Artist Fellowships Presented to 5 Santa Monica Residents

By Jack Simon

Five local artists have been awarded grants from the Santa Monica Artist Fellowship program. Two artists were presented with $16,000 Artist Fellowships while three received $4,200 Project Fellowships.

This year, the Santa Monica Arts Commission created the Kate Johnson Digital Arts Fellowship in honor of the beloved local filmmaker and digital media artist who passed in 2020. This new award supports artists in the electronic and/or digital disciplines.

The 2021 Artist Fellows include choreographer Jacob Jonas and songwriter and visual artist Phranc. Project Fellows are filmmaker Yule Caise, visual artist Debra Disman and artist Jody Zellen, receiving the inaugural Kate Johnson Digital Arts Fellowship.

"I am grateful to have this honor and the acknowledgment of our work," says Artist Fellow and choreographer Jacob Jonas. "Being born and raised in Santa Monica, it means the world to have the City support the arts and our impact globally."

"It's hard to express how much this means to me as an artist, to be recognized by my home city of Santa Monica for past and present work on James Baldwin," says Project Fellow and filmmaker Yule Caise. "I plan to invite a group of local youth to participate in my development process to give back to the Santa Monica community that has been so supportive of me thus far."

The Artist Fellowship program was launched in 2009 as part of the city's Creative Capital Cultural Plan. The program provides a platform for both emerging and established artists and reinforces residents' long-standing regard for creativity and innovation, city officials said.

This year's review panel included: Negin Singh, former Executive Director of Santa Monica Pier; Tomás Benitez, former member of L.A. County Arts Commission and former Executive Director of Self Help Graphics; visual artist Max King Cap; Norman Frisch, former Getty Museum Performing Arts specialist and dramaturg; and scholar and writer Heather Dundas.


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