This Year's Award
This Year’s Awardee: Nyame O. Brown
Nyame O. Brown is a visual artist born in San Francisco, living in Oakland, working as an Art Educator and professional Artist in the media of painting and installation.
Brown received his BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and MFA from Yale School of Art and Architecture. His paintings and installations address the Black imagination as a space for new ways to perceive Diaspora, not just through unity and similarities, but also by looking at the dynamics of difference to further comprehension. Building narratives like scaffolding around art historical references, Hip Hop, and personal history, he draws on these precedents as a fluid source of reference rather than a fixed and linear projection.
Brown pursues his complex themes through serial bodies of work, sourcing from a rich legacy of folklore, cultural practices and symbols, in which allegories and events interact with visions of future potentiality to make paintings of contemporary black mythologies: “My storytelling functions culturally, and the tradition calls for expanding the idiom through improvisation, riffing, and rupturing. By articulating personal history and African Diaspora-multi-threaded history, without precluding the Western cannon, I strategically locate myself within these legacies while engaging anachronistically to create new connections and associations. Creating new allegories for these characters opens an unexplored space for perception of black people, by whites and blacks.”
He has been the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award, and the Richard Dreihaus Foundation Individual Artist Award, as well as a site-specific public commission for the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, for which he executed a double portrait of Malcolm X and the artist Jack Whitten. His participation in Theaster Gates’ “Black Artist Retreat” in Chicago was followed by residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts (for work on his project “The Mapping of Aaron,” a model for radical Blackness), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Brown was recently honored with a solo Emerging Artist exhibition at The Museum of the African Diaspora, and has held solo exhibitions across the US, notably at the Hearst Museum at St. Mary’s College (“John Henry’s adventures in a Post Black world”) and the West Virginia University Art Museum. He has actively participated in group exhibitions in a variety of spaces in California, Illinois, Michigan and New York, and his work has been curated for inclusion at the Museum of Harlem, NY and the Prizm Art Fair at the Mana Contemporary in Miami. He also took part with Carrie Mae Weems in the symposium “The Interrogation of Forms: The Changing Culture in America” at The Armory in New York.
Nyame Brown considers pedagogy a part of his studio practice, often pursuing varied community engagements in combination with his own work. While Artist in Residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, he experimented with cut paper and painting installation in his series New Black Myths and engaged local youth in creating Afrofuturist symbols as part of a shared work for public exhibition. He has served as visiting faculty and lecturer at colleges including the Chicago Art Institute, St. Mary’s College, and the University of Notre Dame, while also working in varied community settings and after school programs. www.nyamebrown.com
THIS YEAR’S FINALISTS
THIS YEAR’S JURORS
Trish Bransten (Director, Rena Bransten Gallery)
Renè de Guzman (Senior Curator of Art for the Oakland Museum of California)
Lucy Puls (Artist, and Professor of Art, University of California, Davis)
The Tosa Studio Award recognizes one San Francisco Bay Area artist each year, offering financial support and a studio space to help establish and further an arts career.
Sponsored by Victoria Belco and William Goodman, the award will annually provide a promising artist a $10,000 stipend and use of a private studio at 1240 Minnesota Street in the Minnesota Street Project studio building for the award period, with access to the Minnesota Street Project facilities and participation in the creative community.
July 1-June 30
The award is intended to help artists – one at a time – continue to work and forward a productive arts career in the increasingly expensive Bay Area. The stipend and use of a studio located in the Minnesota Street Project will assist by providing time, space, resources, and exposure within a dynamic community of artists and galleries.
The award is envisioned to support a talented emerging or under-recognized artist – with the sponsors initially defining this as someone who does not yet have exclusive gallery representation, has not had the benefit of a major solo show, does not have a dedicated studio space, and does not have an extensive track record of awards and residencies.
The sponsors increasingly see, however, that each of those elements has many “shades” within it, and that even many artists who have had the benefit of previous awards, a solo show, or some form of gallery representation are still in need of the help this award could give them.
The Award Includes:
- Year-long studio residency at the Minnesota Street Project, 1240 Minnesota Street, in San Francisco (please note that this is a studio residency only; housing is not included)
- Award term runs from July 1-June 30
- $10,000 stipend
- Approximately 400 square-foot studio
- Facilities access: 4000 square-feet of communal workspace and resources (including wifi, woodshop, digital media lab, printing presses, kiln, kitchen)
- Engagement with the Minnesota Street Project community
- Participation in Open Studio events
- Access to Minnesota Street Project public events
A $1000 grant will be awarded to each of the four finalists not selected for the studio award (Finalist Award)
- Invitation to apply is by nomination only
- Artists who currently reside in the Bay Area counties of San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Napa, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma
- Students who will be enrolled in a degree granting program during any part of the award period in the are not eligible for the award
- Applicants should not currently have adequate studio space
- Artists must be able to commit to the residency during the award period, and be able to make full use of the studio (this does not disqualify applicants otherwise employed)
- Not be recipient of prior or simultaneous awards greater than the sum of $10,000 at the time of the award (previous school or university scholarships, fellowships, and grants not included)
- Employees of Minnesota Street Project and those with existing studio leases at Minnesota Street Project are not eligible to apply
- Tenured and tenure-track professors are not eligible to apply
- Quality and merit of past work – broadly including conceptual creativity, originality, and artistic excellence
- Commitment to an arts practice, preferably in the Bay Area
- Willingness to engage with and benefit from the opportunity and experience provided by the award
- Economic need (and past support) will also be considered, as will adequacy of any existing studio space, following an emphasis on quality of work
- Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness, and artists will be notified that their applications are complete
- A jury of three esteemed Bay Area artists and arts professionals will evaluate each application and select five finalists
- Finalists will present their work in a 20-minute, in-person interview with the jury
- The successful applicant will be notified and the award announced