The Colene Brown Art Prize is now in its third year of helping New York artists achieve their creative goals, reports The Brooklyn Eagle. This year in partnership with Bric, the Harold and Colene Brown Family Foundation awarded $100,000 total to ten artists.

This year’s winners included three talented Brooklyn-based artists: Valeria Hegarty, Aaron Gilbert, and Sara Jimenez. All three explore the parameters of visual art in drastically different ways. However, they all use art to investigate the deeply ancestral and intentional process of creating.

Valerie Hegarty, who creates paintings, sculptures and installations which she says “explore issues of memory, place and history.” Painter Aaron Gilbert, whose ‘Psychic Novellas’ portray the complexities of intimate relationships through deeply emotive imagery. And Sara Jimenez, who “creates immersive installations that reflect on marginalized and colonial histories, oppressive and reclaimed power, and loss through her perspective as a Filipino-Canadian.”

“I’m really interested in the idea of world-creation and storytelling. ‘Psychic Novellas’ are what I started calling my work because I’m interested in the spiritual, the metaphysical, and the mischief and unknown of those things, stated painter Aaron Gilbert. “There’s always these questions of something on the other side that we can access, to make us more potent in this world. I’ve been inspired by Frida Kahlo, because she’s always starting from her own personal life and putting everything into that, in terms of political, myth-making or historical themes too.”

The three artists expressed deep gratitude for the painting, some of whom did not even realize they were nominated.

“It felt fantastic.I didn’t know who nominated me or how many people were up for it,” said multidisciplinary artist Valerie Hegarty. “I’ve been nominated for a lot of other grants and I’ve applied for a lot of other grants, so I wasn’t expecting it. It was a really wonderful surprise. Then I found out who nominated me, and she’s another artist who I really admire, so that also felt really good.”

With approximately $10,000 each, the artists plan to use their award money for a wide range of things including rent, studio space, art supplies and more. The award grants artists more time explore their craft and focus on developing their immediate projects, which to many is a luxury.

“Supporting artists throughout their lifecycle is at the heart of BRIC’s mission, and the Colene Browne Art Prize is a tangible way that we’re able to directly impact the course of an artist’s creative pursuits, stated Wes Jackson, BRIC President and Elizabeth Ferrer, BRIC Chief Curator, Contemporary Art. ” It’s a privilege to be able to offer this prize, now in its third year, and we look forward to seeing these artists continue to grow. BRIC thanks Deborah Brown Harold and the Colene Brown Family Foundation for their continued generosity.”

Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at both London City University and Williams College majoring in Political Science, Art History, and Africana Studies.

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