A former Delaware poet laureate is among the winners of this year’s Delaware Division of the Arts fellowship winners.
JoAnn Balingit, who was poet laureate from 2008-2015, won a $6,000 established professional award that she will use to help with research on a nonfiction memoir that will consist of essays about her family.
“It’s nice to be recognized for my work in a second genre, but also it’s really, really nice to just be in this cohort with some other writers that I’ve worked with,” Balingit said.
You can find links to some of them, which have been published in online journals, on her website.
Balingit was one of 25 Delaware artists from all over the state recognized by the division for the high quality of their artwork. Winners were chose from 132 Delaware choreographers; composers; musicians; writers; and folk, media, and visual artists whose work was reviewed by out-of-state arts professionals.
Awards are given in three categories, including $10,000 for the Masters Award, $6,000 for Established Professional Awards and $3,000 for Emerging Professional Awards.
In exchange, fellows are required to offer at least one exhibit or performance during the upcoming year, providing an opportunity for the public to experience their work. Additionally, their work will be featured in a group exhibition, Award Winners XXII, at the Biggs Museum of American Art June 3 through July 23.
Linda Blaskey was given the Masters Fellowship for her poetry.
Her work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of four poetry collections, two of which are collaborations with one set to publish in 2022. She is the poetry/interview editor emerita for Broadkill Review, coordinator for the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize and current editor for the new online journal Quartet.
Blasky organized a presentation of Icelandic poetry for the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival, and her work was included in Southern Delaware Choral Society’s presentation of Haydn: “Mass in the Time of War.”
She lives with her husband on a small horse/goat farm in Sussex County, Delaware.
Blaskey is one of the first writers that Balingit met in Delaware in 2002. She also knows Jamie Brunson and Alice Morris from workshops and other writer gatherings. She also recognizes Roger Matsumoto name from an earlier awards list. She’s interested in seeing how his work has evolved.
“It’s nice,” Balingit said. “There’s a lot of camaraderie even when you just see the other fellows’ names. You think, ‘Oh, there’s artists out there in our Delaware community. We’re going on the third year of the pandemic, and we’re creating. We’re not so alone.”
“The Division of the Arts understands that artists have been hard hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic and was pleased to be able to allocate some additional funds to recognize more artists this year,” said Jessica Ball, director of Delaware Division of the Arts.
Former poet laureate Balingit, who’s organized and held many writer workshops, has another one planned. She and poet/performer Traci Currie are organizing a writing retreat for marginalized voices, paid for by a grant from the Division of the Arts. It will be May 27-30 in Lewes. The deadline to apply is Feb. 4.
Balingit is thinking about hiring “an interesting writer,” with whom she’s taken classes, as a coach, as well as traveling to the West Coast for more archival research and to see relatives there.
Many of those are family members she didn’t know until know “because my father kept a lot of secrets.”
Born in Ohio, she had a German American mother and Filipino father.
She also hopes to make some contributions to writing nonprofits that helped her.
Here are the other winners of the Delaware Division of the Arts fellowships.
Joseph Barbaccia, Georgetown, Visual Arts: Crafts; Tim Broscious, Townsend, Music: Contemporary Performance; Jamie Brunson, Wilmington, Literature: Playwriting; Caleb Curtiss, Newark, Literature: Poetry; t. a. hahn, Middletown, Visual Arts: Sculpture; Jeff Knoettner, Wilmington, Jazz: Performance; Roger Matsumoto, Newark, Visual Arts: Photography; Isai Jess Muñoz, Hockessin, Music: Solo Recital; Mia Muratori, Wilmington, Visual Arts: Painting; Tad Sare, Wilmington, Media Arts: Video/Film; Aaron Terry, Wilmington, Visual Arts: Works on Paper; William Torrey, Middletown, Literature: Fiction.
Stephanie Boateng, Newark, Visual Arts: Painting; Christina Durborow, Wilmington, Literature: Creative Nonfiction; Kiara Florez, Magnolia, Visual Arts: Painting; Gregory Hammond, Wilmington, Literature: Fiction; Jim Hawkins, Smyrna, Literature: Playwriting; Gail Husch, Wilmington, Visual Arts: Crafts; Alice Morris, Lewes, Literature: Poetry; Maia Palmer, Wilmington, Visual Arts: Works on Paper; TANKSLEY, Middletown, Music: Contemporary Performance; Leanna Thongvong, Dover, Folk Art: Visual Arts; and Katie West, Wilmington, Visual Arts: Photography.
The next deadline for Individual Artist Fellowship applications will be Monday, August 1, by 11:59 p.m.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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