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Atlanta tapestry artist Jon Eric Riis receives $50,000 grant

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Tapestry artist Jon Eric Riis has received a $50,000 fellowship grant from the United States Artists. The unrestricted grant is the first to an Atlanta resident by the artist advocacy organization since it launched the awards six years ago.

Informed by his research into the historical textiles of pre-Columbian Peru and Imperial China and Russian ecclesiastical vestments, works by Riis, 66, are included in the Museum of Design Atlanta exhibit “The Opulent Object in Wood, Metal and Fiber” (through Jan. 1).

As in the previous five years, United States Artists announced awards of 50 grants of $50,000 this afternoon. The winners will be honored at a celebration tonight at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Calif.

With today’s announcement, United States Artists has put $15 million into the hands of 300 of what the non-profit termed “America’s most innovative artists — many of whom, despite their achievements, still struggle to make ends meet.”

Riis’ work is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Cleveland Museum of Art, and was the focus of recent solo exhibitions at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio and the Myrna Myers Gallery in Paris.

The Museum of Design Atlanta, where Riis work is being shown alongside wood and metal pieces by Richard Mafong and Mike Harrison, is at 1315 Peachtree St., Atlanta (404-979-6455, www.museumofdesign.org).

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