Three Local Artists Earn Rhode Island Foundation Fellowships

The grants were awarded to three visual artists who are looking to make creative waves in the Ocean State.

“The Wanderer” by Jordan Seaberry.

Three talented Rhode Island artists just got a boost from the Rhode Island Foundation. The Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund has awarded $25,000 grants — with no strings attached — to three local artists in visual arts, music or literature every year since 2005. The fellowships are designed to enable artists to concentrate time on the creative process, focus on personal or professional development, expand their body of work and explore new directions.

This year, the fellowships were awarded to three visual artists who are looking to make creative waves in the Ocean State.

Art by Sheida Soleimani.

Sheida Soleimani is an Iranian-American artist who melds sculpture, collage and photography to create works that reference Iranian politics. The daughter of political refugees driven out by the Iranian government in the 1980’s, she puts powerful context to her perspective on Iran.

Plans: Soleimani has upcoming shows in cities all over the world — from London to Portland, Oregon. Her project will include aspects of photography, film and sculpture. With the funding of the fellowship, she was able to purchase an incredible new camera that will aid in her work going forward.


Art by Jordan Seaberry.

Jordan Seaberry is a painter and mixed media specialist. His background as director of public policy and advocacy at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence influences his work. This focus is best illustrated by the Violences Project, for which Seaberry creates paintings by working with the families of gun violence victims in Providence.

Plans: He is going to use the grant to get a new level of access to the artistic community in Providence and experiment within the community. Through this new access, Seaberry hopes to give a voice to those who are not traditionally heard in the public discourse.


Photography by RaMell Ross.

RaMell Ross is a photographer, writer and a professor in Brown University’s visual arts department. His work is about looking at the way that film and text are two managing constructs of human potential that determine difference. As a liberated documentarian, he works in large-format photography, film and text.

Plans: He will use the grant to pay for upcoming travel expenses and some new equipment to support his upcoming projects.