Artists and patrons gathered in the Jack White Theater at Detroit’s Masonic Temple yesterday to celebrate those talented souls who have been honored by the Kresge Foundation as Eminent Artists over the past ten years. There are few honors more prestigious among the city’s creative community than being recognized by the Kresge Art in Detroit program.
Since 2008, Kresge Arts in Detroit has recognized 180 Kresge Artist Fellows with $25,000 awards, 10 Gilda Award recipients with $5,000 awards and 10 Kresge Eminent Artists with $50,000 awards, for a total of more than $5 million.
The individuals who have received the exceptional recognition as Kresge Eminent Artists to date are:
2008 – Painter/Sculptor Charles McGee
2009 – Musician Marcus Belgrave
2011 – Author Bill Harris
2012 – Poet Naomi Long Madgett
2013 – Composer/Artistic Director David Dichiera
2014 – Photographer Bill Rauhauser
2015 – Designer Ruth Adler Schnee
2016 – Photographer Leni Sinclair
2017 – Musician Patricia Terry-Ross
2018 – Musician Wendell Harrison
2019 – Poet Gloria House
One of the highlights of the evening was the announcement of Dr. Gloria House as the 2019 Kresge Eminent Artist. For over 40 years, House taught at the university level, and as a volunteer in classes for elementary and high school students in Detroit’s Afrocentric independent schools. Her books of poetry include Blood River (1983), Rainrituals(1989), Shrines, and her most recent, Medicine, (2017). All of House’s poetry collections have been published under her chosen name, Aneb Kgositsile.
The gala at Masonic Temple was hosted by Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, and featured performances honoring these prominent artists. Spoken word artist Mike Ellison, singer Joan Belgrave, filmmaker Harvey Ovshinsky and soprano Angela Theis are among those who delivered live, unforgettable appreciations of the honorees, many of whom were in attendance.
If you’re lamenting the fact that you were not able to attend, fear not, a new opportunity to experience the celebration is on the horizon. On February 15 at 8 p.m., Detroit Public TV will present highlights of this memorable celebration.