For Immediate Release
Contact: Casey Blake

5 Arizona Artists Awarded Arts Commission Project Grants to Create New Works

PHOENIX, AZ (December 27, 2011) – In December 2011, the Governor-appointed board of the Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded the prestigious Artist Project Grants to artists from across Arizona, practicing in a variety of artistic disciplines. Offered annually, these grants support the professional development of Arizona artists with awards of up to $5,500.

The Arts Commission remains committed to maintaining support for artists through grants, as it has for 21 years. In addition to the Artist Project Grant, the Arts Commission also makes one Distinguished Merit Award, which offers additional funding support in the amount of up to $2,500 to one recipient. Of the 180 applications received, only 5 were funded, based on grant funding currently available.

The 2012 recipients are: Perry Allen, Kimi Eisele, Logan Phillips, Joshua Rathkamp, and TC Tolbert.

2012 Artist Project Grant review panelists included Stacey Lynn Brown, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL; Liesel Fenner, Public Art Program Manager at Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C.; and Robert Karimi, award winning interdisciplinary playwright/poet, currently serving as Artist-in-residence at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, MN. Vicki Hunt, a Governor-appointed Commissioner of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, chaired the panel.

These awards have been known to springboard recipients into the next level of their careers as artists, in their business of researching, developing, marketing and delivering their creative product. Through their work with communities, in education and in partnership with local vendors, artists stimulate local economies and improve the quality of life for all.

Artist Project Grant Distinguished Merit Award

Perry Allen (Phoenix) — Town of Product. The artist will create a suburban town animated from still-image advertisements, to be projected wall-sized and continuously looping through a 24-hour day, suitable for a range of venues. Allen holds a B.A. in Film and Electronic Arts from Bard College in New York, and teaches film and video at Arizona School for the Arts.

Artist Project Grant Panelists said of the artist: “This artist’s proposed project is conceptually very powerful and overall feasible to accomplish successfully; a very interesting, visionary commentary on cultural consumerism.

Artist Project Grant Descriptions

Kimi Eisele (Tucson) —The Lightest Object in the Universe: A Novel. Eisele will write a novel exploring love, loss, and adaptation in a post-apocalyptic America. Eisele holds a M.A. in geography from the University of Arizona, and her essays and articles about globalization, the environment, health and the arts have been published in Orion Magazine, River Teeth, as well as in anthologies and online news outlets.

Logan Phillips (Tucson) — The Sonoran Strange. Phillips, working closely with collaborators, will write and direct a multimedia theater piece celebrating the varied histories of Arizona. Phillips holds a B.A. in Spanish from Northern Arizona University, and has performed and conducted residencies throughout the United States and Mexico.

Joshua Rathkamp (Gilbert) — In Response: A Collection of Poems. The writer will create a collection of poems exploring single fatherhood through personal and universal fact. Rathkamp holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Arizona State University. A widely published author, he is the director of the Creative Writing Program at Mesa Community College and the Fine Arts Coordinator for the Maricopa Community College District.

TC Tolbert (Tucson) — The Littlest Death. Tolbert will create a poetry manuscript that addresses the violence against transgender people and the challenges they face in their daily lives. Tolbert holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Arizona, currently teaches Composition at UA and Pima Community College, and is also the Assistant Director of Casa Libre en la Solana.

Bill Desmond Writing Award

The Arts Commission is also pleased to announce that Elena Diaz Bjorkquist (Tucson) will receive the Bill Desmond Writing Award for the best nonfiction submission, in the amount of $500. This award was established by Kathleen Desmond to honor her late husband, Bill Desmond, a reporter, editor and nonfiction writer. Bjorkquist’s project, Unsung Women who made Arizona Great, is set within a historical framework in honor of the Arizona Centennial. The project will become a series of monologues that bring to life the diverse contributions of seven Arizona women. Artist Project Grant panelist, Stacey Lynn Brown, the award judge, said of the project, This is a wonderful proposal, and I love the prospect of unearthing the stories of the influential women in the history or Arizona. This is vital and important artistic work.”

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts
One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is an agency of the State of Arizona that supports a statewide arts network. The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports access to quality arts and arts education opportunities for all Arizonans; the development and retention of statewide jobs in the nonprofit arts, culture and education sectors; and increased economic impact in local communities through arts-based partnerships that develop tax and small business revenue.

We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

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To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact the Arts Commission offices at (602) 771-6502, or

Images available upon request.