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2013 Recipient of Carolyn F. Heller Grant Award is Announced

TAMPA, Fla., March 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Michael Parker, a visual artist specializing in painting and public murals, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Carolyn F. Heller Grant, awarded through Hillsborough Arts, Inc., a support organization for the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. The announcement was made today at the reception for the Carolyn F. Heller exhibition that opens March 1 at the Tampa Museum of Art.

"A passionate supporter of public art, our mother was a longtime member of the Arts Council and would be happy to know the grantee will be using the award for public murals," says Fran Heller, Carolyn Heller's daughter and executor of her estate. "We look forward to supporting Michael in his work."

The Carolyn F. Heller Grant, a permanent award supported by a fund created by donations to Hillsborough Arts, is presented annually to the top-scoring artist in the Council's Individual Artist Grant Program. The program funds accomplished artists or those with promising potential, providing support for specific projects that would further advance the artists' professional growth. Parker's proposal was to execute a series of medium-scale murals in Ruskin as a collaborative piece, with participation open to community members and a specific target group from the South County Career Center.

"South County Career Center represents for all students an opportunity to achieve academically and to more forward toward a career of choice," says Parker. "I chose this school to offer students a chance to work as a team on a community-based project and to reveal art as a potentially viable career choice."

Parker received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He studied painting in Cortona, Italy, through a program with the University of Georgia. Director and resident artist at the Big Draw Studio, he has taught at the University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College and the University of Montana; received and earned a number of fellowships and residencies and held solo or group exhibitions at such venues as Tampa Museum of Art, Hillsborough Community College Gallery, Missoula Art Museum, Acadiana Center for the Arts and Atlantic Center for the Arts.

According to Art Keeble, executive director of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Parker was one of eight artists in the final round of judging. Criteria included:

  • Impact of the artist or proposed project on the community
  • Evidence of the artist's commitment to personal artistic development
  • The potential for the proposed project to contribute to the artist's personal growth
  • A realistic and well-defined budget
  • The quality of the artist's work samples

"We are pleased to join with Carolyn's family in presenting this grant award," says Keeble. "Michael is the type of artist Carolyn would have enjoyed and supported."

About Carolyn Frohsin Heller

Carolyn F. Heller (1937-2011) was a Florida artist who created works of bold shape and vivid color. She was influenced by abstract expressionism early in her 60-year career, yet her style evolved to embrace an unambiguous and playful vitality that mirrored her personality. She started drawing and painting in the 1950s. Beginning with printmaking, wood-cuts and acrylics on canvas, she expanded into mixed-media on fabric, furniture and other everyday items. In every context, her work was sensual and full of energy. Passionate about public art, she was a long-serving member of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. She also helped establish the county's Public Art Committee, which selects and purchases artwork for public display. In 1997, the Tampa AIDS Network commissioned her to create its annual signature work of art for its Art for Life benefit, due in large measure to her longtime advocacy for human rights issues. Carolyn's family seeks to honor her memory in an online gallery, permanently exhibiting works from her collection. Visit www.carolynhellerart.com for opportunities to view and purchase works from Heller's private collection. See more of her work at www.facebook.com/carolynhellerart and http://pinterest.com/CFHellerArt/.

About the Arts Council of Hillsborough County

Governed by a board of directors appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County (http://www.tampaarts.com) supports and promotes arts and culture in Hillsborough County. It provides grants and workshops for organizations and individual artists, contracts arts and cultural groups for art education, hosts an online calendar of arts events and works to promote lifelong learning and cultural enrichment to benefit citizens of Hillsborough County.

About the Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art opened its new award-winning home in 2010 with a commitment to providing innovative public programs with a strong focus on modern and contemporary art. The Museum balances a growing collection with a dynamic annual schedule of special exhibitions. It is the region's largest museum devoted to art of our time and has built a reputation for embracing contemporary photography and new media. Leo Villareal's Sky (Tampa) (the Museum's 14,000-square-foot LED installation on its façade) has become an iconic image for Tampa. Since its founding in 1979, the Museum has been dedicated to providing quality education to students and adults, with more than half of its programs offered free of charge. The Museum is home to Sono Cafe, a Slow Food movement café overlooking the Hillsborough River, and has emerged as Tampa's premiere venue for special events.

CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACT: Suzie Boland RFB Communications Group 813-259-0345 sboland@rfbcommunications.comSource:Carolyn F. Heller Virtual Arts Gallery