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ArtCenter/South Florida Launches the Ellies, Miami’s Visual Art Awards

ArtCenter/South Florida announced today that it has created a new $500,000 grant program that will celebrate contributions to contemporary art and strive to elevate the careers of Miami-based artists.

The new visual art awards are dubbed the Ellies after Ellie Schneiderman, who founded the organization more than three decades ago when she acquired several abandoned storefronts along Lincoln Road in 1984 and transformed them into artist studios. In 2014, the oranization sold one of those landmark buildings for $88 million, allowing it to boost its endowment. Proceeds from the sale will fund the initiative.

“Ellie Schneiderman always recognized the power of supporting artists in their work. This program lives up to Ellie’s mission for the ArtCenter, to ‘help artists help themselves,’” said board chair Kim Kovel.

The Ellies will consist of three types of competitive grants: the Michael Richards Award, which will be given to established artists; the Ellies Creator Awards, which will recognize working and emerging artists; and the Ellies Teacher Travel Grants, which will support art educators who want to enhance their classroom curricula.

Named for the artist and ArtCenter alumnus who lost his life in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York, the Michael Richards Award will honor an artist who has created a significant body of work over a sustained period of time. It will include $75,000 in unrestricted funds and a commission from the ArtCenter in collaboration with the Bass. The Ellies Creator Awards will offer grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 to support the creation of new works, and the Ellies Teacher Travel Grants will present $5,000 each to art teachers of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

“This program is a game-changer for our visual artists and for the community,” said Dennis Scholl, ArtCenter’s president and CEO. “Over the past decade, Miami’s artists have steadily built an international reputation for themselves, and have changed the way people perceive our city. The Ellies will provide our artists with the resources they need to advance their work and elevate their artistic practice.”

The recipients of the first awards cycle will be announced at a ceremony to take place at the Bass on October 24.