Since 2008, Kresge Arts in Detroit has awarded more than $6.7 million through 13 Kresge Eminent Artist Awards, 238 Kresge Artist fellowships, and 32 Gilda Awards. Last year, in recognition of the impact of COVID-19 to the arts community, Kresge expanded funding to support two additional Kresge Artist Fellows. That makes a total of 20 annual fellowships, and an additional eight Gilda Awards, for a total of 10. Recently Kresge Arts in Detroit and The Kresge Foundation announced its 2021 award recipients working in Literary Arts and Visual Arts, and committed to sustaining this increased level of investment.

While inspiration may have been abundant, this past year certainly has not been an easy one to be an artist. Many of the traditional avenues for selling work were closed, so this is welcome news, especially to this year’s honorees.

To learn more about each artist and to see samples of their work, click on their name. Congratulations to the 2021 Kresge Artist Fellows:


Emell Derra Adolphus, Creative Nonfiction
Danielle Aubert, Interdisciplinary Work
Jeni De La O, Poetry
Ann Eskridge, Playwriting
Tariq Luthun, Poetry
MARS Marshall, Poetry
Jassmine Parks, Spoken Word
B. Van Randall, Graphic Novels
Casey Rocheteau, Poetry
Zig Zag Claybourne, Fiction


Peter Daniel Bernal, Painting
Judy Bowman, Collage
Brian Day, Photography
Darcel Deneau, Glass
Solomon Johnson, Illustration
Gisela McDaniel, Painting
Sabrina Nelson, Interdisciplinary Work
Rachel Reid, Animation
Andrew “AndyT” Thompson, Installation
Graem Whyte, Interdisciplinary Work

In addition to a $25,000 no strings attached award, Kresge Artist Fellows receive one year of professional development support and inclusion in Kresge Arts in Detroit’s ongoing commissioned film series, which has documented the work and perspectives of fellows throughout the program’s history. Videos featuring the above recipients will be available in the fall. In the meantime, shorts about the 2020 fellows are currently available for viewing.

The selection criteria for Kresge Artist Fellowships include: a demonstrated track record of artistic achievement and high-quality work, the potential to grow and advance in one’s artistic career, and the potential to reflect, enhance, or impact communities within metropolitan Detroit.

For those interested in pursuing a fellowship, the application process for next year is scheduled to begin on December 1, 2021.

Author: BMN Staff