Philadelphia--13 artists representing six counties in the Delaware Valley have been named 2008 Leeway Transformation Award recipients, the foundation announced today.
"I am so proud of this year's Transformation Awardees as they represent some of the most accomplished individual artists in the Philadelphia area," says foundation Executive Director Denise M. Brown. "Their commitment to social change and the breadth and depth of their artistic work is exciting, setting an example for our region and the country."
The Transformation Awards are granted annually to women and trans artists who have a demonstrable practice of art and social change. The 2008 awards were made to a diverse group of artists working in a wide range of disciplines including poetry, folk art, and painting. The $15,000 award is unrestricted-no project is required.
The goal of Leeway's Transformation Award is to recognize women and trans artists who create art for social change that impacts a larger group, audience, or community; and have been creating art for social change for the past five years or more, indicating a long-term commitment to this work.
A national panel consisting of artists and cultural workers convened to review applications and work samples in two stages. The 2008 panel consisted of emcee/activist Ilana "Invincible" Weaver, filmmaker and writer Jacquie Jones, visual artist and arts educator Jenifer Wofford, social entrepreneur Martha Diaz, and performance artist Sara Felder (LTA '07). Acclaimed playwright, spoken word artist and activist Rha Goddess facilitated the second stage.
The 13 Transformation Awardees, selected out of 38 finalists, are:
Amanda Whittenberger of Southwest Philadelphia, Film & Video
Ann Marie Kirk of The Woods, Poetry and Photography
Betsy Z. Casañas of North Philadelphia, Visual Arts
Desi P. Shelton-Seck of South Camden, Theater
Germaine Ingram of Francisville, Dance
Keiko Miyamori of Art Museum, Visual Art
Kinyozi-Yvette Smalls of West Philadelphia, Folk Art
Michele Byrd-McPhee of Washington Square, Dance
Michelle Angela Ortiz of Bella Vista, Painting
Roko Kawai of Mount Airy, Dance
Suzi Nash of Brewerytown, Music and Film & Video
Ursula Rucker of Germantown, Poetry
Valerie Harris of West Philadelphia, Literature
The Leeway Foundation's grant making programs honor women and transgender artists for their ability to create social change through their artistic and cultural work. The foundation is committed to art making as an integral part of social change, movement building, and anti-oppression work where Leeway is accountable, accessible, part of, and governed by the communities Leeway's programs support.