Meet the 2021–23 Fields Artist Fellows

Four Oregon artists will receive $100,000 each over two years.

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021–23 Fields Artist Fellowship, a partnership between Oregon Humanities and Oregon Community Foundation to invest in individual artists and culture bearers and their communities. Four Fields Artist Fellows will receive $100,000 each over a two-year period, along with robust professional development, networking, and community building opportunities. An additional eight finalists will receive a one-time award of $10,000.

During their fellowships, the four Fields Artist Fellows will develop their work and careers, participate in gatherings with other fellows, respond to and explore the opportunity gap in their region, and document their experiences and projects. All funding for the fellowship is provided by the Fred W. Fields Fund of Oregon Community Foundation.

2021–23 Fields Artist Fellows

CarlaDean Caldera (Madras) is a Culture Bearer and Advocate of the Northern Paiute. As a scholar and teacher since 2000, CarlaDean has shared her love and knowledge of Northern Paiute Bands cultural legacies. Of the Tuhudyatuka Numu – Deer-Eater Band of Northern Paiute, Watah Family-Silver Lake, Oregon, her work is dedicated to Our Elders who came before and who are here now so that Our Ways will live on through futuristic learning and teaching. She will use this fellowship to share Northern Paiute culture, teachings, and the Numu Yaduan language, using digital technologies, public events, and outings.

Gabriel Barrera (Ashland) is a Mexican American/Chicanx visual artist with a BFA from Pratt Institute. His artwork is rooted in advocacy, social justice, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) youth mentorship. Mentored by BIPOC women in the field, his social justice commitment grew during his twenty-year scenic art career. He currently operates ScenicG, a business providing services in art/design, workshops, facilitation, and mentorship. Gabriel will use the fellowship to increase his mentorship of BIPOC youth in Southern Oregon, develop culturally specific art workshops, create a webcast series focused on art and justice, and produce multi-medium artworks that tell and illustrate stories on BIPOC identities and experiences in the Rogue Valley. 

Jason McNeal Graham (Bend) is a multiethnic, multimedia, multivitamin artist living in Central Oregon. Writing, painting, and music are his three main channels. He was recently selected for the group exhibition "Black Matter,” curated by Tammy Jo Wilson. His work in music and writing has been featured on TEDx, NPR, the NBA, and several other three letter acronyms. Graham (who often presents as MOsley WOtta) was an invited resident scholar at Goddard College, a skittish alum of Diverse Intelligences Summer institute, and a humble brag Slam Poetry Champion for the State of Oregon. Graham is finishing his tenure as Bend, Oregon’s first Creative Laureate, the third such position in the nation. With this fellowship, he plans to produce multimedia performances, collaborative murals, and storytelling that will creatively address and explore system inequities specific to Oregon and encourage dialogue throughout the state. 

Sharita Towne (Portland) is a multidisciplinary artist and educator based in Portland. Born and raised on the West Coast of the US along Interstate 5 from Salem to Tacoma and down to Sacramento, Sharita is a true granddaughter of the great migration. She is most interested in engaging local and global Black geographies, histories, and possibilities. In her work, a shared art penetrates and binds people–artists, audience, organizers, civic structures, sisters, cousins, and landscape–in collective catharsis, grief, and joy. Sharita holds a BA from UC Berkeley, an MFA from Portland State University, and was recently appointed Program Head of the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s MFA in Visual Studies. She will apply this fellowship to researching, planning, and developing space for communities affected by displacement and forced migration, including a mobile art center and an existing community space in Northeast Portland, currently used for art, research, and printing. She also plans to expand her studio practice to include new forms and emergent technologies. 


2021 Finalists

Okaidja Afroso (Portland) is a multi-instrumentalist, Afro jazz, Afro classical, ambient music, singer, and songwriter born into a family of musicians and storytellers in the village of Kokrobite on the west coast of Ghana. He began his career as a dancer with the celebrated Ghana Dance Ensemble, where he was accepted at the age of nineteen. In 1997 Okaidja toured the United States with the Ensemble. Later that year he traveled solo throughout Germany teaching Ghanaian music and dance before moving to the US to join Okropong, a traditional Ghanaian music and dance group directed by Obo Addy. As he toured internationally, Okaidja expanded his artistic reach to become a master multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and arranger. Okaidja’s artistic vision has led him to combine his native rhythms with unforeseen pairings of musical flavors.

Christiana Clark (Ashland) is an actress whose passion for exploring humanity and our connection to one another has brought her work to life primarily onstage. She’s played small and large regional theaters from coast to coast, and for the last eight years has been honored to find an incredible community in Ashland as an acting company member at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Darrell Grant (Portland) - Since the release of his debut album, Black Art, one of the New York Times' top ten jazz CDs of 1994, Darrell Grant has built an international reputation as a pianist, composer, and educator who channels the power of music to make change. Since moving to Portland, he has been named Portland Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalist Association and received a Northwest Regional Emmy, a MAP Fund grant, and the Governor’s Arts Award. Dedicated to themes of hope, community, and place, he is a Professor of Music at Portland State University, where he directs the Artist as Citizen Initiative.

Scott Kalama (Warm Springs) is a musician who performs as Blue Flamez. He won a 2016 Native American Music Award for Best Music Video for “Rez Life”. His most recent albums are Game Time and Warrior. All his music can be streamed on Spotify

Masami Kawai (Eugene) is a Los Angeles-born filmmaker and an Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Oregon. She explores issues of race, class, gender, and what it means to be an immigrant in the United States. Her films have screened at various venues, including the Rotterdam Film Festival, LACMA, LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, Portland International Film Festival, and Indie Memphis.

Tumelo Michael Moloi (Eugene) was born in 1981 in notorious apartheid-era township called Katlehong, southeast of Johannesburg, South Africa. He began his career at the age of sixteen with Via Katlahong and led the organization for ten years. In 2006 he joined Cirque du Soleil, where he played a dance character/featured/solo artist until leaving the show in 2017. He now lives in Eugene and continues to perform and teach people of all ages.

Eduardo Melendrez (Ontario) is an artist whose first art exhibit in 2016 addressed the Oregon opportunity gap with paintings of opportunity for youth in his community. These paintings highlighted these youths' experiences with poverty, homelessness, trauma, and juvenile delinquency. As a City Councilor for the City of Ontario and through multiple partnerships with organizations like Every Child Oregon, he’ll continue to create awareness through education and art. His second art exhibit is upcoming at the Four Rivers Cultural Center and will once again address the Oregon opportunity gap.

Darryl Thomas (Monmouth) has been Professor of Dance at Western Oregon University since 1997 and has received choreographic commissions from dance companies in Singapore; Mexico City, D.F.; San Jose, Costa Rica; San Salvador, El Salvador; Pusan, South Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Bangkok, Thailand; Kolkata, India; and Honolulu, Hawaii. Thomas is coartistic director of Rainbow Dance Theatre, a professional dance company based in Monmouth.


Art and Music, Collaborative Projects, Opportunity Gap, Fields Artist Fellowship


1 comments have been posted.

Congrats, to all in receiving the exceptional reward as it is much deserved. I’d also would like to give special notice to Sharita Towne for he ongoing growth and making such powerful contributions as an educator,/ artist and having such profound on her community,

Kevin Radley | July 2021 |

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