5 Eastern Iowans were named Iowa Artist Fellows

$10,000 in scholarships to develop and advance careers

DES MOINES — Five eastern Iowa artists who are pushing the boundaries in literature, performing arts, mixed media and visual arts are the latest Iowa Artist Fellows appointed in late 2022 and receiving $10,000 in grants this year, to advance their projects.

The Iowa Arts Council annually recognizes Iowa artists who are taking bold new steps in their careers and are leaders in building creative communities.

A panel of Iowa art experts selected the five grantees from a pool of 54 applicants. These are: Jennifer Colville, David James “DJ” Savarese and TJ Dedeaux-Norris, all from Iowa City; Joe Tuggle Lacina by Grinnell; and Tim Olson of Dubuque.

Their grants are designed to help them create exhibits, purchase equipment, initiate creative projects, and accelerate their careers in Iowa. Grantees will also receive robust professional training and funding support from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which organizes an annual “Meet the Artist” series to showcase the artists and their work nationwide in 2023.

“The Iowa Artist Fellowship program recognizes exceptional artistic talent and the contributions that Iowa artists make to our communities and state,” said David Schmitz, administrator of the Iowa Arts Council, in a press release. “We are proud to support this year’s grantees to advance their careers and increase the vitality of the arts in Iowa.”

The Iowa Arts Council created the grant program in 2014 to support leading Iowa artists at key points in their careers. To date, 45 Iowa artists in the fields of visual arts, film, music, creative writing and other media have been selected for the program, and many have presented and published their work in Iowa and around the country. The program is supported by an annual grant from the Iowa Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Here’s a look at this year’s Iowa Artist Fellows:

Jennifer Colville from Iowa City is the editor of PromptPress, a book arts magazine, and director of PorchLight, a community-centric literary arts salon in Iowa City. She is the author of a 2017 collection of short stories entitled Elegies for Uncanny Girls. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University in New York and a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah.

TJ Dedeaux-Norris of Iowa City is a mixed media artist using painting, fiber, performance, video and music. Dedeaux-Norris is an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Iowa and holds a BA from the University of California at Los Angeles and an MFA from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Her work has been presented at well-known locations around the world. including the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City, the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

David James “DJ” Savarese from Iowa City is an artist, activist, public scholar, multi-genre writer and teacher. He wrote A Doorknob for the Eye (2017), co-authored Studies in Brotherly Love (2021), and has contributed poetry to numerous publications and anthologies including Unearthing the Concepts That Bury Us, an upcoming one forthcoming anthology Disability and Dialogue. Savarese presents a range of issues nationally and internationally and leads the Lives-in-Progress Collective at the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports. He also co-produced the Peabody Award-winning documentary Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t Be a Lottery (2017), set in Iowa. He grew up in Grinnell and graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with two majors in creative writing and anthropology.

Joe Tuggle Lacina by Grinnell is an artist, builder and designer. He has a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA in dimensional practice from the University of Iowa. He works at Grinnell College as a studio arts technical assistant and is involved with the Grinnell Area Arts Council. He is also renovating and developing the Cupola Gallery, a contemporary art gallery and venue in Grinnell, and maintains an active studio practice of his own making paintings, sculpture, structures and new media.

Tim Olson of Dubuque After studying art at the University of Iowa, lived for 20 years as a technician in photo studios in Los Angeles and Chicago. In 2002 he moved back to Dubuque with his family and has undertaken several community engagement projects using large format photography to connect history with modern life. Among them was the Dubuque-based project A City at Work: 1912-2012, which received the 2013 Loren Horton Award from the State Historical Society of Iowa. His latest work uses painting to fuse art history with familiar Midwestern themes.

For more information on the Iowa Artist Fellowship Program, visit iowaculture.gov/about-us/about/grants/iowa-artist-fellowship-program.

Iowa Artist Fellow TJ Dedeaux-Norris from Iowa City is a mixed media artist who uses painting, fiber, performance, video and music to explore how race, gender and class socialization affect the body. (Courtesy of the Iowa Arts Council)

Jennifer Colville Iowa City Iowa Artist Fellow

David James “DJ” Savarese Iowa City Iowa Artist Fellow

Joe Tuggle Lacina Grinnell Iowa Artist Fellow

Tim Olson Dubuque Iowa Artist Fellow