The Indianapolis Art Center in conjunction with the Robert McKinney family, awarded Sofiya Inger the first-ever Skip McKinney Faculty of the Year Fellowship. The $20,000 fellowship is given to an Art Center faculty member who exhibits excellence in his/her art, teaching and in building community. About 30 Art Center faculty members applied for the fellowship; Inger was selected from among nine finalists. The eight other honorees will receive $500 each. In addition to the cash award, Inger will receive a solo show in December 2012 featuring work she completes throughout the coming year.
In talking about the selection process, Robert McKinney, husband of Skip McKinney said, “I didn’t intend to be involved in the selection process initially, however, I am so glad I did because I had such a wonderful opportunity to learn about all the talented Indianapolis Art Center faculty. All nine finalists exhibited amazing artistic talent, exemplary teaching expertise and remarkable efforts in building a community.”
The award was created by the McKinney family to honor the legacy of Arlene “Skip” McKinney, long-time Art Center student, accomplished artist and community leader.
In receiving the fellowship, Inger said it represented particular significance for her. “I came to America in search of a community of like-minded people,” she said. She finds it odd that people ask her how she ended up in Indiana. “I don’t see that I ended up here. I see that I have found Indiana. The hospitality here is amazing. I have found many friends who support me. Not only do I have the support of friends, but I have support for my art. The Art Center is a community that supports artists.”
The Art Center completed a videotape about Ms. Inger, available at http://www.youtube.com/user/IndyArtCtr#p/u/10/drtaYyOxbYk .
The eight other finalists for the fellowship included:
• Alice Battas, ceramics
• Peggy Breidenbach, ceramics
• Kimberly Conrad, metalsmithing
• Dan Cooper, photography
• Loran Hill, ceramics
• Matt Kenyon, glass
• Tom Laird, woodworking
• Vandra Pentecost, painting
In introductory remarks, Carter Wolf, Art Center CEO, said the fellowship encourages not only excellence in teaching and instructor creativity, but also development of a sense of community in classes that has meant so much for decades of students such as Skip McKinney.
For more information and to link to the Art Center’s YouTube, Facebook and Flickr pages, visit www.IndplsArtCenter.org or call (317) 255-2464.