Artist Trust, the grant-making and otherwise artist-supporting agency, has announced recipients of the first James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award and the first James W. Ray Venture Project Awards.
The distinguished artist award, $50,000, went to vocalist/composer Jessika Kenney of Seattle. Kenney, according to AT, works “in the realm of new, experimental, metal, electronic, and improvised music. Inspired by both traditional music and experimental methods, she has explored the interpretation and performance” of works ranging from Persian secular court music to Indonesian gamelan. Venture awards of $15,000 each were awarded to Cris Bruch and Amy O’Neal, both of Seattle. Bruch is a sculptor and a previous winner of Seattle Art Museum’s Betty Bowen Award and the Behnke Foundation’s Neddy Award. He’ll use his award to create installations and performances based on his family’s history on the Great Plains. O’Neal is a choreographer/teacher who has worked for the stage, commercials and film, and is a previous winner of Creative Capital, National Dance Project and other grants. She’ll use her award to “create an evening-length dance performance with a cast of B-Boys (hip-hop dancers) around questions and perceptions of femininity and its impact on male behavior.”