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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.