One of the greatest living Maryland artists has won one of the nation’s top prizes for artists and creative thinkers.
Joyce Scott is one of this year’s 23 MacArthur Fellows, winning one of what are commonly referred to as the “genius grants.” The honor comes with $625,000 awarded for exceptional creativity and potential for future contributions.
The winners “are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways,” MacArthur Foundation president Julia Stasch said in a news release. “Their creativity, dedication, and impact inspire us all.”
Scott, who was also the recipient of a Baker Artist Award this year, is a visual and performance artist whose work with sculpture and beadwork has given her a platform to comment on social and political injustices. A Baltimore native, she received degrees from the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She was also trained by her mother, Elizabeth T. Scott, who was an internationally recognized fiber artist.
Her work is in national and international museum collections, and has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Design, the Fuller Craft Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is the second Baltimore native in two years to win the coveted prize, as last year, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was a recipient.
Scott says she is motivated to create by the issues that bother her and interest her. “They are the reasons I make the art a lot of times. That’s why I talk about politics and racism, the great bane of the human race,” she says, in a video that accompanied her award. ”My best voice is as an artist—I’m not a preacher, I’m not a politician, I’m not none of those things. But I am a good artist.”