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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.

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.

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.

Applications for the 2020 McKnight Fiber Artist Fellowships are now closed. To be added to our email list for next year’s fellowship information, please sign up here.



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

Artists who are eligible for the 2021 fellowships:

  • Must have resided in Minnesota for at least 1 year prior to the application deadline.
  • Must maintain residency in Minnesota for the duration of the fellowship period, January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021. Fellows who travel for work outside of the state during the fellowship year should be in the state for at least six months (at least 183 days) and should have a plan to return to Minnesota.
  • Must be midcareer with an extensive, independent body of artwork created over a period of at least 8 years, representing a sustained investigation and maturation of personal creativity, accomplishment, and commitment to the field of fiber art.
  • Must currently be producing work that falls within an arts context, related to the field of fiber and textiles through materials, process, or sensibilities.
  • Must demonstrate a high aesthetic level of artistic ability, strong consistency of expression, and an established personal voice over the course of their career.
  • Must have made a significant impact in the field of fiber art in the region, state, or nation as demonstrated by respect of peers and community, contributions to excellence, and public recognition of the art form through exhibiting, teaching, preserving and/or advocacy.
  • Must not have been a recipient of a McKnight Artist Fellowship within any artistic discipline in the last 5 years.  (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 McKnight Fellows are ineligible.)
  • Must demonstrate growth and ongoing artistry since their most recent McKnight Artist Fellowship.
  • Must not be current staff, board, or immediate family of Textile Center, the McKnight Foundation, or any of McKnight’s other fellowship administrative partners. Independent contractors and faculty are not considered staff and are therefore eligible to apply.
  • Must not be enrolled full-time in any academic program.

Note: Applicants to this fellowship program will not be eligible to apply for any other 2021 McKnight Artist Fellowships. You can only submit one application during each fellowship year. Please carefully consider which program best fits your work.  To view all of McKnight’s fellowship funding opportunities for the year, CLICK HERE.


To stay up-to-date on announcements and information regarding the McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists, please join our email list here.

If you have questions regarding eligibility, guidelines, and application process for the 2021 fellowship process, contact:

Tracy Krumm, Director for Artistic Advancement, tkrumm@textilecentermn.org



“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

For the latest news on the application process, join our email list here.

For questions about the fellowship process, please contact tkrumm@textilecentermn.org.