MOFSA’s 2023 Special Grants

In 2023 MOFSA awarded special grants to three artists:

  • Giulia Loli
  • Lisa Penson
  • Susannah Ravenswing

Congratulations!

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Giulia Loli

My art is about being a witness to the witness. And it is reassuring to know that there are witnesses (Bob and friends) to the witness (artist) to the witnesses (Ancient Indigenous Africans). So much of the source of Inspiration feeding the artistic mission has to do with living with the Indigenous Garden Keepers, the Maasai. They are holding the keys of Ancient Wisdom, our still-alive Ancestors, as we all collectively cross this threshold into the so-called ‘Age of Aquarius’. In following the magnetic pull of the Great Spirit, I am grateful to still be here and continue to build this bridge between Egypt and Tanzania via the Nile River (the River which begins in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria…my mother’s name —and ends in Egypt), cross-pollinating back into Europe and America et al. This gift happens to coincide with the gift of discovering my roots deep in Tanzania, with the greater purpose of Ancestral Healing and the most beautiful Hymn of All Creatures Praising the Creator…

Lisa Penson

I would describe my painting practice as process-led intuitive abstract painting. Choices relating to colour, composition and theme are not pre-planned; they emerge as the painting transforms across time. For me, this spontaneous, organic way of working is the most exciting part of the process. Although I try to ‘control’ as little as possible, as I near the end of a painting, I introduce a ‘framing’ technique to demarcate points of interest that have arisen through the placement of multiple, contrasting layers. Ultimately, I seek balance between opposing visual elements such as control and expression, expanses of colour and black brush marks, hard edges and watery washes that correspond to the harmonisation of universal principles such as masculine/feminine, dark/light and yin/yang. In 2017 I had what can only be described as a ‘spontaneous spiritual activation’ which has sent me on a journey towards finding my ‘true self’ and an exploration of this through my arts practice. I am investigating how I can integrate specific spiritual practices (sadhana) such as contemplation, meditation, mindfulness, ‘emptying’, presence, non-attachment and egoless practice into my art practice.

Susannah Ravenswing

I follow the spiritual traditions of my pre-conversion Northern European ancestors, and find great joy in using my artistic talents in creating devotional art for my faith. The generous grant MOFSA made available to me this year has helped in the acquisition of tools and materials for the undertaking of two very different projects. The first, an altar hanging depicting the story of the wolves Hati and Skoll chasing the Sun and Moon across the heavens, was rendered through appliqué  and embroidery in linen and cotton and now hangs behind the main altar at TwoTrees Sanctuary in Stokes County, North Carolina. The second project, still in progress, is the carving of a large cedar votive pole honoring the Norse God Odin. Historically, such votive images marked community worship spaces, and the completed godpole will be raised in the upper worship space at TwoTrees

MOFSA’s 2022 Spiritual Art Grants

This year MOFSA is pleased to announce that we have selected two recipients for our $10,000 spiritual art grant! The two winners are Deborah Hamon and Emily McIlroy. In addition, we are awarding a special grant of $2500 to Karen Benioff Friedman.

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MOFSA Grant to Emily Clare

The Marianne Oberg Foundation for Spiritual Art has awarded a grant in the amount of $1000 to Emily Clare of Winston-Salem, NC. Clare’s artwork is based on the careful collection and preservation of delicate plant materials. She collects and dries specimens from her travels both far and near, including donations from a wide network of friends who know her from her daily neighborhood nature walks. The grant will fund purchase of a printing press to use with linoleum prints and mono prints,  a gelliplate, paper, and ink. The artwork will be disseminated through the Internet, at a time when art galleries and museums are closed.

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MOFSA Awards 2020 Spiritual Art Grant

MOFSA is pleased to announce that the recipient of our second Spiritual Art Grant in the amount of $10,000 is Martin Dunn (www.martydunnartist.com) of Sarasota, Florida. Martin learned art from his father, who had been taught by his mother. His father was an artist, who worked as a commercial illustrator in the days before clip art. He was also a war hero, who suffered from PTSD for the rest of his life. His few oil paintings are dark, monochromatic renderings of fighter planes in tight formation. He was trying to say something that the society of that era wouldn’t let him put into words. Wise people say that the greatest tragedy of trauma is the loss of vulnerability. Martin’s father could never let his guard down.

Martin’s own journey has taken him to nursing homes, operating rooms, county jails, homeless camps, Hispaniola, Africa, churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. It has led him in a spiritual direction and to create painting that are not dark but offer hope. In his own words,

I am also a mystic, which I use interchangeably with the word spiritual, as well as non-dual. As a mystic I am attempting to fully experience the ordinary while peeking through to glimpse the infinite. I also would describe myself as a Christian, since I see Jesus as the truest and most profound manifestation of the infinite. And I want so badly for everything I paint to reflect those glimpses.

We are happy that our second spiritual art grant goes to an artist whose  life and work embody so beautifully what we see as the core mission of MOFSA, for art to help heal the world. Martin paints representational art, and his chosen medium is oil. His work will be on display at MOFSA’s second exhibit, which has the theme “Towards the Spiritual.” The exhibit will be held in 2021, with details to be announced.

MOFSA Grant to Zangmo Alexander

The Marianne Oberg Foundation for Spiritual Art has awarded a grant in the amount of $2550 to Zangmo Alexander of Suffolk, United Kingdom. This grant will fund a year-long project in which Zangmo will draw on 26 years of Buddhist spiritual practices and visual fine art projects. Her goal is to create a body of paintings, drawings, prints and image-text pieces using Buddhist meditation and contemplation on knowing/not knowing.

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New MOFSA Grant Award

The Marianne Oberg Foundation for Spiritual Art is pleased to announce the award of a grant in the amount of £400 to Zangmo Alexander of Suffolk, United Kingdom. The grant will help defray her travel expenses from the UK to Barre, Massachusetts for the second residency of the Dharma and Art program in which she is enrolled. This program and her work in art and meditation are aligned with MOFSA’s mission to support art in different spiritual traditions.

We wish Zangmo every success in her endeavor!

MOFSA Awards 2018 Spiritual Art Grant

MOFSA is pleased to announce that the recipient of our first Spiritual Art Grant in the amount of $10,000 is Jennifer McCormick (www.subtextart.com) of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University Medical School in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, she pursued a career as a medical illustrator, including creating medically accurate illustrations that show what happens to a person involved in an accident. In 17 years of reading  medical records, she gathered more than patient data – she repeatedly felt their shock at sudden injury. Jennifer keenly felt their frustration through the words in the progress notes. She began to notice that how a person thinks about their health either energizes them or degrades them.  Such contemplation lead her to read books about the afterlife, consciousness and healing, concluding that there is more involved in the healing process than medical technology. In her own words:

I now believe that the best parts of all religion are the efforts we make to strengthen our oneness with each other and with THE divine energy. The light inside each being inspires me to make art, not only for my own curiosity, but also in the hope that the image will raise an audience’s awareness.  This hope is why I have chosen to rework the x-rays, which literally show us inside the body, but I say, “look beyond the bones at what is inside”. Use your spirit to understand. It’s where my medical illustration ends and my spiritual examination begins.

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MOFSA Awards First Grant

The Marianne Oberg Foundation for Spiritual Art is pleased to announce the award of its first grant, in the amount of $2100, to Jolene Joy Moss of Charlotte, North Carolina. The grant will support the creation of the children’s book, Emmalina and Papa’s Healing Hands. This spiritually inspired book lightly and playfully introduces the idea of energy and light as witnessed through “Papa’s healing hands.” The grant will support the commission of artwork for the book and initial self-publishing.

We wish Jolene every success in her endeavor and look forward to the publication of the book, projected for March, 2018.