Chatham Meade Kemp, assistant professor of art at William Carey University, recently received an Artist Fellowship grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC).
The MAC grant of $4,500 was awarded to Kemp based on her exemplary work in her chosen field of painting. The Artist Fellowship program is highly competitive, with only a small number of the total applicants each year receiving an award of up to $5,000. The award is based solely on merit with the requirement that the funds be used to expand the artist’s ability to create new work.
“I will be using the MAC grant to create my next series of paintings, including materials, transport, framing and promotion of work,” said Kemp.
The grant is a portion of the $1.34 million in grants MAC awarded in 2014-2015. The grants are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“The arts in Mississippi are now being recognized as a key component to economic development and as a driver for creative strategies for the growth of our communities,” said Dr. Tom Pearson, executive director of MAC. “Individual artists play a vital role as really the backbone of this movement, and it is an honor for this agency to be a part of their professional growth.”
According to Kemp, her paintings celebrate her “love of making discoveries with the expressive power of color and the physical process of layering paint on canvas.” Her work walks a line between representation and abstraction, suggesting natural forms such as plants, trees and flowers, along with weather patterns and other natural world references.
Kemp’s work has also been selected to be displayed at the bi-annual Mississippi Invitational Juried Exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art from November 1 until January 25, 2015. Through this exhibition, Kemp has also applied for a $15,000 travel/study grant. The winner of the grant will be announced in October.
“Going through the selection process for the exhibition was a great learning experience,” said Kemp. “The events for the exhibition, including the opening reception, will allow me to meet artists from all areas of the state.”
The Mississippi Museum of Art will also produce a full color catalog of all of the artists involved, including statements about the artwork and biographical information.
“It is a great honor to be included in this exhibit,” she said.
Kemp is the daughter of James W. Meade, an art faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi for over 40 years, and local artist and teacher Myra Meade. She has taught at WCU since 2007.