Subscribe to our email list
Nebraska Arts Council
Nebraska Arts Council Announces Individual Artist Fellowships in Visual Arts

For additional information contact: Hannah Gill, Communications Manager, 402.595.2122,


(Omaha, Nebraska) – Nine Nebraska artists were recently selected as recipients of the Nebraska Arts Council’s 2019 Individual Artist Fellowship award in Visual Arts. This prestigious program recognizes exemplary work by Nebraska artists on a three-year rotation between artistic disciplines: Visual Arts, Performing Arts/Filmmaking, and Literature.

The recipients were selected from a pool of 84 applicants by a panel of peer professionals including Kristan Kennedy, Artistic Director, Curator of Visual Art for the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA); Jade Powers, Assistant Curator for the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; and Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. A total of $24,000 was divided among the receiving artists.

The recipients of the 2019 Individual Artist Fellowship award in Visual Arts are:
$4,000 Award                            $3,000 Award                            $1,000 Award
Michael Villareal (Lincoln)          Mary Zicafouse (Omaha)           Sarah Berkely (Lincoln)
Francisco Souto (Lincoln)          Ella Weber (Bennington)            Holly Kranker (Omaha)
Aaron Holz (Lincoln)                  Bradley Peters (Lincoln)             Rachel Mindrup (Omaha)

About the winners: Click on winners' names for more information

Michael Villareal
Michael Villareal is a proud first-generation college graduate with a MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who has acted as a resident at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in 2017 and received a Lincoln Mayor’s Arts Award- Kimmel Award. His work includes unique depictions of common household objects. Currently, Villareal is the gallery manager and an adjunct professor at Doane University in Crete, Nebraska. His work includes installations of unique depictions of common household objects.

Francisco Souto
Francisco Souto was born in Mérida, Venezuela and received an MFA from The Ohio State University. His honors include more than 45 national and international awards and grants including Special prize at the 7th International Triennial of Prints in Japan. Souto’s work has exhibited in over 90 venues in the last 12 years and is in several public and private collections internationally. He participated in the Epicenter/Epicentro: Re Tracing the Plains exhibition during the Venice Biennale 54th International Arts Exhibition in Venice, Italy.

Aaron Holz
Aaron Holz’s layered approach to painting imparts a translucent quality to his imagery; creating illusionistic perceptions of depth and space, and resulting in unexpected textures and color combinations. He exhibits work regularly including 4 solo exhibitions at RARE Gallery and reviews of his work have appeared in The New York Times and The Lincoln Journal Star among others. Holz work is included in the permanent collectio of the Sheldon Museum of Art.

Mary Zicafoose 
Mary Zicafoose creates large-scale graphic tapestries, reinterpreting centuries’ old weaving traditions into contemporary cloth. Zicafoose graduate studies include the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Nebraska. She is a former Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts resident artist and two-time USA Artist finalist and a frequent contributor to the United States Art in Embassies program, featured in sixteen US Embassy permanent and lending collections.  She exhibited at the International Triennial of Tapestry in Poland, the Museo de Textil in Mexico, and the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou.

Ella Weber
Ella Weber intentionally maintains minimum wage jobs as a means to fuel her art, both financially and conceptually, while drawing connections between consumerism, sexuality and spirituality. She currently slices meat in a H-Vee deli while residing in her parents suburban basement and mentoring high school students through the Joslyn Art Museum’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program. Weber earned a BFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and an MFA with distinction in printmaking from the University of Kansas. She has attended arts residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and PrattMWP College of Art and Design in New York. The artist has exhibited and taught widely at venues including Nebraska’s Project Project, The Union for Contemporary Art, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Bradley Peters
Bradley Peters grew up in rural Nebraska where he began his education in photography. In 2008, he received a MFA from the Yale University School of Art. His work is has been featured in Image Makers, Image Takers: The Essential Guide to Photography by Those in the Know by Anne-Celine Jaeger. He is the 2008 recipient of the Richard Benson Prize for Excellence in Photography. Peter’s work explores the failure of ideas by selecting various anecdotes from his own history and observations and then playing a type of photographic telephone game with his subjects, one that results in a distortion from the original idea.

Sarah Berkeley
Sarah Berkeley is an interdisciplinary artist who was born on the North Shore of Massachusetts. She holds an MFA University of Michigan and a BFA from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has taught at Nebraska Wesleyan University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Berkeley was a resident at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and Vermont Studio Center. Her artwork has been collected and exhibited at the Joslyn Museum of Art, Museum of Nebraska Art, Rapid Pulse International Performance Festival, Rutgers University, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, and Mercury 20.

Holly Kranker
Holly Kranker is a multi-disciplinary artist who examines our sense of place, personal memory, and efforts to suspend moments in time. Kranker graduated Summa Cum Laude earning a BFA with an emphasis in Commercial Art and Interior Design from Pittsburg State University, Kansas. She currently works at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts as the Residency Program Manager. Previously, she was the studio manager and lead assistant to glass sculptor, Therman Statom. Kranker most recently exhibited at the Joslyn Art Museum, was an artist-in-residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in 2018, and is currently a sculpture mentor for the Kent Bellows Mentoring Program.

Rachel Mindrup
Rachel Mindrup, is a professional artist and Resident Assistant Professor at Creighton University. She received her BFA from the University of Nebraska - Kearney and then continued with atelier studies at the Art Academy of Los Angeles. She received her MFA from the Art Institute of Boston. Her current painting practice is about the study of the figure and portraiture in contemporary art and its relation to medicine. Her artwork is in the private collections of Primatologist Jane Goodall and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

About the Nebraska Arts Council
The Nebraska Arts Council (NAC), a state agency, provides numerous grants, services and special initiatives that help sustain and promote the arts throughout Nebraska. NAC is supported by the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Nebraska Legislature and National Endowment for the Arts.

Stay tuned for updates regarding recipients’ fellowship year. For more information about Individual Artist’s Fellowships contact Public Art and Artist Programs Specialist, Meagan Dion at 402.595.3935 or