ArtsAccelerator Grants

Paintings from "Assembled" at Artspace
photo: Alyssa Kelley

ArtsMemphis is pleased to announce the 2018 ArtsAccelerator Grant recipients!

Since the inception of this grant, more than $100,000 has been invested in grants to 25 local visual artists! This was the first year to dedicate minimally two grants to artists of color and one grant to an emerging artist.  This year's cohort includes early-, mid- and late-career artists, all of whom are artists of color. 

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.

What is ArtsAccelerator?

ArtsMemphis offers five $5,000 ArtsAccelerator Grants annually to visual artists living and working in Shelby County.  The ArtsAccelerator Grants are incentive grants for visual artists who are at a critical juncture in their careers and are intended to deepen and expand artistic work to advance the grant recipient’s artistic accomplishments.  The ArtsAccelerator Program supports artists working in any media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, installation art, performance art, video art, or social practice.

The ArtsAccelerator Program enables ArtsMemphis to demonstrate the value of visual artists’ work to our region by supporting working artists in their artistic practice.  We believe this program contributes to the vitality of our artistic community and helps Memphis attract and retain a vibrant creative class.

2018 ArtsAccelerator Judges

Allison Glenn

Allison Glenn is a New Orleans-based curator and writer, who is currently the Manager of Publications and Curatorial Associate for Prospect 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. Her writing has been featured in exhibition publications for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Prospect New Orleans Triennial, The California African American Museum, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, and she has contributed to ART21 Magazine, Hyperallergic, Pelican Bomb, and Newcity. She has held positions at the University of Chicago, Monique Meloche Gallery, Dorchester Projects, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Hammer Museum.

Senga Nengudi

Born in Chicago, bred in Los Angeles and living in New York City in the 70’s with a year of foreign study in Tokyo, Japan, Senga Nengudi has been a resident of Colorado Springs since 1989.

Active in arts awareness and education since her arrival, Senga has served on a number of Arts organization boards as well as being a founder and founding member of other cultural organizations that focused on diversity and cultural literacy. From1998 to 2008 she was a lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the Visual Arts and Performing Arts department as well as the Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies departments.

Senga Nengudi is a 2010 recipient of the Women’s Caucus on Art lifetime achievement award, winner of the 2005-2006 Anonymous Was A Woman Award and the 2005-2006 Louis Tiffany Foundation Biennial Competition Award. In 2016 Nengudi received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Colorado College and a United States Artist Fellowship.

Nengudi’s disciplines include sculpture, installations and performance.
Using predominantly nylon mesh and found objects, much of her sculptural works mimic in abstract the sensuality and elasticity of the body and psyche, reflecting the toll that inside and outside pressures have on our mortal selves.

Nengudi’s African/African-American heritage insists on responding to the moment. Her work is ephemeral in nature. Her installations are subtle and intimate, involving issues of time and personal change, made out of materials that are discards and commonplace. 

Her current work is interactive in nature, inviting viewers through multi-media installations to be co-participants in her exploration of the human relationship to the concept of time, space, movement and internal landscapes.

With exhibits that have spanned the globe, her work was most recently shown in the 2017 Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy and in a touring solo show “ Improvisational Gestures” that originated at the Museum of Contemporary Art-Denver.

In the permanent collections of the Tate, London, Centre Pompidou-Paris, France, the Museum of Modern Art – NYC, Brooklyn Art Museum - Brooklyn, N.Y., Carnegie Museum of Art - Pittsburgh, Penn., The Hammer Museum - Los Angeles, Ca., Museum of Contemporary Art - Los Angeles, Ca. and Studio Museum in Harlem – N.Y., Nengudi is represented by the Thomas Erben Gallery and the Levy-Gorvy Gallery.

Wassan Al-Khudhairi

Wassan Al-Khudhairi is the Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis and the former Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art where she organized Third Space /shifting conversations about contemporary art. She was invited to be a Curator for the 6th Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan in 2017 and Co-Artistic Director for 9th Gwangju Biennial in South Korea in 2012. Serving as the Founding Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, Al-Khudhairi oversaw the opening of the Museum in 2010 and co-curated Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art and curated Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab.

One Gift Helps 80 Arts Groups and Artists

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