Studio Arts Alumna, Liza Sylvestre Receives an Inaugural Joan Mitchell Fellowship

October 15, 2021

The Joan Mitchell Foundation announced the inaugural recipients of its new Joan Mitchell Fellowship, which annually awards 15 artists working in the evolving fields of painting and sculpture with $60,000 each in unrestricted funds, distributed over a five-year period.

Announced in February 2021, the Foundation’s new Fellowship program re-envisions and enhances the impact of its earlier Painters & Sculptors Grants by significantly increasing the financial award and expanding the professional development offerings that are a hallmark of the Foundation’s approach to supporting working artists. The 15 artists receiving Fellowships range in age from 35 to 71; 80% are artists of color—and 40% identify as Hispanic, Latinx, or Chicanx—while 47% identify as female and 13% as gender non-conforming. The artists were selected in a multi-phase, juried process from 166 applicants who were identified by a diverse pool of nominators from across the country and who reflect a wide range of backgrounds in the arts.

The 2021 Joan Mitchell Fellows are: María Berrío, Brooklyn, NY Margaret Curtis, Tryon, NC Adam de Boer, Los Angeles, CA Raúl de Nieves, Brooklyn, NY Justin Favela, Las Vegas, NV Chie Fueki, Beacon, NY Emily Gherard, Seattle, WA Angela Hennessy, Oakland, CA Mie Kongo, Evanston, IL Guadalupe Maravilla, Brooklyn, NY Kambui Olujimi, Queens, NY Ronny Quevedo, Bronx, NY Rose B. Simpson, Santa Clara Pueblo, NM Liza Sylvestre, Champaign, IL Luis Tapia, Santa Fe, NM

The selection of the 2021 Joan Mitchell Fellows was initiated by 88 nominators, 44% of whom are themselves artists, and nearly a quarter of whom were participating in the process for the first time. The nominators reflect broad geographic diversity—representing 47 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico—as well ethnic, gender, and age diversity, and they work as curators, educators, and arts administrators, in addition to those who identify as artists. They identified the 166 artists who were then invited to apply for Fellowships. A group of five jurors subsequently evaluated the submissions with an eye to artistic achievement, the relationship between the artists’ stated goals and their work, and the financial impact of the award, to arrive at a final group of 15 awardees.

The Joan Mitchell Fellowship maintains the Foundation’s longstanding commitment to recognize and support US-based artists working in the fields of painting and sculpture, whose work has contributed to important artistic and cultural discourse and is deserving of greater recognition on a national level. The emphasis on painters and sculptors is in accordance with artist Joan Mitchell’s specified focus for the Foundation’s support and also recognizes studio-based and process-driven creative practices that may not align well with prevailing models of annual, project-based visual arts support.

About the Joan Mitchell Foundation The Joan Mitchell Foundation cultivates the study and appreciation of artist Joan Mitchell’s life and work, while fulfilling her wish to provide resources and opportunities for visual artists. As the chief steward of Joan Mitchell’s legacy, the Foundation manages a collection of Mitchell’s artwork and archives containing her personal papers, photographs, sketchbooks, and other historical materials. Fulfilling Mitchell’s mandate to “aid and assist” living artists, over the past 28 years the Foundation has evolved a range of initiatives that have directly supported more than 1,000 visual artists at varying stages of their careers. The Joan Mitchell Fellowship gives annual unrestricted awards of $60,000 directly to artists, with funds distributed over a five-year period alongside dedicated and flexible professional development. The New Orleans-based Joan Mitchell Center traditionally hosts residencies for national and local artists, as well as artist talks, open studio events, and other public programs that encourage dialogue and exchange with the local community; due to COVID-19, the program is focused on local artists for 2021. The Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) initiative provides free and essential resources to help artists of all ages organize, document, and manage their artworks and careers. Together, these programs actively engage with working artists as they develop and expand their practices. For more information, visit

joan mitchell foundation logo
Cookie Settings