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Local residents awarded Tamarack Foundation Artist Fellowships

Tamarack Foundation for the Arts proudly announces six awards in its Emerging Artist Fellowship program for 2021. New fellows include Emily Prentice of Randolph County, Suzan Ann Morgan of Upshur County, Brandy Jefferys of Cabell County, Kelsie Tyson of Greenbrier County, Nichole Westfall and Blake Wheeler, both of Kanawha.

Emerging Artist Fellows are thriving early-career artists who demonstrate a superior level of mastery and an aptitude to become successful creative professionals. Chosen by an independent committee of master artists and arts leaders, they contribute to the foundation’s mission of growing West Virginia’s economy by empowering promising creatives.

Each fellowship includes a stipend and continuing access to professional skill-building in the areas of branding, marketing, and technology as well as valuable connections with a community of successful creatives in West Virginia.

The 2021 fellows are proficient in a wide range of media and have varying visions of their sustainable futures in West Virginia.

About the Emerging Artist Fellows

Prentice, an Elkins resident, is a zine maker, quilter, and illustrator who uses her colorful art as way to inspire others of all ages and backgrounds to find their own expressive voices through art. She said, “I want everyone to use creative play and curiosity as a means of changing the world.” An educator by nature and choice, she has created an online workshop/community space “to help students play every day.”

Morgan is a textile/fiber artist with a passion for surface design. Among other techniques, she employs hand-dyeing and hand-printing fabrics, embroidery, and quilting. Her influences range from fine art training at the Oregon College of Art and Craft to traditional quilters in the Buckhannon area, where she lives.

Jefferys works in oils to create richly colorful still life paintings of iconic Appalachian foods that evoke nostalgia and belonging. “The visceral, intimate connection to others and to home is what I’m after,” she said. Jeffreys also contributes to her community by teaching drawing classes at the Huntington Museum of Art.

Tyson is an artist/activist who uses photography, fiber, ceramics, and large installations to pursue a visual exploration of body image, sexuality, and the intersections between them. Her goal for her art is to help other West Virginians to appreciate their own bodies. Her artworks are personal, open, and fearless. She lives and works in Lewisburg.

Westfall, a multidisciplinary artist, uses decorative arts as a means of expressing the fears, dreams, angers, and passions of communities that have been silenced. A resident of South Charleston, her work ranges from large-scale installations and murals to small assemblages and sculptures. “My work marries uncomfortable subjects with bold and hopeful design,” she said.

Wheeler is a mural painter from Marmet. He creates outdoor scenes that surprise, inform, and spark the imagination of viewers. His painterly images may celebrate history, nature, or whimsy; his intention is to elicit enjoyment: “I hope that my work inspires and gives a pleasant experience no matter if the viewer just gives a passing glance or a close inspection.”

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