Two Oklahomans are among 54 national artists awarded a $50,000 fellowship from United States Artists, a national grant-making and advocacy organization that recognizes innovative and influential artists in a variety of artistic endeavors.
Edgar Heap of Birds was one of eight people honored in the visual arts.
LeAnne Howe was one of six recipients in the literature category.
Fellowships also were awarded in architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, media, music and theater arts.
The awards ceremony was Sunday at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Enrolled in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Heap of Birds holds degrees in art from the University of Kansas and Temple University. He has also studied at the Royal College of Art in London, England.
A faculty member at the University of Oklahoma since 1988, Heap of Birds teaches Native American studies and fine arts where his seminars explore issues of the contemporary artist on a local, national and international basis.
“I am so very proud to be honored along with these greatly talented and gifted artists,” Heap of Birds said. “The selection represents many years of hard work from artists across America who believe in the will to express (themselves) in order to better our collective world. I look forward to utilizing these helpful funds to create new Native American public art of social justice in Vancouver and Berlin while making personal artworks via prints and paintings. The support will also allow more creative activity at my private studio in Oklahoma City.”
Howe, a member of the Choctaw Nation, teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An author, playwright and scholar, Howe has written fiction, creative nonfiction, plays, poetry and screenplays that deal primarily with American Indian experiences. She holds degrees from Oklahoma State University and Vermont College.