Nancy Andrews has advice for frustrated artists: Never give up on yourself or your art.

Andrews, who chairs the studio arts program at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, has received this year’s $25,000 Ellis-Beauregard Fellowship in the Visual Arts. Andrews makes films, drawings, music and objects, and has received numerous grants and fellowships during a 40-year career in the arts.

The fellowship for Maine visual artists is given annually by the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation of Rockland. Andrews of Mount Desert said she was overwhelmed when the foundation’s executive director, Donna McNeil, and Timothy Peterson, executive director of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, called with the news. As part of the award, the winning artist receives an exhibition at CMCA.

I was overwhelmed with emotion, totally choked up and couldn’t speak for a minute or two,” she said in a statement. “To say I am thrilled is an understatement. After making art for 40 years, I sometimes wonder if it is time to hang up my spurs and only make art for me and my friends, but to have this kind of opportunity and encouragement is a game-changer for me.”

Artist Nancy Andrews of Mount Desert has won the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation fellowship. Courtesy of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation

She said the award reinvigorated her, and already she has begun thinking how best to use the space at CMCA for her installation.

“My films, drawings, sculptures and audio work has often been inspired by trauma and isolation, mixed with humor. These are themes that are probably resonating with folks these days,” she wrote. “The fellowship provides the support, plus the means to get the work seen, which is so key. I want to encourage other artists to keep applying for grants and fellowships even if you get turned down, sometimes it takes many tries, and I feel incredibly fortunate to receive this wonderful fellowship.”

The jurors were Ian Alteveer, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Ellen Tani, an art historian, curator and critic based in Washington, D.C.; and Danielle Jackson, a critic, researcher, arts administrator and co-founder and former co-director of the Bronx Documentary Center.

The jurors said Andrews’ deep and diverse practice made an impression. “Her personal yet kaleidoscopic practice, across many media, centers narratives of trauma and discovery while inventing countless new possibilities for looking at the world,” Alteveer said. Tani added, “She probes the factual and fictional boundaries of the human and the animal realms with an elevated acumen for editing and animation style.”

Past winners of the fellowship are Veronica Perez, Reginald Burrows Hodges, Erin Colleen Johnson, and Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen. The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation also administers a $20,000 Composer Award, open to composers across the nation. Jessica Meyer of New York received the 2021 award, with work to be performed in 2022 by the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Reinaldo Moya of Northfield, Minnesota, received the award previously.

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