Maggie Thompson (Visual Arts 2008) Named Jerome Hill Artist Fellow
January 26, 2023
The Jerome Foundation recently announced the 2023 grant recipients in the third round of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships program. Among the recipients of the 54 Fellowships awarded is Maggie Thompson (Visual Arts 2008). Eight artists were selected in each of the fields of dance; film, video and digital production; literature; music; theater, performance and spoken word; and visual arts, and three in each of the newly added fields of technology centered arts and combined artistic fields) to early-career artists based in Minnesota and New York City.
Maggie Thompson (Fond du Lac Ojibwe) was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2013. As a textile artist and designer she derives her inspiration from the history of her Ojibwe heritage, exploring family history as well as themes and subject matter of the broader Native American experience. Thompson’s work calls attention to its materiality pushing the viewer’s traditional understanding of textiles. She explores materials in her work by incorporating multimedia elements such as photographs, beer caps, and 3D-printed objects.
In Thompson’s fellowship statement, she wrote, “I want to begin researching my Mom’s side of the family more in depth in order to create new photographic, textile-based work using weaving and industrial knitting techniques. As I have created so much work based on the loss of my Dad, I want to create new work based on the joy of my Mother. Having the ability to reflect on the relationship of mother and daughter will also be important on a personal level, as she is growing older. I have begun this body of work through a single commissioned piece for the Hood Museum of Art. The work is a self portrait photograph that is cut down in to strips that are being woven through with blue 1/8″ pieces of ribbon. The overall pattern created with the ribbon is based on my mom’s blue and white dishes with an Ojibwe floral flare. I want to continue exploring this new technique of weaving photography and ribbon, along with refining my programming skills on the industrial Stoll knitting machine to continue to challenge preconceived ideas of what Native art should and can be.”
Selected for the 2023 Renwick Invitational at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Thompson has recently had solo exhibitions that include “Just Friends” at Bockley Gallery (2022) and “Dakobijige / She Ties Things Together” at the Watermark Center in Bemidji, Minnesota (2021). Thompson had her first solo exhibition “Where I Fit” at All My Relations Gallery in 2014 and has since exhibited at institutions such as the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the the Plains Art Museum. In 2015, she received support from the Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership Grant and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Regional Fellowship to create a body of work for her exhibit “On Borrowed Time” at the Minnesota Textile Center. The Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Minnesota Historical Society have both acquired pieces from Thompson to be a part of their permanent collection.
In addition to her fine arts practice, Thompson runs a knitwear business known as Makwa Studio and is also an emerging curator of contemporary Native art at and has worked on curating special exhibits for Two Rivers Gallery, the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
The two-year Fellowship awards total $2,700,000. Each award is $50,000 over two years ($25,000 per year) in direct support to artists to create new work, advance artistic goals and/or promote professional development. President Ben Cameron noted, “The Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships program, now in its third iteration, has become a signature program for the Foundation. Its unique combination of supporting the creation of new work, artistic development and professional development through individually tailored multiyear grants offers artists important support in ways that are flexible, significant and responsive.”
Field-specific panels, composed of artists, curators, artistic leaders and arts administrators, reviewed a total of 702 applicants before identifying 129 as finalists for fuller discussion in advance of recommending a slate of Fellows to the Jerome Board of Directors for approval. In their deliberations, panels considered applicants’ past works, artistic accomplishments, the potential impact of a fellowship on their careers and their artistic field, and their alignment with Jerome’s values of diversity, innovation and risk, and humility. In reaching the final roster of Fellows, panels were charged with recommending to the Jerome Board a cohort that collectively captures the energy and diversity of their respective fields.
“Approving Fellowship grants is a highlight of the year for the Board of the Jerome Foundation. This year’s cohort again represents a thrilling social and aesthetic range of artists who will receive Fellowships that will enable them to advance their practices and engage their communities. Through its central support of artists at early stages in their careers, this program continues the legacy and practice of Jerome Hill himself in an exciting way,” said Board Chair Kate Barr of Minnesota. Jerome Board members also include Sarah Bellamy, Helga Davis, Daniel Alexander Jones, Thomas Lax, Lori Pourier, Rick Scott and Sanjit Sethi.