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News . Feature Stories . Cleveland Arts Prize Honors Underwood, Miller

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April 29, 2011

Cleveland Arts Prize Honors Underwood, Miller

Barry Underwood (photography) and John Paul Miller '40 (jewelry) are recognized by the 2011 Cleveland Arts Prize.

Cleveland Arts Prize Honors Underwood, Miller

The Cleveland Arts Prize announced Thursday its 2011 winners, two of whom are CIA artists. The Mid-Career Award in Visual Arts goes to Barry Underwood, assistant professor and head of photography at CIA. The Special Honoree is master jeweler John Paul Miller, who graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1940 and taught at his alma mater from 1944 to 2000. Both artists join the ranks of 50 years of distinguished Cleveland Arts Prize winners, many of whom are CIA faculty, staff, and alumni.

Mid-Career Award, Visual Arts: Barry Underwood
Barry Underwood has exhibited his distinctive work that combines a photographic and theatrical sensibility for the past two decades in solo and group exhibitions at galleries. Moreover, his work continues to be popular with private collectors. Of his art, Underwood says: “Intermingling issues of contemporary painting, cinema and land art, I create surreal photographs that are a cross-pollination between static and performing art. I explore the use of light and installation to abstract form and context within traditional landscape imagery.”

To support his dual sensibility, he obtained BAs in Theatre and Photography from Indiana University Northwest, as well as an MFA in Photography from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Last year, Underwood served as Artist in Residence at the Center for Land Use Interpretation: Wendover Residency Program in Wendover, Utah. In 2009, he was Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California, and was a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant nominee for The Tiffany & Co. Foundation in New York.

Special Honoree: John Paul Miller
John Paul Miller, now 93, received the first Cleveland Arts Prize ever awarded for the visual arts in 1961. Although he had set out to be a painter, he ended up achieving an international reputation in a different art form: gold jewelry. In fact, in the same year he won the Arts Prize, some of his early jewelry work was featured in an international exhibition at London’s Goldsmiths Hall. Northeast Ohioans had known and admired Miller’s work since 1949, the year of his first appearance in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s annual May Show, which he won several times in the course of the next 25 years.

As a young teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Art in the late 1940s, Miller rediscovered the secret process of attaching tiny beads of gold to a gold surface without the use of solder, a technical feat that had been perfected by the ancient Romans and lost with the fall of the Roman Empire. For the 40th anniversary of the Cleveland Arts Prize, he was asked to create a gold seal ring to be given to recipients of the newly created Robert P. Bergman Prize.

Event Information
Underwood, Miller, and the other 2011 prize winners will receive their awards at the Cleveland Arts Prize’s 51st annual awards event on Tuesday, June 28 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Beginning at 6pm, the evening will be hosted by WCPN and WVIZ arts commentator Dee Perry. Performances will take place throughout the program, and there will be a video tribute to John Paul Miller. Attendees will mingle with the winners at the reception, where they can also greet Arts Prize winners from previous years.

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