Alumnus Paul Stephen Benjamin wins South Arts Southern Prize
On Monday, April 16, 2018, the South Arts organization honored alumnus Paul Stephen Benjamin (M.F.A. ’13) with the prestigious South Arts Southern Prize. He was selected from of nine state fellows recognized for their thriving art practice and awarded a $25,000 prize and a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge support and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South.
Paul Stephen Benjamin graduated from the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design at Georgia State University with a concentration in sculpture. A recipient of the 2014 Artadia Award, his immersive art installations were featured at the High Museum of Art and at a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA), part of a Working Artist Program grant. Most recently, he exhibited at the Telfair museum in Savannah and was included in the well-reviewed group show, “Fictions,” at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
“Paul is an outstanding artist, and winning this prestigious regional award is a testament to his artistic excellence,” said Wade Weast, dean of the College of the Arts. “We are proud to call him an alumnus and are pleased to see that he has been recognized as the Southern Prize Winner.”
Benjamin’s work is multimedia, spanning performance, sculpture, video, sound and painting. His clever titles and solemn themes meditate on color and sound to critically examine and the notion of “blackness.”
“When I look at what opportunities we have, as artists living in the South, this is so significant. There are not many of these prizes for artists who are not in New York. I’m very honored and believe this is very important and helps us artists do what we believe we are called to do.”
The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships (announced in February) are open to visual artists living in the South Arts region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. A national panel evaluated the body of work by the nine State Fellowship recipients and selected the prize winner and finalist at an awards ceremony in New Orleans. For more information on the finalists and program, visit https://www.southarts.org/individual-artists/southern-prize-artist-fellowships/