Sharpe Walentas Studio Program Announces 2016-17 Awardees

_D8A6823 photo Nina Choi

Photo: Nina Choi.


The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program has announced its 2016-17 award recipients — 17 artists who will receive rent-free studio space in Dumbo for a year.

This year’s awardees are

  • Olive Ayhens
  • Samantha Bittman
  • Matt Bollinger
  • Sascha Braunig
  • Jordan Casteel
  • Caroline Chandler
  • Duron Jackson
  • Meredith James
  • Fabienne Lasserre
  • Karen Lederer
  • Dana Lok
  • Nat Meade
  • Clifford Owens
  • Sheila Pepe
  • Ruth Root
  • Alan Wiener
  • Tuguldur Yondonjamts


The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation launched the studio program in 1991 and ran it until 2014, when the Walentas Family Foundation generously took over . During its 25 years of existence, the program has developed a reputation for having its finger on the pulse of the New York art world, particularly the segment composed of up-and-coming talents. Among previous award recipients are such big names as Josiah McElheny, Dorothea Rockburne, and Lorraine O’Grady.

This year, multiple jury panels worked to pare down the more than 1,200 applicants to a shortlist, from which a final panel, consisting of artists Tara Donovan, Keltie Ferris, Dread Scott, Joel Shapiro, and Alexi Worth, selected the 17 recipients. This year, as every year, they are an incredibly diverse group, running the gamut in terms of style, discipline, age, and background.

For a lot of artists, the residency represents a “vital point in their career,” said Lisa Kim, the Cultural Affairs Director. “Whether they’re shifting directions, or have recently finished a large body of work and are resetting to start new work, or never had studio space at all and are busting out of their living room, it’s an important opportunity.”

For many artist, the biggest privilege is being freed from day-to-day constraints. “Previous recipients have called it the ‘gift of time and space,’ ” said Kim.

But the Sharpe-Walentas program offers more than that. “What’s really essential about this program,” said Kim, “is the community and the network that it affords the artists: being able to leave your doors open, walk down the hall, and see who’s doing what, or have a group discussion. You develop this tight-knit network to incubate ideas with and look to for inspiration.

“It feels like a family,” added Kim. “By the end, they really do feel like a family.”

— Taylor Dafoe (@tddafoe)