For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Wilcox

Arts Commission Awards Artist Research and Development Grants to 11 Arizona Artists

PHOENIX, AZ (December 19, 2013). In December 2013, the Governor-appointed board of the Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded Artist Research and Development Grants to artists from across Arizona, practicing in a variety of artistic disciplines. This highly-competitive grant program awards funding to artists in support of project-related research and development. This year, 11 of 74 applicants were awarded $3,500.

The 2013 recipients are: Thomas Eldridge (Phoenix), Pete Goldlust (Bisbee), Paul Mirocha (Tucson), Ander Monson (Tucson), Ann Morton (Phoenix), Jeremy Muller (Tempe), Kelly Nelson (Tempe), Marc Pinate (Tucson), Damon Sauer (Phoenix), Kathleen Velo (Tucson), and Nicole Walker(Flagstaff).
Grantees were selected by a distinguished panel of Arizona residents:
Ruben Alvarez, Phoenix. Co-founder & Managing Director of Molera Alverez, Governor-appointed Commissioner of the Arizona Commission on the Arts
Robert Esler, Tempe. Residential Faculty at Glendale Community College
Laura Kelly, Flagstaff. Project Director at Flagstaff Cultural Partners
Saskia Jorda, Scottsdale. Director of the Taliesin Artist Residency Program at Taliesin West
Logan Phillips, Tucson. Founder of Artspeak LLC
Denise Uyehara, Tucson. Self-Employed Artist and Member of the Tucson Pima Arts Grants Committee
Julie Comnick, Prescott. Studio Arts Faculty at Prescott College
In addition to the Artist Research and Development Grant, the Arts Commission also presented the Distinguished Merit Award, which offers additional funding in the amount of up to $2,500 to one recipient in recognition of a particularly outstanding proposal, and the Bill Desmond Writing Award, which offers $500 to one outstanding nonfiction literary arts proposal. This award was established by Kathleen Desmond to honor her late husband, Bill Desmond, a reporter, editor and nonfiction writer.
Artist Research and Development Grant and Distinguished Merit Awardee

Marc Pinate, (Tucson) — Pinate will develop and workshop a performance merging Tohono O’odham rituals with theater as a means to help the Tohono O’odham nation reflect, resolve, and rejoice in their culture. The impetus for this project came from an identified need for the tribal nation to reflect upon and discuss their perspective on the banning of ethnic studies in Tucson. Pinate is a theater artist, musician and educator. He has taught acting at San Jose State University and in June 2013, he completed an MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.

Artist Research and Development Grant and Bill Desmond Writing Awardee

Ander Monson, (Tucson) — Monson will conduct research and write a nonfiction book about the usefulness of libraries “not just as repositories of information and books, but as electric, living things, in which writers and readers communicate with each other over long spans of time and distance”. Monson is the author of six books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, his work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Best American Essays 2008 and 2013.

Artist Research and Development Grant Awardees

Pete Goldlust, (Bisbee) — Goldlust will produce a series of colorful, biomorphic, translucent sculptures, made from recycled plastic ware. The completed works will be donated to and installed within the Pediatric Center of Excellence in Douglas, Arizona. Pete currently serves as Assistant Director of the Central School Project and is an Advisory Board member for LEAP, a start-up program dedicated to developing experiential learning opportunities for children. His work has been featured in publications ranging from Art in America to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Thomas Eldridge, (Phoenix) — Eldridge will produce a documentary/art video that explores images and text drawn and written by prisoners on the cell walls of the now closed Madison Street Jail in downtown Phoenix. Eldridge is an independent videographer who has produced videos for the Wyoming Chamber of Commerce, the Sheridan Historical Society, Tucson’s Playback Theatre, and Shemer Art Center. In recent years, he has worked extensively with dance groups throughout the state on productions that fuse video with live performance.

Paul Mirocha, (Tucson) —Mirocha’s project endeavors to capture a sense of place by combining written essays with visual art portfolios. The subject of the work is Tumamoc Hill—a cultural and historic landmark, archaeological site, and unique wildland enclave in the midst of urban Tucson. Mirocha has illustrated over 20 children’s picture books as wells as books by modern nature writers, including Jean Craighead George and Barbara Kingsolver. Currently, Paul creates digital paintings for clients in the educational and commercial industries.

Ann Morton, (Phoenix) — Morton will produce pieced-textile portraits of homeless individuals she works with at the Human Services Campus in Phoenix. These large, quilt-like panels will be constructed from discarded clothing and assorted rubbish. As owner, principal and creative director of her own graphic design companies, Morton led projects for an array of clients, including the Phoenix Convention Center, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Phoenix Art Museum, and Westcor Partners. Currently, she is an artist and teacher at ASU and Paradise Valley Community College.

Jeremy Muller, (Tempe) — Muller will collaborate with three musical composers to generate new solo percussion works for live performance and recording. These recordings will be a resource for other musicians and will significantly contribute to the percussion repertoire. Muller is an innovative percussionist dedicated to exploring the confluence of technology and modern performance. He has presented performances, workshops, and master classes throughout North America. Currently, Jeremy is on faculty at Scottsdale Community College.

Kelly Nelson, (Tempe) —Nelson’s project is a book-length collection of poems that traces her uncle’s life, based solely on his 500-page prison record. Her work fuses the narrative element of nonfiction biography with the compression and imagination of poetry into a hybrid form she calls “lyric found biography”. Nelson is a Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University whose work has been published in Common Ground Review, Found Poetry Review, Furnace Review, and Tar River Poetry.

Damon Sauer, (Phoenix) —will collaborate with Julie Anand to investigate and photographically document the contemporary remains of satellite calibration targets within the Sonoran Desert created as part of a surveillance program in the mid 1960’s. Sauer is an artist and educator currently serving as Assistant Professor of Photography at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division. The process he created for memorializing human portraits is featured in Robert Hirsch’s Light and Lens. His work has been exhibited across the country.

Kathleen Velo, (Tucson) —Velo proposes a series of camera‐less photograms made under the surface of water of the Colorado River. The project employs an innovative and complex photographic technique Velo developed to show a comparison of water quality in various water sources. Previous works by Velo are in several private and public collections around the country. She teaches traditional and digital photography classes at Pima Community College and offers pinhole photography workshops locally and nationally.

Nicole Walker, (Flagstaff) —Walker will write essays that combine research-based investigations with lyric vignettes in order to explore the notions of scarcity and sustainability. Walker is the author of the nonfiction book, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, which won the Zone 3 creative nonfiction prize, and a collection of poems titled This Noisy Egg Barrow Street. In 2013, she co-edited Bending Genre: Essays on Nonfiction. She is currently Associate Professor of Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at Northern Arizona University.

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.