Applications for the 2012 William H. Johnson Prize are now available online at www.whjohnsongrant.org with a September 28, 2012 due date for all applications. The 2012 William H. Johnson Prize is 25,000 USD and the winner will be announced later in the year.
The William H. Johnson Foundation for the Arts is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that seeks to encourage African American artists early in their careers through its annual award, The William H. Johnson Prize. Early career African American artists who work in painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, installation and/or new genre are eligible to apply.
William H. Johnson, an African American artist born in Florence, South Carolina in 1901, is the namesake of the Foundation. He moved to New York as a young man to study at the National Academy of Design, and though he was acknowledged as the most talented artist in his class of 1926, he was passed over for a traveling scholarship, most likely because of his race. Rather than see Johnson struggle in the United States, his teacher, Charles Hawthorne, gave Johnson 1000 USD so that Johnson could travel to Europe. This act of faith and generosity was pivotal in Johnson’s life, for it provided the seed from which his career flourished.
In the same spirit, the William H. Johnson Prize is intended to encourage the best artists working today. Past Johnson Prize Winners include Laylah Ali (2002); Nadine Robinson (2003); Kori Newkirk (2004); Dave McKenzie (2005); Edgar Arceneaux (2006); Rodney McMillian (2007); Jennie C. Jones (2008); Sanford Biggers (2009); Karyn Olivier (2010) and Deborah Grant (2011).
Past jurors include Amy Adler, Artist and Instructor at University of California, San Diego; Laylah Ali, Artist and Professor of Art, Williams College; Edgar Arceneaux, Artist; Aimee Chang, Former Curatorial Assistant, Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Doryun Chong, Associate Curator, Museum of Modern Art; Dean Daderko, Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Sam Durant, Artist and Instructor, Cal Arts; Charles Gaines, Artist and Instructor, Cal Arts; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, Studio Museum in Harlem; Rita Gonzalez, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Director and Chief Curator, Aspen Art Museum; Jennie C. Jones, Artist; Eungie Joo, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education & Public Programs, The New Museum; Clara Kim, Gallery Director & Curator, REDCAT; Kris Kuramitsu, Independent Curator; Glenn Ligon, Artist; Elsa Longhauser, Executive Director and Curator, Santa Monica Museum of Art; Dave McKenzie, Artist; Rodney McMillian, Artist; Kori Newkirk, Artist; Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; John Outterbridge, Artist; Yasmil Raymond, Curator, The Dia Foundation, New York; Alison Saar, Artist; Gary Simmons, Artist; Franklin Sirmans, Chief Curator, Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Kara Walker, Artist.