Oolite Arts to award $500,000 to Miami-Dade Artists and Art Teachers

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Oolite Arts to award $500,000 to Miami-Dade Artists and Art Teachers:

Applications now open for The Ellies 2021

Oolite Arts through The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Arts Awards, is once again supporting the local arts community through its fourth $500,000 award program for local artists and art teachers. Applications are open now through 6 pm Monday, May 17. 

“At Oolite Arts, our mission is to provide artists with the tools and resources they need to take their careers to the next level. The Ellies are the fuel for bringing their ideas to life,” said Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of Oolite Arts, in a press release about the program. “While the pandemic was devastating for many artists who lost jobs and exhibition opportunities, many have continued to create. We’re delighted to be able to offer The Ellies as a way to provide them with the resources they need to once again get that work before the public.”

This is the fourth year of the program. Following this year’s awards, a total of $2 million will have been invested in over 150 individual artists and art teachers in Miami-Dade County.

Germane Barnes, a Miami-based architect, urban planner and professor who was the recipient of the 2019 Creator Award, is among 11 artists currently featured at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in an exhibit exploring the relationship between architecture and the spaces of African-American and African diaspora communities: Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America.

“The money Oolite Arts awarded me has paid off in dividends and allowed me to be much bigger, much bolder, and much more appealing in my proposal to the MoMA for the Reconstructions exhibit,” said Barnes. “I used the initial funding from The Ellies to produce the first collage in the MoMA exhibit, which deconstructs the kitchen and the porch, and was selected as the official image for the show. I’m proud to be part of the first-ever all black architecture show in the museum’s history.”

To launch the 2021 awards, Oolite Arts is hosting two virtual “Ellies Connect” sessions to highlight works of previous Ellies winners:

Wednesday, April 28 at 6 pm
Artists Reginald O’Neal and Terence Price II will discuss their ongoing Ellies projects, previous collaborations, and how their practices use personal experiences as a source of inspiration. This conversation will be moderated by artist and Ellies Social Justice Award winner Chire Regans. RSVP here.

Wednesday, May 12 at 6 pm
María Martínez-Cañas, 2020 Michael Richards award winner, and Leilani Lynch, curator at The Bass, will discuss the Michael Richards Award and Martínez-Cañas’ upcoming project at The Bass. RSVP here.

Ellies Applicant Informational Sessions
Ellies applicants can join in on two informational sessions. Registration for both events is available online.

Four Award Categories

Submissions are accepted in two categories:
  • The Ellies Creator Awards support working artists with grants of $2,500 to $25,000 to realize a significant visual arts project that will advance their careers. Oolite Arts is looking for bold ideas that speak to our community and our times. These awards are open to all Miami-Dade County artists.
  • The Ellies Teacher Travel Grants provide K-12 art teachers with $5,000 in funds for travel that will ultimately enrich their classroom curriculum. By encouraging teachers to explore and share art experiences with their students, these grants help create the audiences that our museums and arts organizations need to thrive.
By nomination:
The Ellies also offers the Michael Richards Award to a Miami-based eminent artist, and The Ellies Social Justice, to an artist who has made a commitment to working for equality in their art and personal life. Those nominees are by nomination and selected by a jury.

About The Ellies
The Ellies are named in honor of Oolite Arts’ founder Ellie Schneiderman who created the organization more than three decades ago as a place that would “help artists help themselves.” Schneiderman passed away last year at the age of 80.

This year’s Ellies award winners will be announced in October 2021.

About Oolite Arts
Oolite Arts helps Miami-based artists advance their careers and inspires the cultural community to engage with their work. Established in 1984, Oolite Arts is both a community and a resource, providing visual artists with the studio space, exhibition opportunities and financial support they need to experiment, grow and enrich the city. Through its educational programming, Oolite Arts helps Miamians learn about contemporary art and develop their own artistic skills. For more information, visit oolitearts.org

Photo: Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, courtesy MoMA

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