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Kentucky Arts Council announces Al Smith Fellowship award recipients

Press Release Date:  Friday, July 13, 2012  
Revision Date:  Monday, July 16, 2012 
Contact Information:  Emily Moses
Communications Director
502-564-3757, ext. 472

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Nine Kentucky literary artists and one musical composer have been awarded $7,500 each as recipients of the Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship, the agency announced today.

The Fellowship program supports Kentucky artists engaged in creating work of high quality and recognizes creative excellence in practicing, professional Kentucky artists. The fellowship awards are named after Al Smith, a retired Kentucky journalist and past arts council board chair.

The 10 fellowship recipients, chosen from a total of 56 applicants are:

  • Krzysztof Wolek, Louisville, Composing
  • Ron Ellis, Lakeside Park, Creative Nonfiction
  • Jason Howard, Berea, Creative Nonfiction
  • Willie Davis, Whitesburg, Fiction
  • Kaitlin Willihnganz, Louisville, Fiction
  • Ellen Birkett Morris, Louisville, Fiction
  • Grayson Johnson, Lexington, Play/Screenwriting
  • Adam Day, Louisville, Poetry
  • Bianca Spriggs, Lexington, Poetry
  • Sean Patrick Hill, Louisville, Poetry

“Providing support to Kentucky’s professional artists reflects the core of the arts council’s mission,” said the agency’s executive director, Lori Meadows. “I congratulate this year’s fellows and wish them continued success in their future endeavors.”

The selection process for the fellowship awards uses a "blind jurying" system that does not provide the selection panel with applicants' names; the panel reviews the work samples and applications according to application numbers only. Criteria for the awards include artistic excellence and professional achievement.

In alternate years, the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships are available to visual and media artists. The next application deadline is March 15, 2013.

For more information about the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship Program or other Kentucky Arts Council opportunities for artists, contact Individual Artist Program Director Tamara Coffey at or 502-564-3757, ext. 479.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Note to editors: To request biographical or contact information for a specific artist, contact Emily B. Moses, communications director, at 502-564-3757, ext. 472.

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