Three artists recognized for their enduring vision

Janel Jacobson at work
Netsuke carver Janel Jacobson works on a miniature carving of a bean pod, with a tiny walking stick bug clinging to its side. Jacobson is one of three artists receiving Enduring Vision Awards from the Bush Foundation this year.
MPR Photo/Marianne Combs

The goal of the Enduring Vision awards is to support artists at a time in their career when they're often neglected by funders. The money is intended to carry them through what could be the most productive part of their lives.

Julie Dalgleish, director of the Bush Artist Fellows Program, says there are many baby boomers out there and artists rarely retire. She says while Minnesota is home to many foundations, few support established artists.

Julie Dalgleish
Director of the Bush Foundation's Artist Fellows Program Julie Dalgleish says the new Enduring Vision grants will allow artists of the baby boomer generation to keep on thriving as they hit their 60s and 70s.
MPR Photo/Marianne Combs

"There's a certain excitement in the work of a young artist. I think the leaps in their work are very obvious," Dalgleish said. "With an older artist, those leaps are more subtle. Once they've been working for 25 or 30 years, the way the work evolves is more evolutionary rather than revolutionary."

Dalgleish says the Enduring Vision Awards will allow artists to jump-start their creativity, or maybe even take a break to create an archive of their work.

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This years Awards go to three visual artists. Frank Big Bear specializes in pencil works, Walter Piehl creates western american themed paintings and Janel Jacobson is a carver and sculptor. The money will be issued to the artists over a three to five year period, depending on their individual plans.

For carver Janel Jacobson the award means she will be able to learn how to use a lathe, which will speed up her work. She practices the Japanese art of Netsuke. The grant will allow her to visit masters of the style.

Katydid netsuke
This netsuke made from boxwood shows a female katydid on one side, and a male on the other. On this side you can see the holes for the cord which would hold the netsuke to a pouch or other container for tobacco or medicine.
Photo by Janel Jacobson

"It has been such a long held dream of mine," says Jacobson, "And their invitations to me have shifted from 'come and visit us' to 'I expect you to come to Japan.' That's an increased level of insistence on their part for me to come and now I'm finally going to be able to do it and I'm very excited about it."

The Enduring Vision grant is the only award of this size and intent in the country. Qualifying artists live in either Minnesota or the Dakotas and have at least 25 years of experience.

Next year's Enduring Vision awards will go to writers and performers.