Three Minnesotans announced as Guggenheim Fellows

Person stands in studio with art01
2023 MacArthur fellow Dyani White Hawk with her beaded artworks. White Hawk was one of three Minnesotans awarded Guggenheim Fellowships Thursday.
Courtesy of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Updated: 4:48 p.m.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced their 2024 fellows Thursday, including three artists from Minnesota: Visual artist Dyani White Hawk, author David Mura and painter Lamar Peterson.

The annual fellowship dates back to 1925 and is one of the most prestigious awards given to scholars and artists who are citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada.

Winners are chosen from a pool of approximately 3,000 applicants with about 175 fellowships awarded annually. The fellowship is accompanied by a grant to help fund a specific project. The amount varies from project to project, but past grants have averaged between $40,000 and $55,000.

White Hawk works out of the Casket Arts building in Northeast Minneapolis and lives in Shakopee. The Lakota artist is known for her beadwork and fusing traditional practices with modern art.

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The fellowship comes on the tail of White Hawk winning a Creative Capital grant earlier this year, and a MacArthur fellowship in 2023.

"I'm thrilled and excited," White Hawk said. “To have that support is a sense of relief; that we have another pool of financial support to help create some really ambitious pieces that we're working on for the Walker exhibition that's coming up.”

White Hawk will have a solo exhibition at the Walker Art Center in fall 2025. For that show, she and her team are making “something new, big and sculptural.”

A person poses for a portrait
Author David Mura poses for a portrait at his home Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
Nicole Neri for MPR News

David Mura is an author, poet and playwright who lives in St. Paul. Much of his writing has explored his Japanese American experience, including 1991’s “Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei” and “Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire” from 2008.

“It's great,” Mura said. “I mean, the money is obviously great. But it's also the recognition that comes from receiving the Guggenheim Fellowship, which is, I think is extraordinarily prestigious. And it reaffirms, for me the belief in my work.”

Mura said that he plans to create a new memoir inspired, in part, by his parents, who were interned during World War II.

“Both my parents passed in the last two years, and all of their generation of second-generation Japanese Americans have passed in the last few years. So as the oldest in the extended family in the one writer, I feel like I'm a vessel and a voice for our whole family history.”

painting shows a flower arch
"The Rose Trellis," oil on canvas, 2023, by Lamar Peterson.
Courtesy of Lamar Peterson

Lamar Peterson is on the art faculty at the University of Minnesota. He received a fellowship for a research and art project he’s calling “Showing the Invisible.”

“It feels amazing,’ Peterson said. Peterson is a figurative and portrait artist whose canvases pop with color often under white-hot sunlight.

Peterson’s Guggenheim project was inspired by his father, who died from cancer two years ago and who had been an artist earlier in his life in Georgia, but had to abandon it to raise a family.

“As a young person I inherited his oil paints, and I started to paint in oil and started to make art,” Peterson said. “The research is about going down to the south where my family grew up in Georgia and researching marginalized artists from predominantly African American artists that were creative in their communities but didn't have the support or the outlet to be more well known, or pursue the arts and a larger platform.”

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.