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Judges Panel

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

2021 Selection Panel

Selection Panel | Atlanta, GA

Erin Jane Nelson

Artist, Director of

Erin Jane Nelson is an Atlanta-based artist and since 2018 has been the Director of Burnaway, a non-profit publication focused on art and criticism from the American South. She received her BFA from Cooper Union in 2011 and has also studied at Malmö Academy of Art, Sweden. Prior to Burnaway, she served as the Curatorial Assistant of Photography & Self-Taught Art at the High Museum and ran the now dormant project-space, Species with her husband. In addition to speculative fiction, her writing focuses on the intersection of race, gender, and the environment.

Nelson’s artwork has been shown internationally including recent exhibitions at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center; La Galerie Centre d’art Contemporain in France, and Pinakothek der Moderne in Germany. Recent museum acquisitions of her work are currently included in Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950-2019 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Other.Worldly at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. She was named one of Forbes Magazine's "30 Under 30" in Arts and Culture in 2019 and is a 2020 recipient of the Rabkin Award for Arts Journalism and the MOCA GA Working Artist Project Award. She is represented in New York by Chapter Gallery and in Chicago by DOCUMENT.

Selection Panel | Columbia, SC

Jacqueline Keane Adams

Director of Education and Engagement, Columbia Museum of Art

Jackie Adams, Director of Education and Engagement, joined the Columbia Museum of Art in 2017 at the beginning of a building renovation and the reinstallation of the museum’s collection. Prior to the CMA, Adams managed Columbia College’s Goodall Gallery program and taught a variety of courses over an 11-year period at her alma mater, with additional teaching and administrative experience in Richland County School District One and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Stepping into a museum education role defined by its future is an exciting opportunity to create new education, engagement, and community initiatives in fresh, relevant, and exciting ways that shape the CMA as a premier teaching and educational museum for South Carolina’s communities—with educators, learners, and artists.

Adams earned a B.A. in studio art from Columbia College (1998) and an M.A. in arts administration from Winthrop University (2014). As director, she provides strategic direction for educational impact and directs the daily operations of all children and family programming at the museum and off-site; develops and directs educator training programs; engages and fosters support from the volunteer docent corps; directs programming for adult tour programs, classes and workshops, and the community gallery; and serves as staff liaison to the CMA Education Committee. She has also served as a board member of the Columbia Design League and studio manager for renowned artist Guy Lipscomb and Columbia maker, Clark Ellefson.

Selection Panel | Louisville, KY

Toya Northington

Artist, Executive Director of artThurst, Community Outreach Manager at the Speed Museum

Toya Northington graduated with a Fine Art degree from Georgia State University and also holds a MSc in Social Work from the University of Louisville. She has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Georgia and Kentucky, and in recent years has been involved in a number of public art projects in Louisville. Working in mixed media and across disciplines, Toya speaks of her work as pushing back at societal expectations, as an act of resistance. As a feminist and social activist she states, “My work is an acknowledgment of traumas too often experienced by women and a means to foster healing and resilience from them.” Toya is the recipient of Art Meets Activism, Artist Enrichment, and The Special grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

In 2012, Toya founded an art-based, mental health and social justice organization that was the first non-profit organization that employed art-based, trauma-informed programming to the address the psychosocial needs of black girls and LGBTQ+ youth in Louisville, KY. She is currently the Executive Director of artThrust and the Community Outreach Manager at the Speed Museum.

Selection Panel | San Francisco, CA

Willie Little

Artist and Author

Willie Little is a multimedia artist and author who currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland, Oregon. His visual narratives document a fading part of rural southern life while also tackling topics of racism, Social Justice, Black Lives Matter, and the childhood memories of growing up on a tobacco farm in Eastern North Carolina. His memoir and art book, In the Sticks, documents his years growing up as a poor, Black and gay child in the rural south.

Little is an artist whose genius incorporates sculpture, painting, sound installations, re-constructed architecture, re-cycled memorabilia, and real-life stories, Willie pours out his soul for all to see as he relives growing up during a time of radical change.

Willie received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His solo exhibits include the Smithsonian Institution, The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, the Charles H. Wright African American Museum in Detroit, and the American Jazz Museum. Notable group exhibitions include the Corcoran and the California Folk Art Museum.

He also participated in The Hourglass Project: Baggage, an internationally renowned residency and exhibition program, which toured venues throughout South Africa, Belgium, and Mozambique; the work is archived in a catalog published by Caversham Press.

Selection Panel | Huntsville, AL

Peter J. Baldaia

Director of Curatorial Affairs, Huntsville Museum of Art

Peter J. Baldaia is Director of Curatorial Affairs of the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, Alabama, where he has worked since 1994. He was formerly Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Rockford Art Museum in Rockford, IL, and Curator at the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, MA. In over thirty-five years working in the museum field, Mr. Baldaia has organized hundreds of major exhibitions of historical and contemporary art. Recent exhibitions curated for the Huntsville Museum of Art have included over 50 acclaimed Encounters and Connections exhibitions of contemporary Southern art, the recurring juried Red Clay Survey exhibitions of regional contemporary art, and the major exhibitions Janet Fish: Master of Light and Shadow; Ginny Ruffner: Aesthetic Engineering; Peace, Love, Rock & Roll: Elliott Landy’s Vision of Woodstock, and Will Henry Stevens: Naturalist/Modernist.

Mr. Baldaia attended the Rhode Island School of Design and received his undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts from Rhode Island College in Providence, RI. He attended graduate school at Brown University in Providence, RI, and Boston University in Boston, MA, and holds a Master’s degree in Art History and Museum Studies from Boston University Graduate School.

Since 1995, Mr. Baldaia has been listed in the annual reference publication, Who’s Who in American Art.

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