Dee-Dee Darby Duffin singing at Grand Theatre.

Eight Utah Performing, Visual Artists Named As Fellows

Eight Utah artists in performing and visual arts have been awarded $5,000 fellowships to recognize their individual artistic excellence and support their professional careers. 

The Utah Division of Arts & Museums awards fellowships annually, although this year the awards were expanded from two recipients to eight recipients. Also this year for the first time, performing artists were eligible for the fellowships.

The Performing Arts Fellowship recipients are Cory Christiansen (Smithfield), Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin (Salt Lake City, pictured above), Gavin Ryan (Payson), and Joshua Strauther (Salt Lake City) as the 2020 fellows. In Visual Arts, the fellows are Andrew Alba (Salt Lake City), Jane Christensen (Orem), Bryan Hutchinson (Provo), and Molly Morin (Ogden). 

Victoria Panella Bourns, Director of Utah Arts & Museums said the agency is proud to expand its Fellowship Program this year. Along with recognizing a broader number of artists and disciplines, the fellowships reinforce the importance of art during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Art is helping us make sense of our world, helping us express our feelings and it is uplifting our spirits during difficult times,” Bourns said. “I want to thank all the fellowship awardees for sharing their artist spirit with us. Utah is home to exceptional art and artists.” 

This year’s Visual Arts Fellowship juror, Natasha Logan, deputy director of Creative Time, said that the broad range of artwork among applicants made it difficult to select just four fellows.

“It was no small feat to select four artists from the broad range of truly compelling work, which included photography, design, sculpture, and conceptual works exploring issues ranging from faith, sexual identity, family myths, and narratives, to climate justice and migration,” Logan said.

Brian Wagner, who served as Community Arts Coordinator for the Oregon Arts Commission from 2007 to 2019, was this year’s Performing Arts Fellowship juror. 

“The task of choosing awardees from this talented, accomplished, and disparate group has been very difficult. There is no finding a ‘best’ among these talented and dedicated artists,” Wagner said. “Each of them has put so much of themselves into developing their skill and music. Every one of these artists is deserving of acknowledgment and support for their creative contributions.” 

The Performing Arts and Visual Arts Fellowship Programs are services offered by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums within the Department of Heritage & Arts. More information on the artists and the Fellowship Program can be found at or contact Jason Bowcut, Community & Performing Arts Manager at 801.236.7554 or Nancy Rivera, Visual Arts Program Manager at 801-245-7272.