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2020 McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists

Congrats to our two inaugural McKnight Fiber Artist Fellows: Liz Miller & Eun-Kyung Suh.

Fellowship Period: January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

Artwork by Eun-Kyung Suh
Installation Detail by Liz Miller

Liz Miller

Liz Miller’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Past awards include a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, a McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, and several Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Miller has participated in artist residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, LA, and the McColl Center for Art and Innovation in Charlotte, NC. She lives and works in Good Thunder, MN, and is Professor of Installation Art and Drawing at Minnesota State University – Mankato.

Learn more about Liz and her work HERE!

Eun-Kyung Suh

Korean-born, Duluth-based textile installation artist Eun-Kyung Suh received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA, USA. Since 2008 she has focused on a series of sculptural vessels as metaphors for personal, family, and cultural memories. These vessels are created out of diaphanous textiles, originally inspired by Bojagi, a traditional Korean art form. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and was published in Textiles: The Art of Mankind (Thames & Hudson), Surface Design Journal (SDA), Metalsmith (SNAG), and others. Currently, Eun-Kyung Suh is a professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Learn more about Eun-Kyung Suh and her work HERE!

Elissa Auther

Elissa Auther is Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York. She has published widely on a diverse set of topics, including her book String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art, which focuses on the broad utilization of fiber in art of the 1960s and 1970s and the changing hierarchical relationship between art and craft expressed by the medium’s new visibility.Her most recent exhibitions for MAD include Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro and Vera Paints a Scarf: The Art and Design of Vera Neumann.  elissaauther.com

Karen Hampton

Karen Hampton is an internationally recognized conceptual artist, addressing issues of colorism and kinship within the African American community. Hampton’s art practice is the synthesis of memory, history, time, and cloth. Hampton serves on the Board of Directors of the Textile Society of America, and is an Assistant Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. kdhampton.com

Mark Newport

Mark Newport, artist and educator, is currently the Artist in Residence and Head of Fiber at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at The Arizona State University Art Museum, The Cranbrook Art Museum, The Chicago Cultural Center, and Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, MO. It is currently on view at the Third Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art in Hangzhou, China. The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum are a few of the many public collections that include his work.  marknewportartist.com

Fiber art is thriving in Minnesota, and the field’s growth as an artistic discipline has been validated by the McKnight Foundation’s expansion of its McKnight Artist Fellowships Program to include two $25,000 fellowships to be awarded each year to individual midcareer fiber artists living and working in Minnesota.

In addition to the $25,000 unrestricted award in support of their studio work and practice, McKnight Fiber Artist Fellows will receive:

  • Critiques/studio visits with three critics from the field.
  • Exhibition at the end of the fellowship period in the Joan Mondale Gallery at Textile Center.
  • Participation in two public discussions that feature fellows and invited critics and curators.
  • Professional development support, such as attending conferences, workshops, and marketing advice for their work.
  • Access to Textile Center’s resources, including library of more than 30,500 books and periodicals, state-of-the-art dye lab, and artisan shop opportunities.

The intent of the McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists is to recognize and support talented Minnesota fiber and textile artists whose work is of exceptional artistic merit. These fellowships are in support of individual artists who are at a career stage beyond emerging. Fiber Artists, as defined for the purposes of this fellowship, are artists who use textile and fiber arts materials, processes and/or sensibilities in their artistic practice throughout the conception, execution, and resolution of their work.



The McKnight Foundation, a family foundation based in Minnesota, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive.

Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, the McKnight Foundation’s arts program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1981. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 14 different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the foundation contributes about $1.7 million per year to its statewide fellowships.

A focus on racial equity is at the heart of the McKnight approach to funding. Along with Textile Center, our organizations value diversity and equity, seeking to be inclusive and accessible to all applicants. We welcome and encourage applications from artists representing diverse cultural perspectives.

To learn more about McKnight Artist Fellowships, visit: mcknight.org/artistfellowships

“McKnight Artist Fellowships increase the exploratory opportunity, economic stability, and productive capacity of artists by providing unrestricted cash awards and artistic and professional development opportunities for midcareer artists in Minnesota.”

—Arleta Little, Arts Program Officer and Director of Artist Fellowships