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Alumni Win California Community Foundation Fellowships for Visual Artists

Jeffrey Vallance, Leonard Nimoy, 2012, enamel on paper
The California Community Foundation (CCF) has named 22 emerging and mid-career Los Angeles County artists as recipients of the CCF Fellowship for Visual Artists (FVA), with a total of $385,000 in unrestricted grants. Otis alumni Jeffrey Vallance (’81 MFA Fine Arts) and Raul Baltazar (’09 Fine Arts; ’13 MFA Public Practice) were named as two of the recipients.
 
For over thirty years, Jeffrey Vallance has turned a critical and humorous eye toward his own wide-ranging experiences. Based on the artist’s memories and adventures, Vallance’s drawings, sculptures, installations and performance-based works make reference to his childhood in California, voyages to the Polynesian Islands and Iceland, residences in Las Vegas and the Arctic, sojourns to the Vatican, and to his celebrated Blinky the Friendly Hen project in 1978, when he held a funeral service for a frozen supermarket hen at Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park. The artist’s examination of these experiences combines a pseudo-anthropological approach with an art historically informed practice, and addresses themes of faith, myth, ritual and popular culture, along with the geopolitical landscapes of the past and present. 
 
Raul Baltazar is a multidisciplinary artist with roots in the Xicano and Xicana activist community. He uses collage in his murals, sculpture and performances in an attempt to construct and deconstruct the rituals, myths and archetypes of indigenous cultures. His approach to public practice facilitates the cross pollination of cultural and contemporary art production. 
 
The FVA annually awards $15,000 for emerging and $20,000 for mid-career artists to build successful, sustainable careers in the arts. This year’s competitive application process received 459 total applications. 
 
“As a community foundation, we believe in the power of the arts to motivate hearts and inspire change,” said Nike Irvin, vice president of programs at the California Community Foundation. “This fellowship’s unique unrestricted grants allow artists to thrive and contribute to the cultural vitality of Los Angeles for the benefit of all residents.” 
 
Since its inception in 1988 with a generous contribution from the J. Paul Getty Trust and other donor support, FVA has awarded more than $2.5 million to 274 visual artists working in a multitude of media across Los Angeles County. As CCF remains committed to capacity-building, artists also receive access to business development support and networking opportunities. Today, through the generosity of donors, the fellowship has expanded into one of the largest investments in individual artists in California. 
 
Fellows are selected by a committee of distinguished artists and arts professionals – including fellowship alumni – following a rigorous application process. The grants are often used for project development, exhibits, travel or general expenses. To view an online gallery of the 2015 Fellows’ artwork, visit my.calfund.org/artist-gallery.