Two Rhode Island artists and one scholar were recently awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards in the arts, humanities and sciences. The Rhode Islanders are Forrest Gander, poet from Barrington; Andrew Stein Raferty visual artist and printmaker from Providence; and Deborah Cohen, British history scholar from Providence.
In all, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation awarded 190 Fellowships to artists, scientists, and scholars from the United States and Canada , with awards totaling $8,200,000. The successful candidates in this 84th annual competition were chosen from a group of more than 2,600 applicants.
Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, applauded the choice of these extraordinary Rhode Islanders. "Our state is proud to be well represented in the list of 2008 Guggenheim fellows," said Rosenbaum. "This is another indication of the artistic and intellectual excellence which we can point to with pride."
According to President Edward Hirsch of the Guggenheim Foundation, since its establishment in 1925 the Foundation has granted more than $265 million in Fellowships to almost 16,500 individuals. Scores of Nobel, Pulitzer, and other prize winners grace the roll of Fellows, including Ansel Adams, W. H. Auden, Aaron Copland, Martha Graham, Langston Hughes, Henry Kissinger, Vladimir Nabokov, Isamu Noguchi, Linus Pauling, Philip Roth, Paul Samuelson, Wendy Wasserstein, Derek Walcott, James Watson, and Eudora Welty.
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency, supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. For more information on RISCA and its programs, please visit www.arts.ri.gov.