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Elissa Blount Moorhead Named as First Rubys-Sponsored Residency Awardee

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The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation announced today that Elissa Blount Moorhead has been selected from a pool of more than 170 past Ruby grantees to receive a fully-funded residency and material stipend through a new partnership with Art Omi in the Hudson Valley.

The multidisciplinary artist, author, and curator will join international artists at Art Omi for an intensive, creative exchange and focused studio time. The announcement comes as the Rubys Artist Grants application cycle reopens to Baltimore-area artists and the foundation launches new initiatives to reengage past awardees—including the Rubys Alumni Award which will recognize one outstanding project annually with $25,000 in funding. 

Moorhead first received a Ruby grant in 2017 to develop her public art project As of A Now, which debuted at the 2018 edition of Light City. That project used video projection mapping to reanimate vacant buildings, paying homage to the experiences of former residents. 

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend time with the work that I am passionate about,” Moorhead wrote to us, “The Rubys funded my very first Baltimore based project and it was catalytic support. It was particularly critical because it was something that was not traditional or legible to most. The Ruby was very affirming and allowed me to take creative chances early in my project’s development.”  

Elissa Blount Moorhead, As Of A Now (AOAN), 2018
I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend time with the work that I am passionate about. The Rubys funded my very first Baltimore based project and it was catalytic support. It was particularly critical because it was something that was not traditional or legible to most. The Ruby was very affirming and allowed me to take creative chances early in my project's development.
Elissa Blount Moorhead

The 2024 Rubys will, once again, utilize a two-phase application, which opens February 27, 2024. The award invites artists in all four categories: Literary Arts, Media Arts, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts, to apply, and projects will be reviewed by experts in each discipline. Now, other Rubys alumni—even those who no longer live and work in Baltimore—are encouraged to apply for a follow-up $25,000 award. The lucky recipient will be asked to mentor the next generation of Rubys awardees, giving studio visits and artist talks. 

While Moorhead has already been awarded this year’s residency at Omi in the visual arts cohort, another Ruby alum will be selected in the coming year for a funded residency in performance or literary arts. 

Moorhead stressed the importance of this opportunity for herself and her peers: “Funded residencies allow artists time to dedicate to work that is often embryonic, or experimental, and often the projects that you are unable to focus on during your busiest times.  As a working artist and mother, residencies like Omi allow me to break away and have sacred time with my ideas. I am able to develop work and benefit from peer discussions and inspiration in a conducive setting in a way that my normal grind prohibits.”

For more information on the Rubys Artists Grants and how to apply, visit  The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation website. [Note: BmoreArt also receives generous support from The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and in the interest of journalistic integrity we should probably let readers know that we love them very much.]

More info: Elissa Blount Moorhead is an artist exploring the poetics of quotidian life in film and expanded media. She has created public art, exhibitions, and cultural programs for the last 30 years. As a principal partner at TNEG film studios, with Arthur Jafa and Malik Sayeed and as co-founder Red Clay Arts in NYC, she has co-produced and curated over 20 exhibitions and multimedia projects including Random Occurrences; Cat Calls (Street Harassment project); Practicum; FunkGodJazzMedicine; and Art in Odd Places.

She was awarded the Comedy Central-Sundance Award, USA Artist Fellowship, Saul Zaentz Innovation Fellowship, Ford Foundation /Just Films/ Fellowship, and Adobe Women in Film Fellowship, The Baker Award, and the Creative Capital Award. She is the creator of fiftyTWO, an episodic dramedy developed at the Sundance Episodic Lab.

She created and directed a 3D mapping and Augmented Reality installation As of Now , directed PBS’ Apologue for the Darkest Gods, MTV’s 9 Things, and co- director of Jay Z’s 4:44 and 4-channel film installation, Back And Song with co-director Bradford Young.

Moorhead has created public art, exhibitions, and cultural programs for the last 25 years. As a principal partner at TNEG film studios, with Arthur Jafa and Malik Sayeed and as co-founder Red Clay Arts in NYC, she has co-produced and curated over 20 exhibitions and multimedia projects including Random Occurrences; Cat Calls (Street Harassment project); Practicum; FunkGodJazzMedicine; and Art in Odd Places. She was awarded the USA Artist Fellowship in (2018), Saul Zaentz Innovation Fellowship (2017), Ford Foundation /Just Films/Rockwood Fellowship (2017) and Ruby Award (2016), The Baker Award (2017) Creative Capital (2018) and Eyebeam (2020) Sundance Episodic Lab (2020) Comedy Central /Sundance Award (2020) and Adobe Women in Film Fellowship (2020).

She is the author of P is for Pussy, an illustrated She is the author of P is for Pussy, an illustrated “children’s” humor book and is featured in the anthologies ; How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin and Black Cinema & Visual Culture Art and Politics in the 21st Century Edited By Artel Great and Ed Guerrero.

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