Local artist Joyce J. Scott receives MacArthur 'Genius' Grant

Joyce J. Scott, the longtime Baltimore glass and beadwork artist whom City Paper recently named "Best Artist," is one of 22 recipients of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant, one of the most prestigous awards in the country.

Here's more from the Best Of Baltimore blurb: "Her 'Truths and Visions' solo show traveled from the Museum of the Contemporary Art Cleveland to the University of Alabama's Sarah Moody Gallery of Art last fall. Her arresting 'Lynched Tree,' in which a beaded woman is strung up by her feet, was a centerpiece of the Fuller Craft Museum's 'The Faces of Politics: In/Tolerance' exhibition in Massachusetts this past spring. Her 'Coronet Explodes' resides in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum's current 'Now That's Cool' exhibition. And her 'Generations' summer solo show at Goya Contemporary contained some of her most potent work—witness 'Breathe,' a hand-blown glass Buddha pulling a child out of herself—in years. But more importantly, her sculptures continue to make anger beautiful and history impossible to ignore."

City Paper's Rebekah Kirkman also reviewed Scott's work in the recent exhibition of Baker Artists Award winners at the Baltimore Museum Art. Touching on Scott's self-described "anger" that goes into work that confronts racism, Kirkman notes: "Things may look a little different now than they did 150 years ago, but we are still raising our children in similar conditions and, Scott seems to ask, when will we make it better for them?"

Scott will receive $625,000 as a MacArthur Fellow. She told The Sun's Tim Smith that she plans "to spend every damn penny," mostly on her art. But she will also use some of it to fix her house and parts of the block she lives on in Sandtown, where she intends to stay.

"I'm in a challenged neighborhood, but the people here are very supportive of me. How could I run away?" she said. "My model is Louis Armstrong. He and his wife stayed in the same house [in Queens, N.Y.] forever. I'd like to invest more in my community."

Maggie Nelson, whose book "The Argonauts" was named City Paper's top nonlocal book of 2015, and poet Claudia Rankine, whom City Paper has also covered, were also winners of the grant.

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