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Southern Miss Arts Faculty Receive Grants

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 08:50am | By: Mike Lopinto

University of Southern Mississippi (USM) arts faculty members Nicholas Cirado, Marcus Michels and Kevin Vanek have been awarded grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission to continue and expand their creative projects.

The distinguished and highly competitive fellowships are a portion of the nearly $1.4 million in grants the commission awarded in Fiscal Year 2020 and are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ciraldo, professor of music in the School of Music, is a leader among his generation of American classical guitarists. At the start of his career, he won awards and reached high levels at competitions in France, Italy, and the USA. Ciraldo now performs solo, chamber, and concerto concerts throughout the United States, Europe, and South America, is lauded by the press and guitar field and has released three albums.

Michels, associate professor of art in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, is a renowned artist whose work has been exhibited in several solo exhibitions and two person exhibits, as well as numerous international juried, national juried and invitational exhibitions. His work has also been published in international juried annuals of contemporary painting.

Vanek, studio technician and adjunct professor in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, was drawn to sculpture as an outlet for his creativity. An active participant in the artist community of cast iron art since 2006, Vanek has kept himself bathed in the sparks of the furnace. Through the skills and techniques of industrial craft, and the manual labor of material manipulation, he creates objects that expose the vulnerability of mental illness in materials often associated with strength and permanence such as steel, iron, and wood.

“Mississippi boasts an embarrassment of riches when it comes to artistic talent in our state,” said Malcolm White, executive director of MAC. “MAC is proud to support the artists selected to receive grant awards from MAC this year. These individuals should be commended for their commitment to artistic excellence as well as their ability to communicate complex thoughts and emotions through the arts.”