What's New

What's New

Arkansas Arts Council Announces Recipients of Individual Artist Fellowship Awards

Arkansas Arts Council - Monday, September 10, 2018


LITTLE ROCK, AR – Nine Arkansas artists will be recognized for their achievements during an awards ceremony 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Historic Arkansas Museum at 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Arts Council, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, will award its Individual Artist Fellowship awards.

“The Individual Artist Fellowships encourage Arkansas artists of all disciplines and give them the resources to grow their careers and talents. This, in turn, contributes to our successful creative economy,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

The fellowships recognize individual artistic ability and creative excellence in literary, performing and visual arts. These $4,000 fellowships are awarded annually and enable artists to set aside time for creating their art and improving their skills. Three artistic disciplines are selected each year as categories for the awards.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and can be made by contacting Robin McClea by Sept. 20 at 501-324-9348 or robin.mcclea@arkansas.gov.

Light refreshments and beverages will be served.

The three categories for this year are: Literary Arts: Playwriting; Performing Arts: Music Composition in the Classical Western Tradition; and Visual Arts: Works on Paper.

Recipients are selected by a jury of professional artists, writers and performers. More information and photos are available. Awardees are:

Literary Arts: Playwriting

Candrice Jones, Little Rock

Rachel Lynett, Fayetteville

John Walch, Fayetteville

Performing Arts: Music Composition in the Classical Western Tradition

Aaron J. Fisher, Jonesboro

David Franks, Greenland

Jake Hertzog, Fayetteville

Visual Arts: Works on Paper

Melissa Cowper-Smith, Morrilton

Lisa Krannichfeld, Little Rock

Sabine Schmidt, Fayetteville

Melissa Cowper-Smith of Morrilton earned a bachelor's of fine arts degree at University of Victoria, Victoria,British Columbia and a master's offine arts degree at Hunter College, New York. Cowper-Smith teaches at University of Central Arkansas and has taught at Hendrix College, Conway, and Adelphi University, New York. She is a 2015 recipient of a Horn Scholarship to attend the Penland School of Craft where she studied "The Topography of Handmade Paper." Her work has been exhibited around the United States and is in the Arkansas Arts Council 2018 Small Works on Paper touring exhibition.

Aaron J. Fisher of Jonesboro earned a bachelor's degree in music composition at Arkansas State University. Fisher was guest composer for Masterclass at East American Choral Directors Association Conference in Pittsburgh. He is a bass/baritone vocalist who has performed with the Arkansas State University Choirs’ International Tour and in various roles in opera including "Cosi Fan Tutti" and "The Magic Flute." He released the R&B album "Underestimated" in 2017 under the pseudonym Maestro3000 and the gospel album "Aaron J. Fisher & Enlightenment" in 2016. Fisher also performs and arranges original compositions for Arkansas State University Choirs and Le Chorale in Memphis, Tennessee.


David Franks of Greenland earned a Master of Music degree in composition and performance at University of Arkansas, a master's degree in architecture at University of Texas, Austin, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education at Arkansas Tech University. Franks was senior fellow in music theory at Arkansas Tech University and played in the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. His compositions include variations on “Parting Friends,” quartet for saxophones, "Ludes," woodwind quintet, "Sonata for Horn and Piano," "Overture: La Brebis d’Amour” and "Soirée: A Peripatetic Serenade for 14 Wind Instruments."


Jake Hertzog of Fayetteville is studying for a doctorate in higher education at the University of Arkansas, where he is also instructor of guitar. He earned a bachelors degree in guitar performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston and a masters degree in jazz performance at Manhattan School of Music in New York. Hertzog is the recipient of a President’s Award at Manhattan School of Music, Grand Prize Winner at the Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition in Montreux, Switzerland and a Citation for Outstanding Musicianship from International Association of Jazz Educators. His classical recordings include "Stringscapes - A Portrait of the World in Nylon and Steel," anticipated release 2018, "Well Lit Shadow," released 2016 and "Beyond The Standard Model, vol. 1," released 2015.

Candrice Jones of Little Rock is a teacher-ranger at the Central High National Historic Site. She earned a bachelors degree in English and a masters degree in teaching from University of Arkansas at Monticello as well as a masters of fine arts degree in critical studies-creative writing from California Institute of the Arts. Jones is the creator and facilitator of Re-Imagining the Self Playwriting Workshop in Little Rock, which is open to all. She is also an English instructor at Central International Studies Magnet High School. She has been drama instructor for the Arkansas Governor's School. Jones' credits include playwright for "Flex," produced at The Ground Floor at Berkley Rep, director of "Stick Fly" at The Weekend Theater and playwright/producer for "Re-imagining the Self," a 10-minute play showcase at The Weekend Theater. 


Lisa Krannichfeld of Little Rock earned a bachelor's degree in studio art at Colorado College, Colorado Springs and a masters degree in secondary education at University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Krannichfeld has exhibited her work throughout the United States, including solo exhibitions in Batesville, Fayetteville and the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, as well as Byron Bay, Australia. She was the 2017 Grand Prize winner at Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Best in Show at Magic City Art Connection and was featured on the covers of The Idle Class and Fresh Paint magazines. Krannichfeld is the recipient of the 2018 Grand Award in the 60th Annual Delta Exhibition organized by the Arkansas Arts Center.


Rachel Lynett, AKA Rachel Spurgers, of Fayetteville earned a bachelor's degree in theatre and gender studies at University of Notre Dame and a masters of fine arts degree in playwriting at University of Arkansas. Lynett was a Henley Rose Award finalist for her play Good Bad People, nominated for the National New Play Network Smith Prize and the Henley Rose Award for He Did It, winner of Best Comedy for her play "Abortion Road Trip" at the DC Fringe Festival and an invited playwright at the Kennedy Center Playwrights' Workshop. The world premier of her play "Well-Intentioned White People"  played in 2018 at Barrington Stage Theater Co. and was produced by Downstage Left Residency with Stage Left (2017,) part of Orlando Shakespeare New Play Festival. Lynett is also a member of the Arkansas Arts Council Arts in Education Teaching Artist Roster.


Sabine Schmidt of Fayetteville earned a masters of arts degree in American studies at Universität Hamburg, Germany, a master's degree in literary translation, University of Arkansas, and engaged in doctorate studies in comparative literature and cultural studies at University of Arkansas. She translates for the German edition of National Geographic. Schmidt has exhibited her photography extensively in Arkansas. She received a commission award for "Art in Its Natural State" from Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, two Artist Registry Awards from the Arkansas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and Best in Photography/Digital Art at the 20th Annual Artists of Northwest Arkansas Regional Art Exhibition.

John Walch of Fayetteville is an assistant professor and head of the Master of Fine Arts program in playwriting at the University of Arkansas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Colorado College in Colorado Springs and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Playwriting at the University of Texas at Austin. Walch has been guest artist in playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College, New York, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and Ohio State University, Athens. He has held numerous positions as director and resident playwright in high schools across the country, is author of many plays and has been dramaturge at TheatreSquared and Arkansas New Play Festival in Fayetteville as well as playhouses across the United States. Walch's playwriting credits include: "A Hamlet: West of Why," "In the Book Of," "Circumference of a Squirrel," The Dinosaur Within" and "Alice Threw the Looking Glass - a parody of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style." 

About the Arkansas Arts Council

The Arkansas Arts Council, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, advances the arts in Arkansas by providing services and supporting arts endeavors that encourage and assist literary, performing and visual artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arkansas Arts Council provides technical and financial assistance to Arkansas arts organizations and other providers of cultural and educational programs.