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Award celebrates contributions to African American art

Award celebrates contributions to African American art

ATLANTA — Dr. Kellie Jones, an assistant professor in the departments of History of Art and African American Studies at Yale University, became the first recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize from the High Museum of Art on March 7. As a renowned African American artist and art scholar, the David C. Driskell Prize recognizes an individual in the beginning or middle of his/her career, whose work represents an original and important contribution to the field. This prize was the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history.

“From her [Jones] recent scholarship on African American artists in the West to her exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kellie has produced a unique body of work over the past 20 years that has distinguished her as an art historian, curator and professor,” says Michael E. Shapiro, director. “Kellie’s dedicated research makes her an exemplary first recipient of the Driskell Prize, an award that reflects the High’s ongoing commitment to support scholarship and creativity in this field.”

Jones has studied the work of African American, African Diaspora and Latin American artists, as well as issues in contemporary art and museum theory. Currently, she is co-curating the exhibition “Basquiat,” at the Brooklyn Museum of Art through June 5.

“Such acknowledgment of my work by my colleagues is immensely gratifying,” says Jones. “Being the first recipient of the Driskell Prize lends even more significance to this honor. The High’s establishment of this annual award will increase the visibility of artists and scholars who work in this field, which in the past has been under-recognized. It is a privilege to be named as the first recipient.”

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