Troy University’s Will Jacks awarded fellowship by Alabama State Council on the Arts

Jacks works in his studio during a residency on the Gulf Coast this summer.

Jacks works in his studio during a residency on the Gulf Coast this summer.

Will Jacks, Assistant Professor of Art & Design at Troy University, has received a fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, along with a $5,000 grant.

ASCA fellowships are awarded to individuals working in arts education, dance, design, media/photography, music, literature, theater, visual arts and crafts. These grants recognize artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity, contributing to the further development of the artist. Fellows use funding to support the growth and development of their artistic careers through time creating, practicing and improving their skill, pursuit of professional development and training, or other opportunities that lead to success for these Alabama artists. 

“I am proud to see how our Fellowship grants enable Alabama artists to enhance their practice. Supporting and nurturing artistic talent is fundamental to the cultural richness and diversity of our state,” said Council board chair Lisa Blach Weil.

Will Jacks

Jacks is one of twelve visual artists recognized. He received one of two awards given to photographers.

“I just completed my third year living in Alabama. I’m still getting my bearings in the state and connecting with other creators has been an impactful part of that process for me,” Jacks said. “There is such a rich artistic history in the state, and to be recognized in this way is such an honor. Alabama has been so welcoming to me. To be included with all the other amazing artists on this list is quite humbling.”

Jacks holds both a MFA from the Maine College of Art and an MA in journalism from the University of Mississippi. He has worked extensively in cultural and arts development throughout his career. He plans to use this award to extend exploration of each of those areas to his new home in Alabama.

“My artistic practice has shifted into explorations of the materiality of photography. In the photo history course that I have developed, I ground each lesson around the concept of ‘truth’. Photography has a long and complex history with ideas of truth,” he said. “I’ve grown increasingly curious about ways of making that challenge perceptions of photographic norms – the material itself is a part of this pursuit. I decided to blend the material explorations of my art education with the documentary understandings of my journalism training. I spent most of my life in a region defined by the lens of William Eggleston. My new home is near the land made famous by William Christenberry. My own previous work falls into that lineage. What might happen if the curiosity of place reflective in the work of these two influential photographers becomes merged with the curiosity of material I discovered in art school? I hope to find out.”

The Council on the Arts is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts in Alabama. The council works to expand and preserve the state’s cultural resources by supporting nonprofit arts organizations, schools, colleges, units of local government and individual artists. Arts programs, assisted by council grants, have a track record of enhancing community development, education, cultural tourism and overall quality of life in all regions of the state. Alabama State Council on the Arts grants are made possible by an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and additional funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn more at arts.alabama.gov.   

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