Image via music.pitt.edu
For many artists, additional funding to create and support their craft is music to their ears.
Nicole Mitchell, chair of Pitt’s jazz studies program, was awarded a $50,000 USA Fellowship from United States Artists, the Chicago-based independent philanthropic organization announced on Wednesday.
The USA Fellowship is an unrestricted award that aims to recognize artists of various disciplines all across the country at various positions in their careers. The recipients fall into 10 categories, including writing, visual art and music, for which Mitchell was awarded.
Mitchell said via email she was honored to be recognized and receive the fellowship, and that she felt a responsibility to do positive work with it.
“In the turbulent times we live in, it’s extremely deep for me to be named a United States Artist, because it signals to me a glimmer of hope that there are prestigious institutions in this country that would encourage artists like myself that value Afrofuturism, intercultural collaboration, African diasporic cultural resilience and jazz,” she said.
Past winners of the USA Fellowship include multiple Pittsburgh-based artists. Performance and video artist Bill Shannon, a fellow of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO For Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, was awarded a fellowship in 2018, as was sculptor Vanessa German. Pittsburgh artists Jasiri X and Terrance Hayes won the fellowship in 2015 and 2011, respectively.
Mitchell began her tenure at Pitt last fall semester, after her January 2019 appointment to the position. During this time, she has spearheaded the Creative Arts Ensemble and organized Pitt’s 49th annual Jazz Seminar last October.