This week South Arts, the nonprofit regional arts service organization that seeks to advance Southern vitality through the arts announced the recipients of $5,000 state fellowships.

Nine visual artists, including Charleston’s Kristi Ryba, were awarded $5,000 and are now in competition for the $25,000 Southern Prize with a residency at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences as well as the $10,000 Southern Prize Finalist awards.

In a press release executive director of South Arts, Susie Surkamer, said: “South Arts is immensely proud to support every one of these artists, craftspeople, and tradition-bearers. Especially as our country enters the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, artists are among those most vulnerable to losing income. Yet their creativity, work, and stories are what carry us forward and will be integral to rebuilding our communities.”

This isn’t Ryba’s first time taking home cash for her artistic talents. In 2018 she won $25,000 at Lake City’s ArtFields for her mixed-media piece, “Chapel of Perpetual Adoration.”

Ryba uses her family’s vintage photographs to make paintings based on the iconography and ideals of Medieval and Renaissance altarpieces and manuscripts. Since the November 2016 election she has been substituting photographs of Trump and his administration into existing manuscripts that depict what Ryba believes is the “shallow and corrupt nature of this government.”

Learn more about Ryba online.

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