in a new medium and exploring a range of new processes in an effort to expand my creative process, and this grant serves as an invaluable catalyst for that expansion. 


Mary Jo Karimnia |

I am thrilled to be among the first recipients of the ArtsAccelerator Grant. This grant mirrors and supports the increased energy and expectancy in the the local art scene. I feel this ripeness in my personal career. Individual artist grants are an essential component of our emergence into the greater scene.


Susan Maakestad |

I am thrilled to receive this grant to rent a studio at The Medicine Factory.  Unlike my old studio I can now view all my work-in-progress, draw and read in the same space.  And every day I get to look out the window at the interstate traffic, clouds and sunsets--my very subject matter existing in real time.  I hope to complete four to six new larger paintings during the grant period.


Brandon Gaia Marshall |

I'm honored to be chosen as one of the first recipients of the ArtsAccelerator grant. I'm happy to be a part of a program from an organization that is willing to invest back into the city of Memphis, in an area where I believe it is truly needed.  I love my community and I love painting murals, so it really is a dream come true for me to be able to obtain funding to do both of those things.  My hope is that after I complete the first initial murals, I will be able to gain enough momentum to turn Orange Mound into an Art Gallery, one wall at a time.


Terri Phillips |

It was truly a highlight of the year to get your call about the grant.  I'm nervous and excited about my project. It's wonderful to have a vote of confidence from ArtsMemphis and the community.

ArtsAccelerator Supporters

ArtsMemphis ArtsAccelerator grant program is made possible thanks to the generous support from Hyde Family Foundations, Dianne and Myron Mall, Metropolitan Bank, and many other generous individuals. 

Additional support is provided through the Community Supported Art program. 

One Gift Helps 80 Arts Groups and Artists

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