Six Maine artists have been awarded $5,000 fellowships from the Maine Arts Commission to recognize artistic excellence and to help advance their careers.

This year’s winners, announced Tuesday, are: Cole Caswell, Erica Moody, Brittany Parker, Asha Tamirisa, Bobbi Tardif and Jeri Theriault.

Cole Caswell is a photographer who lives on Peaks Island. His recent work, “Rise,” is a photographic investigation of Maine’s coastal landscape at risk because of rising sea levels. He uses a wet-plate collodion process that allows him to make images while on location. His award will support expanding his studio practice.

Erica Moody, a professional metal fabricator, focuses on creating serving utensils, mostly from brass, copper and steel, using traditional metal craft techniques and minimal fabrication. From her studio in Waldoboro, she aims to make tools that connect people, focusing on the spirituality of sharing food.

Her award will support attending residencies and workshops to explore new ideas and techniques in the craft of utensil-making.

Brittany Parker is a performer and musician from Rockport. She is the creator and lead singer of the pop and family-friendly band Bee Parks and the Hornets and also is education manager at the Strand Theatre in Rockland. In the decade since she moved to Maine, Parker has amassed many theater credits and co-created original theater productions that focus on themes of equity, environmental awareness and social justice. She plans to use her award to support solo performance projects that stalled during the pandemic.


Asha Tamirisa, of Portland, is a sound, video and film researcher who co-founded Opensignal, a collective of artists concerned about the state of gender and race in electronic music and art practice. Her video and sound installations have been featured at Space and in Congress Square Park in Portland. She also teaches at Bates College. Tamirisa plans to use the fellowship award to build her studio and to support the release of a full-length experimental music album.

One of the recipients is Jeri Theriault, who edited “Wait: Poems from the Pandemic.”

Bobbi Tardif, primarily an arts educator, moved in November 2020 with her family back to her hometown of Perry in Washington County, where she first discovered clay in the stream behind her house. She plans to use the fellowship to continue work on her studio, which will allow her focus on her own work and offer community programming in ceramics.

Jeri Theriault, an educator and writer, will use her award to support travel and research for her latest writing project, the working title of which is “Cemetery Stories.” Raised in Waterville, where she also attended Colby College, Theriault taught at Deering High and South Portland High for 20 years before moving to Prague to chair the English department at the International School. She has since moved back to South Portland.

The Maine Arts Commission is a state-funded agency that supports art and artists in Maine. It also receives annual funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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