Portland potter Ayumi Horie has received a $50,000 fellowship from United States Artists, a grant-making organization that supports artists with fellowships that encourage career development.
Horie, 46, can use the money however she wishes. She is the fourth Mainer to win a fellowship since it began in 2006. Basketmaker Jeremy Frey, poet Wesley McNair and visual artist William PopeL. are the other three.
United States Artists is supported by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson and Prudential foundations, and has awarded more than $20 million in fellowships.
“I feel very proud to be a Mainer,” Horie said. “Maine has such a strong and rich craft tradition, and it’s a state with a small population. To be the fourth Mainer and the second craftsperson to win this award is very humbling.”
Horie is a full-time studio potter. In addition to her studio work, she runs a collaborative Instagram feed called Pots In Action. She has co-organized three craft-based fundraisers, including one that raised more than $100,000 for disaster relief in Japan. She also has collaborated on a public art project called Portland Brick.
“We’re repairing city sidewalks around India Street with bricks embedded with the stories of the neighborhood,” she said. “Making pots is at my core and yet there are many other ways I want to touch people through craft locally, nationally and internationally.”
The grant will help her do that more effectively. She also plans to improve her skills and invest in her future. She’s thinking about using some of the money to buy disability insurance, for instance. “This will help me achieve some things that have been beyond my limit for some time,” she said.
She grew up in the Lewiston/Auburn area.