June 4, 2020

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama State Council on the Arts

State Arts Council Announces $242,850 in Fellowships and Arts & Cultural Facilities Grants

Montgomery, Ala. – At its June 4th quarterly meeting in Montgomery, the Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded twenty-one fellowships including a new fellowship category for arts educators with a total $105,000 in funding. Also awarded were five (5) Arts and Cultural Facilities grants totaling $137,850 for a grand total of $242,850.  

Fellowships are given to individuals working in arts education, dance, design, media/photography, music, literature, theatre, visual arts and crafts. These awards recognize artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity. Recipients may use funds to set aside time to create art, improve their skills, pursue professional development, or to do what is most advantageous to enhance their artistic careers. According to Jim Harrison III, Chairman of the Council, “Our state is fortunate to have so many artists from every artistic discipline producing works of the highest caliber. Arts educators are utilizing funds provided for the arts in schools programs to ignite the imaginations of students needed in today’s job force.”  

Arts and cultural facilities grants are awarded for planning, design or construction of an arts space. All projects must involve top professionals with demonstrated expertise in urban and/or community-planning, architecture, landscape design or historic preservation. This round of grants will support activity taking place between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.  

The arts and cultural facilities grant program provides support to organizations large and small in order to enhance spaces for arts creation and presentation. In all cases where a grant is awarded, evidence of community support is a key element. Dr. Elliot Knight, Executive Director of the Council said, “This important program continues to provide support for adaptive re-use projects in communities across the state. This year’s support includes the communities of Atmore, Elba, Montgomery, Opelika and Wetumpka. All of these facility-oriented projects reflect important initiatives that enhance spaces where arts programming will impact the community and surrounding area for years to come.”  

These grants are in response to applications submitted under a March 2, 2020 deadline and are awarded for the 2021 fiscal year beginning October 1, 2020 and extending through September 30, 2021.  

Jim Harrison III of Tuscaloosa chairs the 15-member Council which makes final decisions on all grants awarded. The next deadline for the submission of fellowship and arts and cultural facilities applications is March 1, 2021.  

The Council’s next application deadline is September 1. Applications accepted will be for school projects, project grants to organizations, administrative projects, and Folklife Apprenticeship requests. For more information, visit www.arts.alabama.gov. 


The Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery was awarded a $25,000 construction grant for the addition of bathrooms on the main level which will greatly add to the accessibility of the theatre and will enhance the experience of theatregoers. Funds will also aid in the relocation of the gift shop, creating more traffic, thus increasing sales benefiting ASF and local artists whose work is featured in the shop. The bathroom and gift shop overhaul are just two elements of a much broader renovation plan that will modernize and make the theatre more accessible.  

Foundation 154, Inc. in Elba was awarded a $16,250 ​construction grant for the ongoing historic Elba Theatre rehabilitation ​project. The foundation’s use of an out-of-state architecture firm that works pro bono for non-profit organizations is a great model for Alabama arts organizations to follow. Elba’s city leadership and their involvement with Alabama Communities of Excellence, DesignAlabama’s Mayor’s Summit, and Your Town is being utilized to inspire and transform the Elba community. 

The Henry J. Stern Foundation in Opelika was awarded a $21,600 design grant for Phase III of the Art Haus complex. The Stern Foundation has employed a professional design team for this expansion phase, which includes five additional artist studios and to continue the foundation's vision for a community centered around the arts. It serves a diverse neighborhood situated within blocks from a thriving downtown area.  

The Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery in Wetumpka was awarded ​a $10,000 ​planning grant for a feasibility study for acquiring a permanent facility in Wetumpka. They were displaced from their previous location as a result of the devastating tornado in 2019 and are seeking to establish a new space that includes artist studios and a gallery. 

Pride of Atmore was awarded ​a $65,000 ​construction grant for the Strand Theatre complex in downtown Atmore. ​The project includes renovating the historic theatre and the 121-year-old hardware store next door to transform Atmore into a creative hub for the visual and performing arts in southwest Alabama. ​The Pride of Atmore, with its renewed interest in historic preservation, continues to aid the   downtown transformation, thus allowing it to now be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  


Glenera “Glenny” Brock of Birmingham was awarded a literary arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. She is the outreach coordinator for Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. and a professor of writing at Birmingham-Southern College. Brock has a background in journalism, previously serving as editor in chief at Birmingham Weekly and also for Weld for Birmingham, which she co-founded. She received an M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing from Spalding University with an emphasis in creative non-fiction.  

Foster Dickson of Montgomery was awarded a literary fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Dickson is a creative writing teacher at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School.  He received both his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Auburn University at Montgomery. Dickson has written or edited nine books and most recently authored Closed Ranks: The Whitehurst Case in Post-Civil Rights Montgomery, published in 2018 by New South Books.  His essays and articles have been published in numerous print and online publications.  

Lynthia Edwards of Pinson was awarded a visual arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000.  Edwards works primarily in acrylic on board, using vibrant colors in a technique that embraces paint drips, beautifully rendering portraits of women and children of color. Edwards work is rapidly growing in recognition and acclaim throughout the Southeast and is currently represented by galleries in three states. Edwards is not shy about confronting subject matter that is relevant to today's conversations, especially about gender, race, and growing up in the American South.  

Jenny Gregoire of Tuscaloosa was awarded a music fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Her work as an accomplished violinist shows great artistry as she continues to play with multiple symphony orchestras. Gregoire has served as concert master with Mobile Symphony Orchestra since 2001. She is planning a recording project that could advance her career opportunities for solo concert work also serving as promotional material for performance opportunities around the nation. 

Jamey Grimes of Cottondale was awarded a visual arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000.  Grimes explores the sometimes overwhelming and certainly awe-inspiring relationship of the viewer and nature in his larger-than-life sculptures. Grimes was the 2019 winner of the South Arts Southern Prize Fellowship for Alabama. This is his second fellowship with the Alabama State Council on the Arts, having previously been selected in 2013. His large and dynamic pieces represent Alabama on a national scale. 

Joshua Hamilton of Birmingham was awarded a media/photography fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Hamilton's work demonstrates great storytelling abilities with unparalleled technical prowess. His work is simultaneously engaging while bordering on historical preservation work in its attention to details. Hamilton’s upcoming project entitled Born on Christmas that would expand his filmmaking into something more personal as he interviews others who, like himself, share the birthdate of December 25th.  

Christian Hardy of Montgomery was awarded a design fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Hardy’s illustrations showcase a distinct drawing style and he is inspired by other artists who use art to communicate injustices and help communities tell their stories. ​His design work created for the Montgomery Public Art bus design was recently honored by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission with a Bicentennial Legacy Award. Currently Hardy is an art instructor at Lanier High School in Montgomery and wants to further hone his skills in design and printmaking to improve his teaching techniques. 

Luvada A. Harrison of Tuscaloosa was awarded a music fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Harrison has a highly reputable performance history and notable career in academia. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Opera Performance from Florida State University. Dr. Harrison is currently an Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre/Voice at the University of Alabama. She is planning a vocal repertoire concert of music honoring performance trailblazers with works seldom performed in Alabama.   

Chie Hitchner of Montgomery was awarded a crafts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Hitchner’s work is unique, stunning and beautiful to the viewer. She creates her weaving work by hand -- and completely without commercial pattern or the aid of a computer – which nearly requires an advanced degree in mathematics to manage the hundreds of threads involved in a pattern.  With the benefit of this fellowship, she plans to purchase a computer to expand her reach as an artist and allow her to attempt even more challenging patterns.  

Megan Jones of New Market was awarded an arts educator fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Megan Jones, a Vocal Performance teacher at Decatur High School, serves an increasingly diverse student body in her community. She uses music instruction to provide excellence and success for students who may be suffering from numerous anxiety disorders, trauma, homelessness and other social issues. She is intentional in her selection of uplifting repertoire including music that instills hope in her students and others. 

Nabila Lovelace of Tuscaloosa was awarded a literary arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Lovelace, a poet, received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama.  She is a circulation assistant at the Tuscaloosa Public Library and teaches classes in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies at the University of Alabama.  Lovelace’s book Sons of Achilles was published in 2018 by YesYes Books. In 2019 she was the Young Writers Workshop Fellow at The Kenyon Review.  Lovelace works with online literary magazines as co-editor of Divedapper and co-poetry editor of The Offing.  She co-founded and co-directs The Conversation Literary Festival.  Her work has been included in three anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2019 and published in notable literary journals.  

Cindy Miller of Athens was awarded a crafts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Miller's jewelry is beautifully made and impeccably crafted with clear legibility of form and sculptural elements and embellishments. Miller has contributed pieces to exhibitions across the nation including Perdue University and has contributed articles to publications such as Clay Metal Today and Art Jewelry Magazine. She plans to use her fellowship funds to purchase equipment that will expand her teaching practice and to create larger scale sculptural work.  

DeLinda Morris of Toney was awarded an arts educator fellowship in the amount of $5,000. DeLinda Morris, the Visual Arts teacher for Mae Jemison High School in Huntsville instructs with genuine, seamless, and robust methods that apply equity and diversity in her classroom and serves her community. Her real-world curriculum content for students include fashion design and logo development. Her top students contribute monthly to art competitions for Hispanic month, Native American month, Women’s month and Black History month. Morris’ leadership and work benefits from additional funding for arts programs in the school through an arts initiative grant from the State Department of Education, which the school received twice. 

Charlotte Pence of Mobile was awarded a literary arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Dr. Pence is director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at the University of South Alabama. She received her M.F.A. in creative writing at Emerson College and her PhD in English at the University of Tennessee. Code, her forthcoming collection of poems to be published by Black Lawrence Press (June, 2020) was a finalist for the Vassar Miller Prize. Her 2015 book of poems, Many Small Fires, and her 2012 chapbook were also published by Black Lawrence Press.  She has been selected as the James Patterson Fellow at Vanderbilt University for summer of 2020 and was a 2018 Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.  Her poetry has been published widely in prestigious journals including: Southern Review, Harvard Review and Prairie Schooner. 

Sylvester Rickey Powell, Jr. was awarded a theatre arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Powell, a Birmingham native is well known for his passionate performances and gifted storytelling. He attended Tuggle and Wilkerson Elementary School, and Samuel Ullman High School. Upon graduation, he attended Dillard University in New Orleans and Talladega College where he received a BA degree in Voice. Rickey’s work as a sophisticated tune master led him from the hotbed of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, to stages in New York to Brazil, Vancouver to Chile, Argentina to Finland, while performing in venues including the Finlandia Hall, The Broadway Theatre and the Virginia Samford Theatre to name a few. He is viewed as an Alabama treasure in professional theatre and often finds time to participate in works that expand his activities as a social activist. 

Sara Sanford of Millbrook was awarded a dance fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Sanford is a gifted and award-winning choreographer, and for the past fifteen years she has been working as a professional choreographer with the Alabama Dance Theatre and gaining national recognition through Regional Dance America/Southeast. She is currently creating a new work for the American dance world, which shows great potential for exposure outside the state of Alabama.  It is a balletic work that addresses the human condition in times of war in the 20th century, focusing primarily on WWII. 

Christopher Taylor of Huntsville was awarded a visual arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Taylor's work is viewed as simultaneously and impeccably made, culturally relevant, and fresh. Taylor is an Ohio transplant, but has put down solid "Alabama roots" having credited the state with sparking a passion for his continued artistic pursuits. By exploring the idea of spectatorship, from our state’s college stadiums to Talladega Superspeedway to the church down the street, Taylor takes imagery from familiar “venues” and makes them into something exceptional.  

Alicia Thompson of Huntsville was awarded a dance fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Thompson’s work demonstrates an exceptional ability to use dancers in an both artistic and athletic movements. She gives voice to her work through her unique choreography and expressive vocabulary illustrating the African diaspora through dance. As a dancer/choreographer she enjoys creating and performing a broad range of styles and in the process she has discovered that dance can be both healing and entertaining.  

Anna Weinstein of Auburn was awarded a literary arts fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Weinstein is a screen writer and a lecturer in Media Studies at Auburn University.  She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California at Riverside.  She has written scripts for Michael Douglas’s production company Further Films, for Permoveo Productions and Voyage Media.  Her feature-length screenplays have been selected for awards at numerous international and national juried screenplay competitions. She is the founding editor for the book series “PERFORM: Succeeding as a Creative Professional” for Focal Press.  

Joi West of Hueytown was awarded a media/photography fellowship in the amount of $5,000. West studied under Gay Burke at the University of Alabama in 2012, and credits Burke’s influence for her continued passion for photography. For years West has used the medium to explore and document the idea of family; both biological and chosen. She will use this grant to continue her study of the theme of chosen family, photographing and interviewing 67 Alabamians from the LGBTQ+ community for a book and exhibition project.  

Jennifer Winholtzof Adger was awarded an arts educator fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Winholtz, a visual arts teacher at Oak Grove High School in Jefferson County, who demonstrates a passion for providing sequential and peer-assisted arts instruction that impacts her community. Her position requires her to teach for 6th - 12th grade at the high school. Winholtz understanding a need for the elementary school to also include arts, began teaching during her planning period, and eventually developed a program using her high school students to teach, and mentor, elementary school students. This allowed for weekly arts workshops for the younger students. 

The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council, directed by Dr. Elliot Knight, administers the grants programs, produces arts events, and provides technical assistance in arts planning and implementation. The Council receives funding through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.  

For more information, please contact Barbara Reed at 334-242-5153 or visit our website: www.arts.alabama.gov.     

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