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Melanie Manos Named 2020 Kresge Artist Fellow

The 20 Kresge Artist Fel­low­ship recipients 

Per­for­mance artist Melanie Manos, a Lec­turer II at the Stamps School of Art & Design, was recently named a 2020 Kresge Artist Fel­low for Per­for­mance Art. 

Kresge is a highly com­pet­i­tive bi-annual arts grant in Wayne and Oak­land coun­ties and comes with a non-restricted 25,000 dol­lar award and pro­fes­sional sup­port. In 2020, there are now 30 awards total — 20 Kresge Artist Fel­low­ships and 10 Gilda Awards — rep­re­sent­ing an increase of $90,000 in no strings attached sup­port to indi­vid­ual artists in Detroit. 

When speak­ing about what this fel­low­ship means to her, Manos shared, As the Kresge Arts Fel­low­ship is a Detroit area based reward, it deep­ens my con­nec­tion to the arts and art-view­ing com­mu­nity there, which are a vital part of my life. It means greater lever­age to sup­port my own prac­tice but that of oth­ers’ too, such as hav­ing funds to hire artist and designer friends for fab­ri­ca­tion, tech, and design work.… The projects I made that went into my Kresge appli­ca­tion mate­r­ial didn’t hap­pen in a bub­ble, they hap­pened because other artists were there photo-doc­u­ment­ing a per­for­mance, help­ing build a rig, and giv­ing cri­tique or feedback.”

[The fel­low­ship] gives me added con­fi­dence to pitch per­for­mance ideas that hap­pen on a grander scale, in terms of the space and mech­a­nisms to make it hap­pen,” reflected Manos.

The Kresge Artist Fel­low­ship has unlocked more pos­si­bil­i­ties for Manos’ cur­rent projects as well. I’m work­ing on a Mobius strip lad­der that will be a hang­ing instal­la­tion and per­for­mance site. The fel­low­ship funds give me lee­way to exper­i­ment with mate­ri­als for the struc­ture and fab­ri­ca­tion strate­gies. I’m also think­ing about the phrase pulling one­self up by the boot­straps’ and how to phys­i­cal­ize that in a lit­eral way.”

More exper­i­men­ta­tion is also pos­si­ble for a series of dig­i­tally printed book­lets she’s been dis­cussing with Stamps Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor Han­nah Smotrich and with new equip­ment. At last year’s Venice Bien­nale she was com­pletely mes­mer­ized by a spin­ning appa­ra­tus that appeared to catch an ani­mated image and morph it.” Manos is inter­ested to see how it could be applied in future videos and installations.

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