The five recipients of the 2017/18 Jerome Foundation Fellowships for Emerging Artists began their year of fellowship in November 2017.

In April, Alyssa Baguss, Josette Ghiseline, Sarah Kusa, Joshua McGarvey, and Lela Pierce share insights about themselves and offer updates about their work in interviews by Fellowship Coordinator Melanie Pankau and Gallery Graduate Assistant Zoe Cinel. The fellows' culminating exhibition in MCAD Gallery will open on October 5, 2018.

These artists were selected out of a pool of 249 applicants by a panel of arts professionals that included Naima Keith, deputy director of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles; Bently Spang, multimedia artist, writer, and curator based in Montana; and Yasufumi Nakamori, curator of photography and new media at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Remarking on the jurying process, Bently Spang remarked, "It was gratifying to see the strength of the artwork in this part of the country, although it made it difficult to choose the final five. Everyone is a winner for doing such strong, committed and passionate work!"

This competitive fellowship provides $12,000 awards to each recipient for the production of new work. In addition to having their work featured in a group exhibition at MCAD Gallery, the fellows will have the opportunity to meet with visiting critics over the course of the fellowship year, to have an essay written about their work that appears in the exhibition catalog, and to participate in a public panel discussion. 

The Jerome Foundation has generously supported this fellowship program since its inception in 1981.

About the Artists
Alyssa Baguss’s practice explores mediated natural environments through drawing processes. She is a visual artist and arts program director who works out of Minneapolis. Baguss is a 2015 and 2017 recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and her work has been exhibited in the Twin Cities and regionally, including at the Rochester Art Center, Burnet Gallery, Soo Visual Arts Center, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Rosalux Gallery, and Augsburg College Christensen Center Art Gallery. Read an interview with Baguss.

Josette Ghiseline uses mixed materials and alternative working methods to question conventional ways of making paintings. Her abstract artworks invite the viewer to a dialogue about how we as humans process visual information. An interest in emerging, experimental, and grown materials will provide the foundation for her upcoming artworks. In 2012–13 she studied at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London, and she holds an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She is the recipient of a 2017 Jerome Travel and Study Grant and a 2016 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. Read an interview with Ghiseline.

Sarah Kusa is a St. Paul-based emerging artist who creates sculpture and installations exploring the interplay between vulnerability and power. Her mixed-media forms are rooted in abstraction and investigate ideas of connection, protection, and resilience. She has exhibited her work in Minnesota and nationally at venues including Plains Art Museum, North Dakota; DeVos Art Museum, Michigan; Georgia State University, Georgia; and Eclipse Mill Gallery, Massachusetts. Kusa received a Jerome Foundation Project Grant in 2015 and the McKnight Next Step Fund in 2012. She has participated in residencies at Ragdale, Illinois, and at MASS MoCA. Read an interview with Kusa.

Joshua McGarvey is from Indiana and lives in Minneapolis. He creates works combining video, performance, and installation. McGarvey has previously exhibited at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery in Chicago, and Northern Spark Outdoor Art Festival in Minneapolis. Joshua received his BFA and MA from Ball State University before completing his MFA at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Read an interview with McGarvey.

Lela Pierce is a multiracial black artist born and raised in the St. Croix River Valley of Minnesota. Her installation work addresses the intelligence found in nature and the countless teachings it offers to those who listen. Her paintings are attempts at mapping ancestral healing through experienced and imagined confluences of energy in and outside of the corporeal body. She would like to acknowledge the complexity of doing this work on the colonized land of the Dakota people. Read an interview with Pierce.

About the Jerome Foundation

The Jerome Foundation, created by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972), seeks to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists. The Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit arts organizations and artists in Minnesota and New York City.

Nurturing exploration and experimentation by emerging artists diversifies the seeds of creativity and leads to rich experiences. Central to the Foundation's review of each proposal is an assessment of the quality of the artistic work. The Foundation seeks to encourage the potential for excellence.