ROCKLAND — The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation has announced awards of $50,000 to artists living and working in Maine.

Erin Johnson received the largest award, a $25,000 fellowship paired with a solo exhibition at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland. Johnson, an artist, activist and educator, is the visiting assistant professor of digital media with a joint appointment in the Visual Arts Department and the Digital and Computational Studies Program at Bowdoin College.

Johnson earned an MFA in art practice and a certificate in new media from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2013. She makes interdisciplinary, collaborative projects that blend documentary, experimental and narrative practices to explore social, political and geographical imaginaries.

“I am so humbled by and grateful for this award. I look forward to creating a new body of work with the foundation’s incredible support. This kind of funding is essential to Maine artists and I’m thankful to EBF for supporting artists where they live,” Johnson said.

Johnson is one of the burgeoning number of artists addressing, through the language of art, the hard issues of the day, said Donna McNeil, executive director of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation.

“She spent her holiday volunteering at the border, she is researching species loss for her next big project and more,” McNeil said. “We are enormously proud of the work she does and we are not alone.”

The jurors – Michelle White, chief curator at The Minel Collection in Houston; Marshall Price, the Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; and Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator at the Whitney Museum in New York City – agreed.

“The work of this artist exhibited not only a strong conceptual foundation but also a high level of aesthetic execution. The videos are well researched and address a number of current issues in a quietly profound and poignant way,” Price said.

In addition to the fellowship awarded to Johnson, the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation gave five $5,000 project grant awards to Maine artists in different genres: Anna Queen; Dylan Hausthor; R.I.P. by Meg Hahn, Jared Haug and Elizabeth Spavento (Border Patrol); Jenna Crowder for The Chart; and Sophie Hamacher for a project called Super(vision).

Ellen Golden, president of the board of directors of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation, remarked that Maine has a vibrant and dynamic arts community, “and Ellis-Beauregard is thrilled to be able to support the efforts of individual artists, helping to bring their work to the broader community.”

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