State Arts Council Announces $242,850 in Fellowships and Arts & Cultural Facilities Grants

Ala. – At its June 4th quarterly meeting in Montgomery, the Alabama State
Council on the Arts awarded twenty-one fellowships including a new fellowship
category for arts educators with a total $105,000 in funding. Also awarded were
five (5) Arts and Cultural Facilities grants totaling $137,850 for a grand
total of $242,850. 

are given to individuals working in arts education, dance, design,
media/photography, music, literature, theatre, visual arts and crafts. These
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, pursue professional development, or to do what is most
advantageous to enhance their artistic careers. According to Jim Harrison III,
Chairman of the Council, “Our state is fortunate to have so many artists
from every artistic discipline producing works of the highest caliber. Arts
educators are utilizing funds provided for the arts in schools programs to
ignite the imaginations of students needed in today’s job force.”

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, 2020 and September 30, 2021. 

arts and cultural facilities grant program provides support to organizations
large and small in order to enhance spaces for arts creation and presentation.
In all cases where a grant is awarded, evidence of community support is a key
element. Dr. Elliot Knight, Executive Director of the Council said, “This
important program continues to provide support for adaptive re-use projects in
communities across the state. This year’s support includes the communities of Atmore, Elba, Montgomery, Opelika and Wetumpka. All
of these facility-oriented projects reflect important initiatives that enhance
spaces where arts programming will impact the community and surrounding area
for years to come.” 

grants are in response to applications submitted under a March 2, 2020 deadline
and are awarded for the 2021 fiscal year beginning October 1, 2020 and
extending through September 30, 2021. 

Harrison III of Tuscaloosa chairs the 15-member Council which makes final
decisions on all grants awarded. The next deadline for the submission of
fellowship and arts and cultural facilities applications is March 1,

Council’s next application deadline is September 1. Applications accepted will
be for school projects, project grants to
organizations, administrative projects, and Folklife Apprenticeship requests.

For more information, visit 


The Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery was awarded a $25,000 construction grant for the
addition of bathrooms on the main level which will greatly add to the
accessibility of the theatre and will enhance the experience of theatregoers.
Funds will also aid in the relocation of the gift shop, creating more traffic,
thus increasing sales benefiting ASF and local artists whose work is featured
in the shop. The bathroom and gift shop overhaul are just two elements of a
much broader renovation plan that will modernize and make the theatre more

154, Inc.
in Elba was awarded a $16,250
​construction grant for the ongoing historic Elba Theatre rehabilitation
​project. The foundation’s use of an out-of-state architecture firm that works
pro bono for non-profit organizations is a great model for Alabama arts
organizations to follow. Elba’s city leadership and their involvement with
Alabama Communities of Excellence,
Mayor’s Summit, and Your Town is being utilized to inspire and transform the
Elba community.

Henry J. Stern Foundation
in Opelika was
awarded a $21,600 design grant for Phase III of the Art Haus complex. The Stern
Foundation has employed a professional design team for this expansion phase,
which includes five additional artist studios and to continue the foundation’s
vision for a community centered around the arts. It serves a diverse
neighborhood situated within blocks from a thriving downtown area. 

Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery
in Wetumpka was
awarded ​a $10,000 ​planning grant for a feasibility study for acquiring a
permanent facility in Wetumpka. They were displaced from their previous
location as a result of the devastating tornado in 2019 and are seeking to
establish a new space that includes artist studios and a gallery.

of Atmore 
was awarded ​a $65,000 ​construction
grant for the Strand Theatre complex in downtown Atmore. ​The project includes
renovating the historic theatre and the 121-year-old hardware store next door
to transform Atmore into a creative hub for the visual and performing arts in
southwest Alabama. ​The Pride of Atmore, with its renewed interest in historic
preservation, continues to aid the   downtown transformation, thus
allowing it to now be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 


Glenera “Glenny”
of Birmingham was awarded a literary arts
fellowship in the amount of $5,000. She is the outreach coordinator for
Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. and a professor of writing at Birmingham-Southern
College. Brock has a background in journalism, previously serving as editor in
chief at Birmingham Weekly and also for Weld for Birmingham,
which she co-founded. She received an M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing from
Spalding University with an emphasis in creative non-fiction. 

Foster Dickson of Montgomery was
awarded a literary fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Dickson is a creative
writing teacher at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School.  He received
both his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Auburn University at Montgomery. Dickson
has written or edited nine books and most recently authored Closed Ranks:
The Whitehurst Case in Post-Civil Rights Montgomery
, published in 2018 by
New South Books.  His essays and articles have been published in numerous
print and online publications. 

Lynthia Edwards of Pinson was awarded a visual
arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000.  Edwards works primarily in acrylic on
board, using vibrant colors in a technique that embraces paint drips,
beautifully rendering portraits of women and children of color. Edwards work is
rapidly growing in recognition and acclaim throughout the Southeast and is
currently represented by galleries in three states. Edwards is not shy about
confronting subject matter that is relevant to today’s conversations,
especially about gender, race, and growing up in the American South. 

Jenny Gregoire of
was awarded a music fellowship in the amount
of $5,000. Her work as an accomplished violinist shows great artistry as she
continues to play with multiple symphony orchestras. Gregoire has served as
concert master with Mobile Symphony Orchestra since 2001. She is planning a
recording project that could advance her career opportunities for solo concert
work also serving as promotional material for performance opportunities around
the nation.

Jamey Grimes of
was awarded a visual arts fellowship in the
amount of $5,000.  Grimes explores the sometimes overwhelming and certainly
awe-inspiring relationship of the viewer and nature in his larger-than-life
sculptures. Grimes was the 2019 winner of the South Arts Southern Prize
Fellowship for Alabama. This is his second fellowship with the Alabama State
Council on the Arts, having previously been selected in 2013. His large and
dynamic pieces represent Alabama on a national scale.

Joshua Hamilton of
was awarded a media/photography fellowship
in the amount of $5,000. Hamilton’s work demonstrates great storytelling abilities
with unparalleled technical prowess. His work is simultaneously engaging while
bordering on historical preservation work in its attention to details.
Hamilton’s upcoming project entitled Born on Christmas that would expand
his filmmaking into something more personal as he interviews others who, like
himself, share the birthdate of December 25th. 

Christian Hardy of Montgomery was
awarded a design fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Hardy’s illustrations
showcase a distinct drawing style and he is inspired by other artists who use
art to communicate injustices and help communities tell their stories. ​His
design work created for the Montgomery Public Art bus design was recently
honored by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission with a Bicentennial Legacy
Award. Currently Hardy is an art instructor at Lanier High School in Montgomery
and wants to further hone his skills in design and printmaking to improve his
teaching techniques.

Luvada A.
of Tuscaloosa
was awarded a music fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Harrison has a highly
reputable performance history and notable career in academia. She holds a
Doctorate of Musical Arts in Opera Performance from Florida State University.
Dr. Harrison is currently an Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre/Voice at
the University of Alabama. She is planning a vocal repertoire concert of music
honoring performance trailblazers with works seldom performed in

Chie Hitchner of
was awarded a crafts fellowship in the
amount of $5,000.
work is unique, stunning and beautiful to the viewer. She creates her weaving
work by hand — and completely without commercial pattern or the aid of a
computer – which nearly requires an advanced degree in mathematics to manage
the hundreds of threads involved in a pattern.  With the benefit of this
fellowship, she plans to purchase a computer to expand her reach as an artist
and allow her to attempt even more challenging patterns. 

of New Market was awarded an arts educator
fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Megan Jones, a Vocal Performance teacher at
Decatur High School, serves an increasingly diverse student body in her
community. She uses music instruction to provide excellence and success for
students who may be suffering from numerous anxiety disorders, trauma,
homelessness and other social issues. She is intentional in her selection of
uplifting repertoire including music that instills hope in her students and

Nabila Lovelace of Tuscaloosa was
awarded a literary arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Lovelace, a poet,
received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama.  She
is a circulation assistant at the Tuscaloosa Public Library and teaches classes
in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies at the University of Alabama. 
Lovelace’s book Sons of Achilles was published in 2018 by
Books. In 2019 she was the Young Writers Workshop Fellow at The Kenyon
Review.  Lovelace works with online literary magazines as co-editor of Divedapper
and co-poetry editor of The Offing.  She co-founded and co-directs
The Conversation Literary Festival.  Her work has been included in three
anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2019 and published in notable
literary journals. 

Cindy Miller of Athens
was awarded a crafts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Miller’s jewelry is
beautifully made and impeccably crafted with clear legibility of form and
sculptural elements and embellishments. Miller has contributed pieces to
exhibitions across the nation including Perdue University and has contributed
articles to publications such as Clay Metal Today and Art Jewelry
She plans to use her fellowship funds to purchase equipment that
will expand her teaching practice and to create larger scale sculptural

of Toney was awarded an arts educator
fellowship in the amount of $5,000.
Morris, the Visual Arts teacher for Mae Jemison High School in Huntsville
instructs with genuine, seamless, and robust methods that apply equity and
diversity in her classroom and serves her community. Her real-world curriculum
content for students include fashion design and logo development. Her top
students contribute monthly to art competitions for Hispanic month, Native
American month, Women’s month and Black History month. Morris’ leadership and
work benefits from additional funding for arts programs in the school through
an arts initiative grant from the State Department of Education, which the school
received twice.

Charlotte Pence of Mobile was awarded
a literary arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Dr. Pence is director of
the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at the University of South Alabama. She
received her M.F.A. in creative writing at Emerson College and her PhD in
English at the University of Tennessee. Code, her forthcoming collection
of poems to be published by Black Lawrence Press (June, 2020) was a finalist
for the Vassar Miller Prize. Her 2015 book of poems, Many Small Fires,
and her 2012 chapbook were also published by Black Lawrence Press.  She
has been selected as the James Patterson Fellow at Vanderbilt University for
summer of 2020 and was a 2018 Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. 
Her poetry has been published widely in prestigious journals including: Southern
, Harvard Review and Prairie Schooner.

Sylvester Rickey Powell, Jr. was
awarded a theatre arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Powell, a Birmingham native is well known for his passionate performances and
gifted storytelling. He
attended Tuggle and Wilkerson Elementary School, and Samuel Ullman High School. Upon graduation, he attended Dillard
University in New Orleans
and Talladega College where he received a BA
degree in Voice
. Rickey’s work as a
sophisticated tune master led him from the hotbed of the Civil Rights Movement
in Birmingham, to stages in New York to Brazil, Vancouver to Chile, Argentina
to Finland, while performing in venues including the Finlandia Hall, The
Broadway Theatre and the Virginia Samford Theatre to name a few. He is viewed
as an Alabama treasure in professional theatre and often finds time to
participate in works that expand his activities as a social activist.

Sara Sanford of
was awarded a dance fellowship in the amount
of $5,000. Sanford is a gifted and award-winning choreographer, and for the
past fifteen years she has been working as a professional choreographer with
the Alabama Dance Theatre and gaining national recognition through Regional
Dance America/Southeast. She is currently creating a new work for the American
dance world, which shows great potential for exposure outside the state of
Alabama.  It is a balletic work that addresses the human condition in times of
war in the 20th century, focusing primarily on WWII.

Christopher Taylor of
was awarded a visual arts fellowship in the
amount of $5,000. Taylor’s work is viewed as simultaneously and impeccably
made, culturally relevant, and fresh. Taylor is an Ohio transplant, but has put
down solid “Alabama roots” having credited the state with sparking a
passion for his continued artistic pursuits. By exploring the idea of
spectatorship, from our state’s college stadiums to Talladega Superspeedway to the
church down the street, Taylor takes imagery from familiar “venues” and makes
them into something exceptional. 

Alicia Thompson of
was awarded a dance fellowship in the amount
of $5,000. Thompson’s work demonstrates an exceptional ability to use dancers
in an both artistic and athletic movements. She gives voice to her work through
her unique choreography and expressive vocabulary illustrating the African
diaspora through dance. As a dancer/choreographer she enjoys creating and
performing a broad range of styles and in the process she has discovered that
dance can be both healing and entertaining. 

Anna Weinstein of Auburn was awarded
a literary arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Weinstein is a screen
writer and a lecturer in Media Studies at Auburn University.  She received
an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts at the
University of California at Riverside.  She has written scripts for
Michael Douglas’s production company Further Films, for
Productions and Voyage Media.  Her feature-length screenplays have been
selected for awards at numerous international and national juried screenplay
competitions. She is the founding editor for the book series “PERFORM:
Succeeding as a Creative Professional” for Focal Press. 

of Hueytown was awarded a media/photography
fellowship in the amount of $5,000. West studied under Gay Burke at the
University of Alabama in 2012, and credits Burke’s influence for her continued
passion for photography. For years West has used the medium to explore and
document the idea of family; both biological and chosen. She will use this
grant to continue her study of the theme of chosen family, photographing and
interviewing 67 Alabamians from the LGBTQ+ community for a book and exhibition

Adger was awarded an arts
educator fellowship in the amount of $5,000.
a visual arts teacher at Oak Grove High School in Jefferson County, who
demonstrates a passion for providing sequential and peer-assisted arts instruction
that impacts her community. Her position requires her to teach for 6th – 12th
grade at the high school.
understanding a need for the elementary school to also include arts, began
teaching during her planning period, and eventually developed a program using
her high school students to teach, and mentor, elementary school students. This
allowed for weekly arts workshops for the younger students.

The Alabama State Council on the
Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council,
directed by Dr. Elliot Knight, administers the grants programs, produces arts
events, and provides technical assistance in arts planning and implementation.
The Council receives funding through an annual appropriation from the Alabama
Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal

more information, please contact Barbara Reed at 334-242-5153 or visit our