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JuLY 2013
2013 LITERARY AND VISUAL ARTS FELLOWSHIP PANELS: Meet Who Selected the 2013 Kresge Artist Fellows!




2013 Literary Arts Panelists (left to right) 

Wanda Coleman, Ken Mikolowski, Claudia La Rocco, 

Bill Harris and Robert Polito

2013 Visual Arts Panelists (left to right) 

Hamza Walker, Shinique Smith, Rebecca Hart, 

Eric Fischl and Nancy Mitchnick 


Last month, it was our pleasure to announce the newest group of Kresge Artist Fellows in the Literary and Visual Arts. We wanted to share with you more about the literary and visual art panelists who selected the 2013 Kresge Artist Fellows, and tell you more about the selection process.


As you may know, the Kresge Arts in Detroit Advisory Council nominates panelists each year to ensure that each panel is comprised of five distinguished national and local artists and arts professionals (three national panelists and two local panelists) who represent the diversity of artistic styles within the disciplines, as well as other markers of diversity such as ethnicity, race, gender, age, geography and level of education.


This year, our esteemed panelists included artists, writers, critics, curators and educators with extensive experience in the literary and visual arts. The panels for the 2013 Kresge Artist Fellowships included:



  • Wanda Coleman, poet and author
  • Bill Harris, playwright, poet, critic and novelist
  • Claudia La Rocco, performance critic for The New York Times and editor-at-large for The Brooklyn Rail
  • Ken Mikolowski, poet, editor, publisher and lecturer in English at University of Michigan
  • Robert Polito, the president of The Poetry Foundation and former director of writing programs at The New School  


  • Eric Fischl, painter and sculptor
  • Rebecca Hart, associate curator of contemporary art, Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Nancy Mitchnick, painter and educator
  • Shinique Smith, visual artist
  • Hamza Walker, associate curator, The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago

Following the February 1st fellowship application deadline, our office checks all applications for compliance only to ensure that applicants followed the application instructions and included all the necessary information. Then, the panelists review the hundreds of applications received in each category over the course of three months. Initially, they review the applications remotely before they meet in Detroit to make the final selection of the Fellows.


The panel review is conducted using a fair and balanced voting system. Application materials are reviewed in the Slideroom review system and voted on by the panelists in multiple rounds; each round narrowing the pool of applicants. In Round 1, panelists review work samples only for each application, and in subsequent rounds, panelists have access to the applicants' supplementary materials - their resume and written statements.


It is important to note that an artist's advancement from round to round is the outcome of the averaged, collective vote of the panel. Therefore, no single panelist can ensure a particular applicant's selection. Panelists are asked to abstain from voting or discussing any applicants whom they cannot fairly evaluate, to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. The staff at the KAID office and the KAID Advisory Council do NOT contribute to the decision-making process or the selection of the Fellows.


In the final rounds of the panel, the KAID office contacts the finalists to verify their legal residency in metropolitan Detroit for the past two years. After all residency verifications have been received and approved, the Fellows are announced to the public in late June. All applicants receive decision letters by email at that time.


After the panel review is complete, the panelists participate in an evaluation to provide feedback on the review process. The panelists comment on trends in the applicant pool, evaluate the disciplines considered in each arts category, make general recommendations on what makes a good application and discuss the overall review process. The KAID office uses this feedback to make changes to the program and shares this information with applicants in our application GUIDE and public Information Sessions.


This year both panels commented on the quantity of excellent work being produced in Detroit. The panels were particularly struck by the positive tone in much of the work and they were inspired by the emphasis on community building.  


Each year there is a new panel with new perspectives and backgrounds. If you didn't receive a fellowship this year, don't be discouraged - there's always a new slate of experts and you have nothing to lose by re-applying. A famous writer once told us that he applied 19 times for the Guggenheim Fellowship and was thinking of giving up. A friend encouraged him to re-apply and he received the fellowship on his 20th try. Persistence pays! 


To see a list of current and former panelists for the Kresge Artist Fellowships, please visit http://www.kresgeartsindetroit.org/fellowships/panelists/.





To view biographies and work samples of the Fellows, click on the Fellows' names below.









Photographs by Marvin Shaouni.

Peregrine Workshop photograph by Nadia Salim.



Be sure to check out our Event Listings section to see a full calendar of exhibitions, performances, readings, residencies, outreach activities, and workshops by all current and former KAID Artists.


to download the July 2013 Event Listings. 

Have a question or comment for the KAID office? Want to share your experiences and opinions with us? Kresge Arts in Detroit is calling for letters to the editor regarding our program, procedures, or application process, as well responses to any KAID events or online content. Each month, we will publish selected feedback and our staff's responses. E-mail us at kresgeartsindetroit@collegeforcreativestudies.edu.



  • We welcome all questions, views and opinions.
  • Please keep all submissions to 150 words or less.
  • Include your name and e-mail address in all submissions. Anonymous submissions will not be published.
  • KAID will not publish your contact information.

Dear KAID,


I wasn't awarded a Fellowship. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to improve my application?


- Andrew


Dear Andrew,


With the quantity of applications we receive, we are unable to provide individualized feedback from the panelists about each application.  As you can imagine, relaying this sensitive information in the appropriate manner to each applicant would be a time-consuming endeavor. However, during the next application cycle, we recommend that all applicants review our updated application GUIDE, found on our website, and that they attend a public Information Session. Each year we update our materials to include general feedback from our former panelists that provides tips for completing a successful application.  There are new panelists each year and it is not uncommon for applicants to apply many times before receiving an award - thus we strongly encourage applicants not to be discouraged, but to apply again. Please don't hesitate to call our office if you have any further questions about your next application. We are here to offer help to all applicants!


Dear KAID,


From what I understand, there were 2x as many applications for a Kresge Artist Fellowship in the visual arts category versus the literary arts category. Is The Kresge Foundation planning to increase the number of fellowships for visual artists to address this disparity?


- Judy


Dear Judy,


Since the program began in 2008, we have made adjustments to the number of fellowships in each arts category so that all categories are treated equally, however, we have always awarded 36 Fellowships in each two-year cycle. The current allocation is: nine Literary Arts Fellowships, nine Visual Arts Fellowships, nine Dance/Music Fellowships and nine Film/Theatre Fellowships (in order to broaden our support of the local arts community we are adding a new Film/Theatre category in 2014).  


Although it appears that there is disparity in the number of applications we receive per category versus the number of awards, our research shows that there is the potential for just as many applicants in the other arts categories as there are in the Visual Arts. We are committed to increasing the awareness of the program and making the application accessible to those artists in categories with fewer applicants, so that our application numbers rise over the years. There are many more dancers, writers, musicians, filmmakers and theatre artists in our community that are not reflected in our application numbers; they either haven't applied yet or are not accustomed to these kinds of opportunities being open to their disciplines. In addition, ArtServe Michigan is currently conducting an updated census of the artists in the region (and across the state) and their research will help us better understand the actual numbers of artists in the varying disciplines in our community. We evaluate the program each year and take into consideration local and national research when making changes to the program. 


We appreciate the question, however, at this time the allocations in each category will remain the same.




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College for Creative Studies - Kresge Arts in Detroit | 201 East Kirby | Detroit | MI | 48202



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