WMA announces prize winners for ‘B22: Wiregrass Biennial’

DOTHAN, Alabama — September 30, 2022 — The Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA) has named three artists to receive awards for work included in the juried exhibition ‘B22: Wiregrass Biennial’, with two artists receiving multiple awards. ‘B22’ was on view over the last summer quarter from July 21-September 24th at WMA.

Derek Cracco, Hi Beams, 2020, Acrylic on panel

Both the Judge’s Award and the 1st People’s Choice Award have been awarded to artist Derek Cracco (Vestavia Hills, Ala.) for “High Beams”. Derek Cracco is Associate Professor of printmaking and computer graphics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and has previously exhibited work at WMA. “I am honored and humbled to have been chosen for these awards, especially considering the strength and talent of the artists in the exhibition,” said Cracco.

The Alabama Award and 2nd place People’s Choice Award will go to John “Jahni” Moore (Huntsville, Ala.) for “Belladonna of the South”. Moore’s work focuses on painting, drawing, murals, and assemblage; he has exhibited work widely across the Southeast U.S., and internationally.

John “Jahni” Moore, Belladonna of The South: Of Coltan and Cotton, 2020, Acrylic and red clay on canvas

“First, to be accepted into the Wiregrass Biennial was an honor. To win awards took it to the joy level, especially since it’s my own home state. I intend for my work to say Alabama with a voice that cannot be ignored, to speak intentionally with an unmistakably southern voice rooted in the hand-hewn wells of this nation’s outgrowth, replete with the grit and gallantry. To go beyond the space of walls and take agency toward a shift in thinking. As my work is about revival, resolution, and resurrection, it is my intent for the viewer to be struck with an enlightening sense of remembrance and responsibility as it relates to their position in their personal worlds and how that role affects the world at large. Again, I am thankful to the Wiregrass Museum of Art for their vision and for granting me the platform to present my plied craft,” said Moore.

The 3rd place People’s Choice Award will go to Kevin Chadwick (Lynchburg, Va.) for “The Gardener”. Chadwick’s work focuses on contemporary portraiture, and is showcased in the permanent collections of the Caring Institute, in Washington, DC, the World Mercy Fund in Bad Homburg, Germany, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Kevin Chadwick, The Gardener, 2019, Mixed media on canvas

“These awards are an example of WMA’s commitment to providing creative and financial support for artists, and we are glad to see these three artists recognized for their contributions to the cultural landscape of contemporary art in the Southeast,” said Lemmer,” said Dana-Marie Lemmer, WMA’s executive director and curator.

The Judge’s Award and Alabama Award winners were chosen by B22 judge Mario Gallardo, the founder and executive director for the Walnut Gallery, a contemporary art gallery, in Gadsden, Alabama. Mario Gallardo is also the division chair of Fine Arts at Gadsden State Community College. Gallardo chose the winners from a field of 38 artists representing 7 southeastern states. The Judge’s Prize is awarded to the artist the judge selects as having the best overall work in the show; the Alabama Prize, an award established in 2020, designates the Alabama artist with the best work in the exhibition.

People’s Choice Awards were decided by in-gallery voting at WMA, giving visitors a chance to cast a vote for their favorite piece in the exhibition from July 21 to September 24. WMA awarded a total of $4,000 for all exhibition awards.

Featured artists in “B22: Wiregrass Biennial“ included Pavel Amromin (Panama City, Fla.), Sarah Bryant and Holland Hopson (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Elton Burgest (Tallahassee, Fla.), Kevin Chadwick (Lynchburg, Va.), Derek Cracco (Vestavia Hills, Ala.), Dariana Dervis (Birmingham, Ala.), Heather Deyling (Atlanta, Ga.)
Scott Eakin (Atlanta, Ga.), Karen Graffeo (Birmingham, Ala.), Justin Quaid Grubb (Pensacola, Fla.), Jason Guynes (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Roscoe Hall (Mountain Brook, Ala.), Erin Harmon (Memphis, Tenn.), Nancy Jane Lee Jones (Port St. Joe, Fla.), Willoughby Lucas Hastings (Huntsville, Ala.), Clarence Heyward (Clayton, N.C.), Josh Hoggle (Birmingham, Ala.), Dale Lewis (Oneonta, Ala.), Mär Martinez (Winter Garden, Fla.), Sophie McVicar (Birmingham, Ala.), Micah Mermilliod (Mobile, Ala.), John “Jahni” Moore (Huntsville, Ala.), Chieko Murasugi (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Jimmy Nicholson (Quincy, Fla.), Tracie Noles-Ross (Birmingham, Ala.), Raymond Padron (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Elisabeth Pellathy (Birmingham, Ala.), Jared Ragland (Columbus, Ga.), David Clayton Robinson (Atlanta, Ga.), Mary Robinson (Columbia, S.C.), Jessica L. Smith (Livingston, Ala.), William Steber (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Sergio Alan Suarez (Atlanta, Ga), Janet Swigler (Columbia, S.C.), Jessica Wohl (Sewanee, Tenn.), Lauren Woods (Opelika, Ala.), and Tianxing Xu (Savannah, Ga.).

This exhibition was supported by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Additional exhibition images available upon request.

Melissa Rea
Director of Advancement, WMA

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Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

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The Wiregrass Museum of Art reserves the right to photograph and reproduce chosen works publication, publicity, and educational purposes. Participation in this exhibition shall be an agreement on the part of the artist to these conditions. The museum reserves the right to exclude works submitted without appropriate preparation (documentation, mounting hardware, suitable frame/mat, etc.), or which are damaged or incomplete. The museum is not responsible for the safekeeping of any works left in its care ninety (90) days after the close of the exhibition.

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