Michael Covello Wins 2014 Carolyn F. Heller Grant Award
The family of Carolyn F. Heller (carolynhellerart.com), a popular figure in the Florida visual arts community, in conjunction with the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, today announced that local artist Michael Covello has been named the 2014 recipient of the Carolyn F. Heller Grant award. Covello is the third artist to win this perpetual grant and wants to bring attention to the Seminole Heights neighborhood he has called home since 2010.
Covello will spearhead five to 10 art installations, called The Potter's Field Project, starting within a month and spanning the entire summer, each taking a week or two to complete. He will use paint, fabric, canvas, wood, metal, paper and other materials, then thoroughly document the finished pieces with new photography equipment purchased with his award winnings.
Covello said he wants to spark thought and debate not only about his work, but also through the unique locations the installations will appear. That's why he has chosen to work in abandoned buildings, including foreclosed homes. The Potter's Field Project takes its name from the term for valueless areas of land turned into burial sites for the unknown.
"I knew it would be a project that would be difficult to do without support," said Covello, 28. "I want to start a dialogue about the art, but also the locations and the socio-political aspect of what's happened to the properties and the people who once dwelled there."
Because the installations won't last very long, Covello wants to center most of his effort around documenting the final product. He plans to exhibit the final documentation of this project at Tampa's Community Stepping Stones, an after school art program for children. He hopes to host future art talks, centered on these installations, at local colleges and universities, including the University of South Florida where he earned a Master's Degree in Fine Arts last year and currently works in the art department.
"Our mother had a special affinity for public art and also trained at USF," says Fran Heller, Carolyn Heller's daughter. "She would be delighted that a USF alumnus is applying the award in the local community through an artistic vehicle that meant so much to her. We look forward to seeing the results of Michael's work."
Covello, born and raised in New York, was the highest scoring visual artist as determined by a panel of judges convened by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. The panel judged applicants based on impact of the artist or proposed project on the community, evidence of the artist's commitment to personal artistic development, the potential for the proposed project to contribute to the artist's personal growth, a realistic and well-defined budget and the quality of the artist's work samples.
Carolyn F. Heller Grant Winners:
2014 - Michael Covello
2013 - Michael Parker
2012 - Arnolkis Turro
About The Carolyn F. Heller Grant Award
The Carolyn F. Heller Grant, a permanent award supported by a fund created by donations to Hillsborough Arts, is presented annually to the top-scoring artist in the Council's Individual Artist Grant Program. The program funds accomplished artists or those with promising potential, providing support for specific projects that would further advance the artists' professional growth. Carolyn F. Heller was a Florida artist who created works of bold shape and vivid color. She was influenced by abstract expressionism early in her 60-year career, yet her style evolved to embrace an unambiguous and playful vitality that mirrored her personality. She started drawing and painting in the 1950s. Beginning with printmaking, wood-cuts and acrylics on canvas, she expanded into mixed-media on fabric, furniture and other everyday items. In every context, her work was sensual and full of energy. Passionate about public art, she was a long-serving member of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. She also helped establish the county's Public Art Committee, which selects and purchases artwork for public display. Visit www.carolynhellerart.com for opportunities to view and purchase works from Heller's private collection. See more of her work at www.facebook.com/carolynhellerart.
About Michael Covell
Michael Covello is an award-winning artist and print maker who paints in an unkempt vernacular where a symphony of marks, colors and shapes accumulate within a shallow, dense space. Covello earned his Bachelor's in Fine Arts from Cornell University in 2008 and his Master's in Fine Arts from the University of South Florida in 2013. He has worked at USF since 2010 as a Professor/ Instructor of Record, Beginning and Intermediate Painting and Drawing and as a production associate at the university's Graphicstudio, an institute for research in art. Covello has participated on multiple solo, two-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally. See his works at http://michaelcovello.com/.