Designed to recognize outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists, the fellowships include a $25,000 stipend to enable fellows to spend time on study, reflection, experimentation, and exploration; take advantage of an opportunity; and/or work on a new project. Administered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the McKnight Fellowships for Visual Artists were awarded to painter Erik Benson; Julie Buffalohead, whose paintings, drawings, and prints focus on the Native American experience; Leah Edelman-Brier, who uses photography to disrupt ideals of feminine beauty; artist, black feminist scholar, and educator Tia-Simone Gardner; Monica Haller, whose work explores environmental and human systems; multimedia artist Jay Heikes; photographer Pao Houa Her; and abstract painter Caroline Kent.
The recipients of the McKnight Composition Fellowships, which are administered by the American Composers Forum, are harpsichordist Asako Hirabayashi; Belorussian-American composer Sergey Khvoshchinsky; David Means, director of the Echofluxx Ensemble in Prague and an associate professor of music and intermedia art at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul; and Javanese gamelan performer Joko Sutrisno.
Administered by the Playwrights' Center, the 2016-17 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowships were awarded to costume designer Sonya Berlovitz of Theatre de la Jeune Lune, the Moving Company, Ten Thousand Things, and Jungle Theater; actor Thomasina Petrus, a company member at Penumbra Theatre and Mixed Blood Theatre; and actor Kimberly Richardson, a core member at Ten Thousand Things.
And the McKnight Fellowships for Choreographers and Dancers, which are administered by the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, were awarded to choreographers Megan Mayer, who works with experimental video and photography as well as choreography and dance; Rosy Simas, whose work addresses political, social, and cultural subjects from a Native feminist perspective; Aniccha Arts founder and artistic director Pramila Vasudevan; Hip Hop dancer, choreographer, and instructor Lisa Berman; Christopher Hannon of the James Sewell Ballet; and Chitra Vairavan, a founding member of Ananya Dance Theatre.