Vectors: The Artaxis Fellowship in its First Five Years
At the 2014 NCECA conference in Milwaukee, Theaster Gates gave one of the most impactful keynote addresses in our conference’s history. Gates charged the conference attendees to expand the field and increase equity and diversity. He said, “How do we expand the field, not only in terms of the ideologies that govern how we make and the things we make, but how do we make the field more inclusive?”
Prompted by the call of Theaster Gates to proceed into the future with action, The Artaxis Fellowship was born from a moment of organizational reflection. The Fellowship is designed to support underrepresented artists and celebrate the vision, competence and voices of the Fellows, while carving a path that broadens the diversity of practices and artists represented in our field. Every year since 2014, Artaxis has partnered with Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts and, most recently, with Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, to provide a total of eight fellowships, each worth up to $2,000 to fund the attendance of a two-week workshop in ceramics. The Fellowship, emphasizing diversity and financial need, remains one of Artaxis’ core initiatives and is expected to endure and expand over the coming decade.
Joining established artists with emerging artists, and including national and international artists of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, Vectors: the Artaxis Fellowship in its First Five Years, is an exhibition featuring all eight Artaxis Fellows: Natalia Arbelaez, Soe Yu Nwe, Raven Halfmoon, Kathy Garcia, Donté Hayes, Moises Salazar, Nicole Mclaughlin, and Nyasha Madamombe. These artists are joined in the exhibition by one of the three jurors that comprised the Fellowship Selection Committee for each year: Amy Santoferraro, Linda Lopez, Neha Kudchadkar, Morel Doucet, and Shlomit Bauman.
The theme of this year’s NCECA conference, Rivers, Reflections, Reinventions has a strong resonance with Gates’ message from 2014, the mission of the Artaxis Fellowship, and the Vectors exhibition. Six years after Gates’ call for action, we celebrate the artists that have made the Artaxis Fellowship a success, as well as our partners, who share our commitment to creating a river of change in the field.