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Iowa Arts Council honors five new Iowa Artist Fellows

Nov 17, 2022

The Iowa Arts Council is honoring five Iowa artists as 2022 Iowa Artist Fellows, an annual award that recognizes Iowa artists who are taking bold new steps in their careers and leading the way in building creative communities.

A panel of Iowa arts professionals selected this year’s five fellows from a pool of 54 applicants. They are: Jennifer Colville, David James “DJ” Savarese and T.J. Dedeaux-Norris, all of Iowa City; Joe Tuggle Lacina of Grinnell; and Tim Olson of Dubuque. 

All five Iowa Artist Fellows receive a $10,000 grant to create exhibitions, purchase equipment, kick-start creative projects and accelerate their careers in Iowa. The fellows also receive in-depth professional training and promotional support from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which organizes an annual “Meet the Artist” series to introduce the artists and their work statewide in 2023.

“The Iowa Artist Fellowship program recognizes exceptional artistic talent, as well as the contributions that Iowa artists make to our communities and state,” Iowa Arts Council Administrator David Schmitz said. “We’re proud to support this year’s fellows as they continue to develop their careers and enhance the vitality of the arts in Iowa.”

The Iowa Arts Council created the fellowship program in 2014 to support leading Iowa artists at pivotal points in their careers. To date, a total of 45 Iowa artists in visual art, film, music, creative writing and other media have been selected for the program, and many have gone on to present and publish their work in Iowa and across the country. The program is supported by an annual appropriation from the Iowa Legislature and by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Here are more details about this year’s Iowa Artist Fellows:

Jennifer Colville of Iowa City is the publisher of PromptPress, a book-arts journal, and the director of PorchLight, a community-centered literary arts salon in Iowa City. She is the author of a 2017 collection of short stories called “Elegies for Uncanny Girls.” She holds an M.F.A from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah.

T.J. Dedeaux-Norris of Iowa City is a mixed-media artist who employs painting, fiber, performance, video and music. Dedeaux-Norris is an associate professor of painting and drawing at the University of Iowa and holds a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles and an M.F.A. from Yale University. Their work has been presented at notable venues worldwide, including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Mission Creek Festival, Sundance Film Festival and Walker Art Center. 

David James “DJ” Savarese of Iowa City is an artist, activist, public scholar, multigenre writer and teacher. He wrote “A Doorknob for the Eye” (2017), co-wrote “Studies in Brotherly Love'' (2021) and has contributed poems to numerous publications and anthologies, including “Unearthing the Concepts That Bury Us,” a forthcoming anthology on disability and dialogue. Savarese presents nationally and internationally on a range of topics and directs the Lives-in-Progress Collective at the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports. He also co-produced a Peabody Award-winning documentary called “Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t Be a Lottery” (2017), which is set in Iowa. He grew up in Grinnell and graduated from Oberlin College with a double major in creative writing and anthropology.

Joe Tuggle Lacina of Grinnell is an artist, builder and designer. He holds a B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an M.F.A. in dimensional practice from the University of Iowa. He works at Grinnell College as the studio art technical assistant and is involved in the Grinnell Area Arts Council. He is also renovating and developing Cupola Gallery, a contemporary art gallery and performance space in Grinnell, and maintains an active studio practice of his own, creating paintings, sculptures, structures and new media.

Tim Olson of Dubuque made his living for 20 years as a technician in photography studios in Los Angeles and Chicago after studying art at the University of Iowa. He moved back to Dubuque, Iowa, with his family in 2002 and completed several community-engagement projects that used large-format photography to connect history to modern life, including the Dubuque-based project “A City at Work: 1912-2012,” which received a 2013 Loren Horton Award from the State Historical Society of Iowa. His latest work uses painting to connect art history to familiar Midwestern subjects. 

More information about the Iowa Artist Fellowship Program can be found at

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.