Santa Monica Cultural Affairs announces the winners of its annual Artist Fellowship program. The Artist Fellowship program is among the most robust, city-based, individual artist support grants in the U.S. and consists of two $20,000 Fellowships and three $4,200 Artist Project Fellowship awards.

Each year, local Santa Monica-based artist are selected to receive these awards. This year for the first time, an artist team has been selected for one of the awards. John Malpede & Henriëtte Brouwers, Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the Los Angeles Poverty Department performance art group will receive one $20,000 fellowship. The second $20,000 fellowship has been awarded to artist Renée Petropoulos, whose public sculpture Bouquet (Flower Girl) Between Libya, the United States and Scotland is familiar to City residents who frequent Ocean Avenue near Olympic Drive. The three local artists who will receive $4,200 Artist Project Fellowships are: choreographer Suchi Branfman, novelist Laila Lalami, and playwright Tanya White.

“To be honored by this generous fellowship sponsored by the City of Santa Monica in support of my work as an artist is overwhelming,” said Petropoulos. “I will be able to realize ongoing and new projects that I only imagined completing. First, to have a studio in the city near my home, and now, support for my work – this is extraordinary.”

Now in its ninth year, the Artist Fellowship program recognizes artistic excellence, nourishes the production of new work from the world-class visions and voices of Santa Monica’s rich diversity, and reinforces our community’s high regard for creativity and innovation.

The program launched in 2010 as a complement to the City’s arts organizational grant programs, in accordance with Creative Capital, the City’s cultural plan. Award amounts are designed to have impact in an arts community that must survive in the context of the City’s high cost of living. The 38 (and counting) recipients of the award are among the City’s most creative and innovative artists. Past recipients include filmmaker Meena Nanji; visual artists Lita Albuquerque, Alex Donis and Phyllis Green; choreographers Rudy Perez and Christine Suarez; theatre/film auteur Patrick Kennelly; novelists Mark Sarvas and Charles Yu; and many others.

A panel of three arts professionals recommended the awardees to the Santa Monica Arts Commission for their approval. The panelists were Japanese-American Cultural and Community Center Artistic Director Hirozaku Kosaka, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and Barnsdall Park Director Isabelle Lutterodt, and Asuka Hisa, Director of Learning and Engagement at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Santa Monica Public Information Officer