2019/2020 Working Artist Project Winners
Announcing the 12th year winners of the Working Artist Project Fellowship: Ariel Dannielle, William Downs, and Courtney McClellan.
“It is an honor to be invited to jury MOCA Ga’s Working Artists Project especially as someone who has long-standing connections to Atlanta. I’ve had the opportunity to see several past Working Artist Project exhibitions and understand how important this award is for artists and the city of Atlanta.
—Wassan Al-Khudhairi, 2019/20 WAP Guest Curator
About Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Guest Curator
Wassan Al-Khudhairi is the Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, where she has organized Guan Xiao: Fiction Archive Project, Hayv Kahraman: Acts of Reparation, Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Re-Evolving Door to the Moundverse and SUPERFLEX: European Union Mayotte. Prior to her position at CAM, Al-Khudhairi was the Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. During her time in Birmingham, she organized the first large-scale exhibition of the museum’s contemporary collection, Third Space/shifting conversations about contemporary art. She was invited to be a Curator for the 6thAsian Art Biennial in Taiwan in 2017 and Co-Artistic Director for 9th Gwangju Biennial in South Korea in 2012. Serving as the Founding Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, Al-Khudhairi oversaw the opening of the Museum in 2010 and co-curated Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art and curated Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab.
2019/2020 WAP Fellowship Winners
Ariel Dannielle is an African American painter born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from the University of West Georgia, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Drawing directly from her life, Ariel creates large scale paintings that depict the daily experiences of young Black women. She believes in the importance of her artwork to provide new lenses through which Black womanhood can be represented, understood, and related to.
Influenced by the work of Kerry James Marshall and Alice Neel, Ariel believes strongly in the power of portraiture. She focuses on developing personal narratives within her portraits that challenge gender and racial stereotypes. By placing herself in her paintings she opens a door to welcome her viewers to participate in a process of introspection.
Ariel’s work has been showcased at Mint ATL, The Goat Farm, ZuCot Gallery, Dalton Gallery, TILA Studios, Trio Contemporary Art Gallery, Perez Museum Miami, and California African American Museum. She was a semi-finalist in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series 2018, an Artadia 2018 finalist, and has been featured in The Studio Museum Magazine, Voyage ATL, Sorjo Magazine, mentioned in The New York Times, and featured on the cover of the CAAM summer catalog 2019.
William Downs was born in Greenville South Carolina and earned a multidisciplinary M.F.A from the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Prior to that, he received a B.F.A in painting and printmaking from the Atlanta College of Art. In addition to his representation by Sandler Hudson Gallery in Atlanta, he was chosen by Artadia in 2018 as one of the Atlanta awardees. Downs has had solo and group exhibitions nationally at E.C. Lina Gallery LA, Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, Parker Jones Gallery in Los Angeles, Sandler Hudson Gallery, Grizzly Grizzly Gallery PA. His work was exhibited and toured in two major exhibitions “Art AIDS America” and “Black Pulp!” The latter toured to The Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida, Yale University, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University, and The African American Museum in Philadelphia. His studio is located in South West Atlanta GA.
Courtney McClellan is an artist from Greensboro, N.C. She earned her BA in Studio Art and Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and she earned her MFA from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2013-2014, she was the Fountainhead Fellow in the Sculpture and Extended Media Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, and from 2015-2017 she was the Sculpture Fellow at the University of Georgia. She has been an artist in residence at The Hambidge Center in Raburn Gap, G.A.; Wassaic Project in Wassaic, N.Y.; and at Yaddo in Saratoga Spring, N.Y. She was a 2017-2018 School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston Traveling Fellow, and her work was included in SculptureCenter’s 2018 exhibition In Practice: Another Echo. In 2020, her new solo exhibition and performance project Witness Lab will be exhibited at the University Of Michigan Museum Of Art. She serves as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Art in the Sculpture Area at the University of Georgia. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia where she maintains her studio practice.