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Iowa Arts Council Names Five New Iowa Artist Fellows

Jul 26, 2018

DES MOINES – A writer, a photographer and three visual artists have been named 2018 Iowa Arts Council Artist Fellows, each receiving access to professional development opportunities, promotional support to enhance their careers, and a $10,000 grant to support new work.

A panel of of Iowa arts professionals selected visual artists Noah Doely of Cedar Falls, Mary Jones of Indianola and Julia Franklin of West Des Moines along with writer and illustrator Lauren Haldeman of Iowa City and photographer Molly Wood of Des Moines as this year's fellows from a pool of 66 applicants. The five new fellows were honored Wednesday during a ceremony with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg at the State Capitol.

“Iowa has a strong record of supporting the development of talented artists across the state," Reynolds said. "In return, these artists continue to strengthen cultural vitality in our communities. I'm proud to recognize them as our new Iowa Artist Fellows and wish them well as they engage in new experiences over the next year."

“With nearly 6,000 arts-related business that employ some 23,000 people, more Iowans are recognizing the important role the arts play in improving the quality of life in our state," Gregg said. “The governor and I are proud to support artists who choose to build their careers in Iowa and contribute to our communities.”

In addition to grants, professional development and promotional support, fellows also participate in Creative Capital's Core Weekend Professional Development Program, one of the nation's premier artist professional development programs, and will participate in "Meet the Artist" public programs at various arts and cultural venues throughout the state.

The Iowa Arts Council created the multi-discipline Iowa Artist Fellowship Program in 2014 to support professional, active Iowa artists who are at a pivotal point in their careers and who demonstrate exceptional creativity and the capacity to contribute to the excellence and innovation of the arts in Iowa.

More information about this year's Iowa Arts Council Fellows follows:

  • Noah Doely has received national and international attention for his visual artwork addressing the various ways the natural world has been interpreted throughout history with exhibitions at the Steve Turner Contemporary in Los Angeles, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Viafarini in Milan, Italy, and the Des Moines Art Center. "I'm very grateful for the (fellowship) because I have so many ideas to do, if I only had the funding for it," he said. Doely works primarily in photography, but spends the bulk of his creative efforts doing research and sculpting. He's interested in "origins, especially speculative origins" and using photographs as a way to alter perceptions.
  • For Mary Jones' latest project, she walked portions of Des Moines' east side neighborhoods and created a mixed-media exhibit about urban walking, focusing primarily on the city's infrastructure. "That was a solitary adventure," she said. "This time, I'm going to seek out people in the neighborhoods and learn things only they know about their neighborhoods, because they're going to be the ones who have all the stories that can be shared with others."
  • The author of "Instead of Dying," Lauren Haldeman started writing as a girl in Washington, D.C. At 18, she moved to Iowa City to attend the University of Iowa and has stayed for 21 years. "I've made a home in Iowa City," she said. "It's full of makers and crafters and has a vortex of energy fueled by writers and artists and musicians." Her poetry and illustrations have appeared in numerous publications, and she's a former fellow of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She plans to donate 10 percent of her Iowa Artist Fellowship grant to Public Space One and the Center for Afrofuturist Studies.
  • Julia Franklin has been creating art from discarded objects for more than 20 years, telling stories from the objects people leave behind. She said receiving the Iowa Artist Fellowship changed her whole view on her work and career. "It's validated my work and given me permission to keep making work and doing what I'm doing," she said. Currently, she's sifting through boxes of her deceased father's belongings, using his old ties, handkerchiefs and cufflinks to create an exhibit called "Picking up the Pieces." The exhibit was on display recently at Simpson College and will reopen at Graceland University in January 2019.
  • Using only window light and inspiration from Dutch still-life paintings, Molly Wood's photography explores botanicals as metaphors for the natural cycles of life, death and rebirth. As a new Iowa Artist Fellow, she's "anticipating learning so much to take (her work) to a more prominent level and connect with other artists," she said. "The fellowship is a boost of confidence, and I'm excited to meet artists in other cities." By day, she manages photo shoots for Meredith Corporation, and her artwork has been exhibited at universities and museums in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas.

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.