Three RISD Artists Win RI Fellowships

As we mentioned last week, Pawtucket-based painter Anthony Giannini MFA 12 PT is one of three local artists to win a MacColl Johnson Fellowship from the Rhode Island Foundation. It turns out that the other two winners have strong RISD ties, too.

Associate Professor of Foundation Studies Leslie Hirst, whose mixed-media pieces probe the relationship between language and the visual arts, has also earned one of the $25K grants, which are awarded to “Rhode Island artists whose work demonstrates exceptional creativity, rigorous dedication and consistent artistic practice, and significant artistic merit.

Hirst plans to use the new fellowship to work on several projects, including a proposal for next year’s Venice Biennale. She also hopes to create a limited-edition artist’s book focused on the number 4. “I don’t know why, but I just love that number,” she told the Providence Journal in a story yesterday announcing her win.

And FAV Critic Daniel Sousa 94 IL, whose animated film FERAL is up for an Oscar this year, is also excited to have earned a MacColl Johnson Fellowship this round. The Cape Verdean, who grew up in Taunton, MA, told the Providence Journal that: “For me, it was always RISD. There wasn’t anywhere else I wanted to go.”

Sousa says the fellowship will help jump-start work on several new projects. “The kind of work I do – and the techniques I’m using – tend to be very labor intensive,” he told the Journal. “In the case of FERAL the actual running time is only about 15 minutes, but the film itself took nearly five years to complete, mainly because I couldn’t devote myself to it full time. Thanks to the fellowship, I can do things like rent equipment time and hire assistants that should make the work go faster.”

Giannini, who grew up in Colorado and Michigan before relocating to Rhode Island to come to RISD, says the $25,000 fellowship will help him continue to produce his densely collage-inspired canvases. “I could really use a new printer,” he noted in yesterday’s Providence Journal story – “and maybe a good airbrush kit, too.” 

  • photos of the artists by Sandor Bodo for the Providence Journal

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