The Cultural Council created the Artist Innovation Fellowship Program for artists across all disciplines in order to honor and support the creative individuals who form the core of Palm Beach County’s cultural sector.
The Artist Innovation Fellowship is unique among professional development opportunities as it focuses on personal creative growth and the belief that an entire community will benefit through investments in creative individuals. The program is designed to address the pursuit of innovation in either existing avenues of creative expression or through the pursuit of new ideas and projects without the constraints of budgets or specific project outcomes.
The Artist Innovation Fellowship Program has expanded to now include funding for six $7,500 fellowships in 2022. Each fellow will have one year to complete his/her fellowship activities. The program culminates with an exhibition and performance showcase at the Cultural Council’s headquarters in Lake Worth Beach in 2023.
Selected by a regional panel of discipline-specific arts professionals, applicants are evaluated according to: the quality of the applicant’s artistic work, the strength of their proposed fellowship activities and its relation to their work, and the intended impact on the applicant and his/her work. Fellowships are awarded to applicants who demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence.
Through a generous grant from the Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation, the Council awarded its first five $7,500 Artist Innovation Fellowships in 2020. For information on these inaugural recipients and their work, visit the 2020 Artist Innovation Fellowship page.
Meet the 2022 Fellows
Elizabeth who everyone knows as Beth has been living and working in Palm Beach County since 1990 when she first came to work for Theatre Club of the Palm Beaches. That theatre eventually became Florida Stage and in her time there, she had the opportunity to premiere 16 new plays and that cemented her dedication to the arts in Palm Beach County. Throughout Florida she has acted in numerous productions including Palm Beach Dramaworks, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Caldwell Theatre, Asolo, Riverside Theatre, Arts Garage, Theatre Lab, Mosaic, Actors’ Playhouse, City Theatre with Summer Shorts, Gablestage, Theatre Zone, Gulfshore Playhouse, American Stage, Theatre West, Royal Palm and Jupiter Dinner Theatres, Key West Theatre Festival, Women’s Theatre Project, and others. Beth has been nominated several times and received the Carbonell Award 4 times for her acting as well as the Frank Prize and a Silver Palm. For 30 years she called Lake Worth home and now resides in West Palm Beach. She thanks you, patrons of the arts, for giving her an artistic home and thanks the Cultural Council for making her next creative phase possible.
“In the last months I’ve been accumulating a lot of material. I have three anthologies of the Great American Songbook—The Composers, The Singers, and Jazz—which have provided a treasure trove of songs that I have culled through and narrowed down my choices. I am particularly looking at songs from the later 1930s and through the 40s. I’m looking to find a balance of uptempo and ballads.
I also have ordered and received two books of photographs documenting the Japanese internment camps as well as a book on the history of the camps and also a firsthand account of someone who lived through the internment. My focus has become more on the internment camps in the U.S. and less on the concentration camps in Europe. I’m still deciding if I want to use both or just focus on America. I am leaning in that direction because I believe it’s a subject that has not been explored enough in our modern culture.
I have also spoken to someone who will be creating music charts for me for the songs I choose for the piece. When I know more about how many songs I want, then I’ll know how many instruments. Next step will be to gather the musicians and record. At least some of the songs will be recorded. I think for the presentation to the public, I will perform live a few songs but the rest will be in the video.
I have also contacted and talked with a videographer to help me put this all together for a visual and audio presentation.
Part of my process is to bring other people in. I am a collaborator at heart and after these past 2 years, I would like to spread the wealth a little bit where I can with other artists. My fellowship will not only benefit my work but that of others.”
“I am a self-taught artist born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s immersed in the cultural and civil rights movement of the time. My years of reading the works of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and other cultural icons gave me an appreciation for my culture and desire to express it through my art. As a child I created collages and my greatest influence was Romare Bearden. When I began to create dolls in the early ’90s I saw them as another form of collage/assemblage. A few years after I began to create dolls I was exposed to the work of quilter Faith Ringgold. It was her work that enabled me to see quilting as a viable medium to tell the stories in my heart. Quilting is a medium that I am continuing to grow in both in my method of storytelling a techniques that I incorporate. I create art quilts, dolls, and mixed media works that tell the story of my heritage as an African-American. My work includes historic and cultural traditions from both America and Africa. Traditional and contemporary African textiles are used in my work. As well as textiles that I create by dyeing, sun printing and appliqué. I see my work as contemporary folk art.”
“My plans for the fellowship got off to a great start. Doing research for the pieces I will be creating was very important to me and reading is a gateway to my creativity. The theme that I settled on is the divinity of Black life. So in January I ordered a few books that I felt would help me. The books that I ordered were: African Narratives Of Orishas, Spirits, and other Deities; Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature; Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off: A Domestic Rap by Verta Mae; Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens: The Divine Feminine in African Religious Traditions; and Black Collagists: The Book. The reading, taking notes, and sketching out stuff has been on going and shaping the work I’m creating.
In February I added an email marketing plan to my website. This has enabled me to create a monthly newsletter that I am proud of. I’m connecting with collectors and supporters of my work with monthly updates. The newsletters have generated more sales and inquiries regarding my work and each month my subscribers have grown. I also like the discipline of putting out something on a monthly basis.
In March I traveled to Maryland and spent a week with my dear friend Janet Green who is a master quilter. With her I worked on my technical quilting skills, free arm quilting, shopped for a long-arm sewing machine and upgraded some of my quilting tools. Also in March I hired a videographer to film a series of how-to videos for my most popular Textile Portrait Class. In April I officially launched Textile Portrait Class On Demand the response has been great!
I am planning trips to mentor with Fiber artists Gwendolyn Aqui- Brooks and Laurin Austin during the Summer after I’ve gotten a little further along on some quilt tops. I am definitely enjoying the journey.”
Driven by a passion to create art through a unique vision and set of skills collected over the past two decades, Henriett Michel created her own mural and fine arts company. As a child in Budapest, Hungary, Henriett spent most of her time sketching the world around and within her. Recently, Henriett has been switching back and forth between figurative and large expressionist abstract paintings, while simultaneously creating figurative clay sculptures on the side. Her paintings are inspired by nature’s free spirit which she expresses through wild brush strokes using organic gestures and rhythmic vivid colors. Her figurative sculptures on the other hand, are inspired by and based on sketches she drew back in her childhood going back over 30 years ago. Her sculptures represent difficult personal relationships both past and present; the contemporary figures systemically convey the difficult and intense emotions of fear, degradation, shame, loneliness, and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
“I’m so excited and thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of this program. When I sat among my fellow recipients at the fellowship gathering for the first time, I felt so empowered. Not only because I could feel a sense of community support, but also because we were all women! It has inspired a slight shift to the overall theme of my body of work to that of the unique experiences that are inherent to womanhood and the importance of supporting one another. Especially in these times where it seems the world is continuing to silence our voice.
For the last few months, I’ve been researching and experimenting with new medium combinations surrounding a single model figure which will serve as my template for future creations throughout the year. I spent more effort on preparations than I anticipated, but I feel using this method will ultimately pay off as these will come out much faster than previous project creations, I have made in years past. The experimentation I’ve been conducting mostly involves mixing and combining different pre-colored porcelain as well as coloring, texturing, and molding resin. I’m interested to see how these materials combine with more porous ones like cement. I’ve been slow to test fire my pieces to this point, but I have plans to put things in high gear now.
Currently I have several experimental test pieces in the kiln to see how my new glazes interact with the many different surfaces I’ve created. While I’m waiting on some of my experimental firings, I have signed up for several glass and live drawing classes that begin in the next few weeks. I want to continue experimenting with my understanding of different materials not often used in modeling/sculpting work to see how I can incorporate them into my designs. I also want the opportunity to work with live models through the drawing classes to refine my skill and continue to explore the human form for my designs.”
Yvette is a Detroit, Michigan native who hails from a family of musicians, including a father who played guitar and a mother who played drums. Her general repertoire includes jazz standards, bebop, and Latin jazz. She performs internationally and has sat in several times with jazz orchestra The Cotton Club All Stars at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. She has also sat in with Latin music artist, Tito Puente, Jr., the late saxophonist David Fathead Newman, family members of Celine Dion, and band members of Spyro Gyra—Jay Beckenstein and Tom Schuman. Yvette resides in South Florida where she performs extensively, including performances at the Kravis Center, Boca Black Box, and the Cultural Council.
“In April, I interviewed Dr. Joan Cartwright, who is the founder of Women in Jazz South Florida. She is also an international jazz vocalist and author of several books on jazz and has performed with many jazz greats. My questions to her pertained to the sub-genre of Jazz-bebop.
I have also done research on the history of bebop and the artists who were instrumental (pun not intended) in the formation of bebop.
During my research, I have chosen the songs that I will feature on the tribute to bebop CD. I am in the process of writing lyrics for most of the songs, which were originally instrumental compositions. The title of the CD will be Autumn Sun.”
Shanique Scott creates choreography that infuses hip-hop, ballet, jazz, and lyrical movements to the latest contemporary gospel tunes. Her choreography is exhilarating and weaves together piercing, elliptical observations. A native of South Bay, Florida, Shanique has offered a program of master classes and workshops for young dancers that provide instruction and high-level performance. Scott also has brought her choreographic talents to a variety of prominent individuals and companies throughout the world. Scott conceptualized and administered a 7-week dance module for implementation in Palm Beach County public schools and community-based arts and general programs serving middle school aged youth, while facilitating workshops and seminars for local artists. She choreographs original works and trains dancers for performances at Prime Time, Inc.’s contracted sites in western Palm Beach County.
“This process of creating for the fellowship has been both exciting and indecisive for me due to the many ideas that are going through my mind. I’ve decided to go with four dancers due to the space. So far, I have choreographed short snippets of lyrical, modern, and hip-hop dance to create a great mixture of songs, rhythm and movement. It’s like I have time to explore the growth of my dancers as well as really think, breathe, and create with ease during this process. Although I’m a bit indecisive at times of what this piece of work will actually look like. All and all, it’s going well and again I am excited of the outcome!”
Carin Wagner graduated with a degree in Advertising Design from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, winning their Angelo DiVincenzo Life Drawing award of a full term scholarship twice. Wagner works predominately in oil on canvas, with a message of environmental protection at its core. Currently she is photographing and painting the Vulnerable and Vanishing trees of the United States. This is a slow process as each painting takes many months, but the need to protect our trees is urgent. Carin has been an invited speaker at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Cornell Museum in Delray Beach, and the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County. Her work has been featured multiple times in American Art Collector magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, and Realism Today.
“Since receiving the Artist Innovation Fellowship grant I have finished my 16-month painting of the Blue Ash. This painting took an incredible amount of focus and attention to detail, capturing the complexity of the bark, as well as the spiral formation of the groupings of leaves- thousands of leaves had to be painted one by one as opposed to a more rapid grouping which could then be refined. Finally at the end, I painted the Emerald ash borer in its bark. This beetle is decimating millions of these beautiful trees nationwide. This is the third painting I have completed for this project. Below is a video of the progress.
I have gathered all of the references to start painting my American chestnut. I have traveled to North Carolina 4 times to photograph this critically endangerd iconic American tree. The first time, I had the help of Jon Taylor from the American Chestnut Foundation. It was on a very steep slope, quite a way off the beaten path, with a lot of decomposing leaves on a slippery substrate. Scrambling to stay upright, I photographed it from as many angles as possible. I returned to capture it again when I decided on the format of my ghost forest-when I realized I needed a bare branched image. I photographed it in spring, summer, fall and winter, working hard to capture its full glory- finally settling on a number of photos from fall to use as my references.
I am still working with my photo editors on more ghost trees, with varying stages of completion. Each tree needs to be carefully removed from its background and then reversed so as to show the tree in negative- extracted from the forest, and then faded from front to back to provide a truly ghost-like image. I have printed one as an example so far.
I am preparing for a trip to California from the 10th of May through the 24th to photograph 7 more endangered trees. Catalina mahogany, Torrey pine, Monterey pine, Whitebark pine, Santa Cruz cypress, Sequoia sempervirens and Sequoia giganteum. Two of them are on islands off the coast of California which require boat trips. The Catalina mahogany will require the assistance of a botanist from the Catalina Conservancy to find. I worked hard to get permission to photograph this tree. The only location in the world is Catalina Island and the trees are in an undisclosed location far from any habitation.
Thank you for the funding to help bring this project to life.”
Application & Selection Process
The Council offered free workshops in across Palm Beach County to provide information on building successful applications, the program timeline, grant-writing tips, and more. Applications were evaluated according to: the quality of the applicant’s artistic work, the strength of their proposed fellowship activities and its relation to their work, and the intended impact on the applicant and his/her work.
Fellowships were awarded to applicants who demonstrated a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment and artistic excellence. A regional panel of discipline-specific creative professionals evaluated the applicants and submitted their selections to the Cultural Council’s board of directors for approval.
2022 Selection Panel
- Gary Cadwallader
Director of Education and Community Management, Palm Beach Dramaworks, West Palm Beach
- Steven Caras
Renowned Dance Photographer, Guest Speaker, Arts Consultant, Philanthropist, and Educator
- Phillip Dunlap
Director, Broward County Cultural Division
- Jamnea Finlayson
Owner, JF Gallery, West Palm Beach