[image-1] Today South Arts, an organization “advancing Southern vitality through the arts,” named nine Southern visual artists as recipients of State Fellowship awards, each valued at $5,000. Local painter Kate Hooray Osmond is one of the finalists, serving as the only representative from South Carolina.

In addition to these fellowship awards, each artist is now in the running for the Southern Prize, which includes a $25,000 cash award as well as a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. The winner of the prize and a $10,000 Finalist award will be announced on April 16 in New Orleans.

While the South Arts Southern Prize is young (its only in its second year), it boasts one of the largest cash awards we’ve seen, regionally at least. In a press release executive director of South Arts Susie Surkamer says, “These State Fellows reflect the richly diverse arts and culture of our region, and each offers a distinct viewpoint with their work and background. The Southern Prize and State Fellowships are an important vehicle for artistic and professional growth of artists in the South.”

[image-2] Osmond is best known for her large-scale paintings of the Lowcountry, ones inspired by source images she takes from helicopters — you know, the usual process. In a recent interview with City Paper Osmond said, “I’ve always been attracted to non-attractive areas, places that wouldn’t show up on the Visitors Bureau’s tourism site. I grew up in Baltimore and there were power plants, steel mills, and all these similar places shielded from highways, and they’re so interesting and architecturally really beautiful.”