Two artists with South Carolina ties have been awarded Fellowships by The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Clemson resident Ron Rash has received a Fellowship for Fiction; Columbia native Paul Rucker has received a Fellowship for Fine Arts. Both are previous South Carolina Arts Commission Fellows: Rash in 1990-91 for Poetry and Rucker in 1996-1997 for Music Performance.
A total of 173 Fellowships were awarded to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation’s 93rd competition. The great variety of backgrounds, fields of study, and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is one of the unique characteristics of the Fellowship program. In all, 49 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 64 different academic institutions, 27 states and the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 27 to 79. The amounts of grants vary.
Photo by Ashley Jones
Ron Rash grew up in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and received a B.A. in English at Gardner-Webb College and an M.A. in English from Clemson University. He is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel Serena, in addition to five other novels, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, The World Made Straight, Above the Waterfall, and The Risen; five collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award, and most recently, Something Rich and Strange. He has twice been a recipient of the O. Henry Prize. He has taught two years of high school, 17 years at a two-year community college and the last 13 years at Western Carolina University.
Photo by Wendy Johnson
Paul Rucker (Baltimore, MD and Seattle, WA) is a visual artist, composer, and musician who often combines media, integrating live performance, sound, original compositions, and visual art. His work is the product of a rich interactive process, through which he investigates community impacts, human rights issues, historical research, and basic human emotions surrounding particular subject matter. Much of his current work focuses on the Prison Industrial Complex and the many issues accompanying incarceration in its relationship to slavery. He has presented performances and visual art exhibitions across the country and has collaborated with educational institutions to address the issue of mass incarceration. Presentations have taken place in schools, active prisons and also inactive prisons such as Alcatraz.
His largest installation to date, REWIND, garnered praise from Baltimore Magazine awarding Paul “Best Artist 2015.” Additionally, REWIND received “Best Solo Show 2015” and “#1 Art Show of 2015” from Baltimore City Paper, reviews by The Huffington Post, Artnet News, Washington Post, The Root, and The Real News Network. Rucker has received numerous grants, awards, and residencies for visual art and music. He is a 2012 Creative Capital Grantee in visual art as well as a 2014 MAP (Multi-Arts Production) Fund Grantee for performance. In 2015 he received a prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant as well as the Mary Sawyer Baker Award. In 2016 Paul received the Rauschenberg Artist as Activist fellowship and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, for which he is the first artist in residence at the new National Museum of African American Culture.
This fall, Rucker’s work will be featured at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in its inaugural exhibition, Declaration.
Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $350 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and other internationally recognized honors. The Guggenheim Fellowship program remains a significant source of support for artists, scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and scientific researchers.
For more information on the Fellows and their projects, visit the Foundation’s website.