And the 2008 Artists Fellowship Award goes to...

It’s not a MacArthur Genius Grant like what has been discussed on Art Scatter this week, but RACC has just named its 2008 Fellow for Literature: Kim Stafford.

Flickr photo by Beyond Baroque

Stafford is, without question, a local treasure and a consummate storyteller. The son of former Oregon Poet Laureate William Stafford has certainly become one of the most important artists of our place and time, leaving profound impressions through poetry, prose, essays, children’s stories, and public art. He is also one of the most kind and generous artists I have ever met; even a simple letter for recommendation from the man brings instant understanding, inspiration and authenticity.

I also like what poet and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye says about Stafford: “He has an ability to be present to every moment he ever lives in – a native, original brilliance with language and imagery – a perfect sense of time – an endless appetite for deep listening – a wonderful sense of humor… a true belief in the powers of language to connect, not to divide.”

The RACC Fellowship Award for Literature includes a cash grant of $20,000, and in the year ahead Stafford plans to reduce his teaching time and other commitments to wander the city and engage residents in conversations. All will be documented in a series of essays entitled, “Pilgrim at Home: Local Encounters Beyond the Epoch of the Car” that will undoubtedly deepen our appreciation for the local experience that is Portland, Oregon. How cool is that?

Also, a shout out to Debra Gwartney, Mead Hunter, Karen Karbo, Renee Mitchell, Greg Netzer, Ellen Waterston, and Matt Yurdana who sat on the panel that selected Stafford for this award.

Here’s hoping that our colleagues at Art Scatter are compelled to abide.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Kim Stafford! Well deserved.