Jeffery Mims Awarded Schapiro Prize by ICA&CA
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America announces that painter and muralist D. Jeffrey Mims, of Southern Pines, is the winner of its second biannual Alma Schapiro Prize.
The Alma Schapiro Prize is awarded to advance the career of an artist recipient and to foster the continuity of knowledge of the classical tradition as a vital aspect of contemporary culture around the globe. This prize alternates years with the Rieger Graham Prize for classical architecture and planning and is made possible by a permanent Institute endowment granted by the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund.
Mims has been awarded this three-month affiliated fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, the premier American overseas center for independent study and research in the fine arts and humanities. The total award includes Academy fees, travel allotment and expense stipend. Mims' three-month stay will begin in the fall of 2009.
"The creation of the Alma Schapiro Prize introduces a new chapter in the history of the American Academy in Rome, and it is an honor to be selected as the recipient for 2009," said Mims. "I hope to use this period in Rome not only to enrich the direction of my own work in fresco and mural painting, but also to encourage at every opportunity a more cohesive intellectual discourse with the many kindred spirits who share this momentum toward the classical in painting, sculpture and architecture."
This prize fellowship provides an opportunity for those with a classical perspective to be challenged and appreciated at the Academy. Mims has a particular interest in mural decoration. In Rome, he will primarily study and draw inspiration from the rich local collections of Renaissance and Baroque fresco paintings with their unparalleled concentration of decorative traditions, both figurative and ornamental.
Mims brings an extensive background of European training and intensive personal study to the formation of his work, assimilating elements from the history of both sculpture and painting.
Born in North Carolina in 1954, Mims attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1976, Mims was awarded an Elizabeth T. Greenshields Foundation grant to further his traditional training. Mims used this support for an intensive year of independent study in the museums of England, France, and Italy. In 1981 Mims returned to Florence, Italy, where he studied for another year with fellow native North Carolinian, muralist Benjamin Long.
Over the next decade, Mims maintained studios in Italy and North Carolina, during which time he undertook a series of large works, including a fresco for Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Glendale Springs, an altarpiece for Saint David's Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Md., and murals for Samford University, Birmingham, Ala. In 1984 Mims received an Arthur Ross Award in Painting for his collective work to date and, notably, the Holy Trinity fresco.
Based on the principles of the Ross Award, "excellence and integrity in the application of classical ideals," Mims Studios -- A School of Fine Art opened its doors in Southern Pines in 2001.
In 2006, Mims was invited to co-curate an exhibition at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga., titled "Slow Painting: a Deliberate Renaissance" for which he contributed an essay, "Distinguishing the Essential from the Accidental."
Jacob Collins, founding director of the ICA&CA's fine arts division called the Grand Central Academy of Art, Institute board member, and Schapiro Prize jury chairman, said, "Jeffrey Mims has been at the forefront of the revival of classical art for the last 20 years. He has made great contributions as an artistic leader as well as a teacher. His school, Mims Studios, plays an important role in the training of young classical artists. We are delighted and honored to be able to offer the Alma Schapiro Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome to him."
Paul Gunther, president of the ICA&CA adds, "I am grateful to Jacob Collins and his fellow jurors for the decision made, despite once again the fierce competition from exemplary classical artists at work across the country today. In particular, the choice for the 2009 Fellowship of Jeffrey Mims reminds us all of the value of a mid-career sojourn at the Academy unfolding as it will among such committed creative trailblazers of many disciplines both artistic and scholarly. I know that both Mims' own work as well as his commitment to teaching will be duly enhanced. Of the Institute's two alternating American Academy prize fellowships, Schapiro in the fine arts and Rieger-Graham in architecture, Mims is the first recipient, who can bring to bear an already well- and long-established career with the prospect of renewed achievement in its promising wake."
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