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Judges Panel

Our selection panel and juried panel bring together a diverse group of curators, art professionals, and art enthusiasts.

2018 Jury Panel

Jury Panel | Cranston, RI

Frank Poor


Woodstock, Ga., native Frank Poor lives in Cranston, R.I. He received his BFA from Georgia State University in Atlanta and his MFA, from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. He teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.

Poor describes his works as “a hybrid of two competing means of depiction.” Using photographs he takes of often vanishing vernacular architecture during visits back home to the Deep South. Poor explains, “the images are printed, dissected and used as the surface of related three-dimensional forms.” The sculptures’ interior elements are the empty spaces behind more developed facades of buildings – empty spaces that are defined by skeletal contours.

Among Poor’s solo exhibitions are those at Davidson College , Artspace, Newport Art Museum, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Coastal Carolina University, Georgia State University, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Ariel Gallery and the CNN Center Gallery. Among public collections that have his work are the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the National Museum of Ornamental Metal, and the Macon Museum of Art.

Jury Panel | Asheville, NC

Marilyn Zapf

The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

Marilyn Zapf is the Assistant Director and Curator at the Center for Craft, a national arts nonprofit headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina. She has organized over 15 and curated over 9 exhibitions for the Center’s gallery, including the nationally-traveling Made in WNC (2015) and Gee's Bend: From Quilts to Prints (2014).

Outside of the office Marilyn is an independent curator, juror, teacher, and writer. She is currently working on an upcoming exhibition for The Mint Museum (opening 2018) and has recently taught courses on the History of Craft at Warren Wilson College. Marilyn is a trustee of the American Crafts Council and has published articles and reviews in international publications, including Art Jewelry Form and Crafts Magazine (UK).

She holds a MA in the History of Design from the Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, and a BA (English Literature) and BFA (Jewelry and Metalworking) from The University of Georgia. Her areas of research include craft, postmodernism, industry, and deindustrialization.

Jury Panel | Charlotte, NC

Jessica Gaynelle Moss

Artist, Entrepreneur, Founder of The Roll Up CLT Artist Residency

Jessica Gaynelle Moss is a life-long student, artist and entrepreneur. She brings a broad range of professional experience in advocacy, education and the arts in both the public and private sector. Her commitment to community is exemplified through the number of collaborative projects she has participated in including artist and urban planner Theaster Gates’ Retreat for Black Artists, the nationally-archived StoryCorps Story Share Booth project, and conceptual and visual artist Mel Chin's national FUNDRED Dollar Bill Project.

Jessica has worked for a diverse group of organizations including The National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, Dreamworks Animation in Glendale CA, Rebuild Foundation in Chicago, IL and The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte, NC.

She received a BFA in Painting, Drawing and Printmaking from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and a MA in Arts Administration, Policy and Management from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Most recently, her research at the University of Pittsburgh in the School of Law is focused on the intersection of fine art and sustainable community redevelopment.

Jury Panel | New York City, NY

Eleanor Heartney

Art Critic & Author

Eleanor Heartney is an art critic and author and has written extensively on contemporary art issues for many publications, including Art in America, Artpress, Artnews, Art and Auction, The New Art Examiner, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Her books include Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads, Postmodernism, Defending Complexity: Art Politics and the New World Order, Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art, and Art and Today. She is a co-author of After the Revolution: Women who Transformed Contemporary Art, and The Reckoning: Women Artists of the New Millennium. She is past President of AICA USA, the American section of the International Art Critics Association. Her awards include the College Art Association’s Frank Jewett Mather Award and the French government’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Jury Panel | Boston, MA

Edmund Gaither

Director & Curator, Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists; Special Consultant, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

As Director and Curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, and Special Consultant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Edmund Gaither has curated eight exhibitions and developed the Museum from a concept to an institution with collections exceeding three thousand objects.

He served on President George W. Bush’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and on the Commission for the Roxbury State Heritage Park, Boston, MA. He headed the national committee that commissioned the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. From l980-83, he was Panel Chairman for the Expansion for the Expansion Arts Division of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Gaither has presented, worked and conducted research internationally in France, Canada, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Israel, Germany, Haiti, Senegal, Union of Soviet Socialists Republics, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Mexico. He developed courses and lectured on the subject of African American art at Harvard College, Wellesley College, Massachusetts College of Art, Spelman College, and Boston University.

Gaither was a co-founder and the first president of the Association for African American Museums, consulted the Art Institute of Chicago, and served as a member in multiple capacities for the American Association of Museums.

Gaither received the Commonwealth Award for Organizational Leadership in 1997, the highest award in the arts by the state of Massachusetts among other prestigious national and regional awards and honorary degrees.

2018 Selection Panel

Selection Panel | Brooklyn, NY

Elizabeth Essner

Curatororial Fellow, Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

Elizabeth Essner is a Brooklyn-based independent curator and writer focused on modern and contemporary design, decorative arts, and craft. She is a 2017 Curatorial Fellow for the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in Asheville, North Carolina. There she co-curated The Good Making of Good Things: Craft Horizons Magazine, 1941-1979, which will travel to Arizona State University Ceramics Research Center in 2018. In addition, Elizabeth is guest curating forthcoming exhibitions at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut and UrbanGlass in Brooklyn. She serves as a contributing editor to MODERN magazine and is a researcher for two upcoming craft-related publications. Elizabeth earned her M.A. from the Bard Graduate Center in New York and was previously an auction house specialist and appraiser of modern design and craft.

Selection Panel | Belmont, NC

Jonell Logan

Collector, Independent Curator, Arts Advocate, and Founder of 300 Arts Project, LLC

Jonell Logan is a collector, independent curator, arts advocate, and founder of 300 Arts Project, LLC. 300 Arts organizes exhibitions and professional development opportunities emerging artists, and works with museums, colleges, and collectors to expand and document their exhibitions and collections. Our mission is to support equity and diversity in arts engagement through the presentation and investigation of contemporary art. Recent curatorial projects include Lilith, an international photography exhibition of women artist including Allison Janae Hamilton, one of the newly announced, 2018 Artists in Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem; and Kidnapped Pagans, a public/private installation of work by Antoine Williams, recent awardee of a 2017 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.

Logan has worked at a number of arts organizations including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of Art; Studio Museum in Harlem in New York; the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina; and the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is currently on the board of The Light Factory.

As an arts advocate and public speaker, she has presented numerous lectures and artists conversations across the country. She recently spoke at the Tweed Museum in Duluth Minnesota and was a presenter at Pecha Kucha Charlotte, and TedX Charlotte.

Selection Panel | Orangeburg, SC

Frank C. Martin, II

Carolina Diversity Professors' Doctoral Scholar, University of South Carolina

Frank C. Martin, II, is a graduate of Yale University and the City University of New York, Hunter College, with additional study in contemporary art at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. A former Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Martin currently serves as Interim Director of The I. P. Stanback Museum at South Carolina State University. Trained as an art theorist and critic of cultural interpretation, Martin has served as an academic advisor for the PBS documentary, Shared Historyand as contributing critic in the fine arts for The Charleston Post and Courier, one of the South’s oldest newspapers.

A Carolina Diversity Professors' Doctoral Scholar in the Department of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina, Martin’s area of specialization is the study of axiology, concentrating in the field of aesthetics. As a faculty member in the discipline of art history at South Carolina State University, Martin teaches a series of courses on the history and theory of art, and also serves as an adjunct professor of art history at the Salkehatchie and Walterboro extensions of the University of South Carolina in Allendale. In addition to these responsibilities, he has served as a guest faculty member for special topics in the Department of Art History at The College of Charleston.

Martin is a member of AICA, the International Association of Art Critics (Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art) based in Paris. His published projects include contributions to the Henry Louis Gates encyclopedic African American Biography, organized by Harvard University and the Oxford University Press, contributing research pertaining to American artists of the African diaspora. In 2014, Martin was designated Professor of the Year, for the School of Education, Humanities, and Social Sciences at South Carolina State University.

Selection Panel | Savannah, GA

Rachel Reese

Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Telfair Museum

Rachel Reese is Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA. She is a curator, arts writer, and independent publisher. Reese holds an MFA from City College New York and a BFA from the University of Georgia. Reese has held positions at Atlanta Contemporary, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia; Deitch Projects, Petzel Gallery and Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York. As an arts writer, Reese was the former editor of BURNAWAY Magazine in Atlanta, and her writing and artist interviews appear in BOMB Daily, Temporary Art Review, TWELV Magazine, and ART PAPERS, among others. She has taught Critical Issues art courses at PAFA in Philadelphia and Georgia State University in Atlanta. At Telfair Museums since 2015, she has curated exhibitions with Nick Cave, William Wegman, Triple Candie, and a group exhibition titled Generation with Iraqi-Canadian artists Sawsan AlSaraf, Sundus Abdul Hadi and Tamara Abdul Hadi; Reese is opening 2018 exhibitions with Carrie Mae Weems, and Atlanta-based Paul Stephen Benjamin in January.

Selection Panel | Atlanta, GA

Alexi Torres

Artist, 2017 ArtFields Top Prize Winner, 2014 ArtFields People's Choice Awards Winner

Alexi Torres was born in 1976 in Bermeja, a small village about 70 miles southeast of Havana, Cuba. From 1989-1991 he studied at Escuela Provicial de Artes in Mantanzas and 1991-1995 at Escuela Nacional de Artes in Havana. Torres has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad Torres’s work can be found in major public collections, including Delta Airlines, Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, Hoover Public Library, Museum of Art Matanzas, the private collection of Will Smith, and more. His series range from portraits of ordinary people, cultural, military, and political icons to a diverse sampling of symbols from popular culture. These images are then reimagined and reconstructed employing his unique multi-layer painting technique. Inspired by the agrarian lifestyle of his friends and family, Torres plants an idea for each new work and harvests it at completion according to the lunar patterns followed by his ancestors in his native Cuba. To record this ritual, each painting is begun and finished on a waning moon and recorded with his signature on the canvas.

In 2003 the artist moved from Cuba to the United States where he maintains studios in Atlanta, GA and Zacundo, Costa Rica.

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