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Kickstarter Honoree Steve Locke Awarded 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship

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Kickstarter has announced its community that artist Steve Locke was awarded a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship by the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His application, which included his Kickstarter-funded project Auction Block Memorial, was chosen among a diverse group of 175 scholars, artists, and writers out of a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the award's 96th year.

In July 2019, Locke launched a Kickstarter campaign to install a public monument in front of Faneuil Hall, the Boston landmark named after slave trader Peter Faneuil, which would acknowledge the lives of the enslaved people who built the city and the nation's wealth. Titled Auction Block Memorial, the project raised $48,024 (from an initial goal of $30,000) within a month, as well as a $150,000 commitment from Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The project was shut down only a week before its public presentation after Locke received opposition from the Boston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Locke was chosen as the honoree of Kickstarter's annual Miami Art Week Dinner later that year. The dinner, attended by 80 curators, artists, and cultural institution leaders, celebrated Locke as he searched for the project's new home. Kickstarter has continued to serve as a platform for the project during this period.

"Challenges are part of an artist's creative process and Steve's story proves that. He faced a difficult, unexpected obstacle that changed his project location for reasons out of his control. Despite this, his perseverance and dedication to the project have earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship and a loyal community of backers who will follow Auction Block Memorial every step of the way," said Patton Hindle, Kickstarter Head of Arts.

Guggenheim Fellowships, awarded annually, are intended for individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. Since its founding nearly a century ago, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted over $360 million to more than 18,000 Fellowship winners.

Steve Locke was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received his M.F.A. in 2001 from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and attended Skowhegan in 2002. He has had residencies with the City of Boston (2018), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (2016), and The MacDowell Colony (2015). He has received grants from Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and Art Matters Foundation. He has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Locke has done projects with ForFreedoms, Kickstarter, the Boston Public Library, the Gardner Museum and P.S. Satellites/Prospect IV in New Orleans and has had gallery exhibitions with yours mine & ours, Samsøñ, Gallery Kayafas, and Mendes Wood. His work has been reviewed in ARTFORUM, Art in America, Art New England, JUXTAPOZ, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker.

Currently a Professor at Pratt Institute, Steve is a painter whose work lives at the intersections of portraiture, identity, and modernism. He uses painting's ability to direct the gaze to help us look critically and unflinchingly at our shared history. His work can be seen at

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