Houston-Born Artist Mel Chin Among Winners of 2019 MacArthur Fellowship

by Christopher Blay September 25, 2019

Artist Mel Chin (b. 1951, Houston) is one of 26 winners of the MacArthur prize for 2019.

The 2019 class of MacArthur Fellows has been announced. Houston-born Mel Chin is one of 26 fellows, and among the three visual artists chosen from a list that honors some of the top minds in the fields of history, geochemistry, literature, music, biology and the law. We have followed Chin’s work and projects here at Glasstire over the years.

John Palfrey, President of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation writes: “From addressing the consequences of climate change to furthering our understanding of human behavior to fusing forms of artistic expression, this year’s 26 extraordinary MacArthur Fellows demonstrate the power of individual creativity to reframe old problems, spur reflection, create new knowledge, and better the world for everyone. They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts.”


Landscape and public artist Walter Hood is one of three artists in the class of 2019 MacArthur winners.

The MacArthur Fellowship, nicknamed the ‘Genius Grant,’ awards people who already excel in their professions, and encourages them to continue in those pursuits. The awards have included writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, and entrepreneurs, with or without institutional affiliations. The Fellowship includes a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, which  is paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years, and is unrestricted. Another Houstonian, the artist Rick Lowe, received the honor in 2014, recognizing his work with Project Row Houses in Houston.


Visual Artist Jeffrey Gibson is one of three artists in the class of 2019 MacArthur Prize winners.

And how does one get on the radar to be named a MacArthur Fellow? According to the foundation’s website: “Nominees are brought to the Program’s attention through a constantly changing pool of invited external nominators chosen from as broad a range of fields and areas of interest as possible. They are encouraged to draw on their expertise, accomplishments, and breadth of experience to nominate the most creative people they know within their field and beyond.”

The anonymous nominators, evaluators and selections typically select 20-30 fellows each year (and have selected 1,040 people since 1981). Among the three artists in this year’s class is Jeffery Gibson, whose current exhibition at the Blanton in Austin, Jeffrey Gibson: This Is the Day, was featured in our Top five video on July 24; and also landscape and public artist Walter Hood.

For a complete list of the 2019 class of MacArthur Fellows, please visit the website here.


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scottapeshot September 26, 2019 - 21:17

I knew Mel was a genius when he jumped into the pool, fully clothed, at the Shamrock Hilton Closing Party, more than 30 years ago. Thanks, for making it official, so many years later, MacArthur people.

Meredith Jack September 27, 2019 - 00:07

Well deserved & congrats Mel !!

Tim Glover September 27, 2019 - 11:39

Mel, you’re a serious class act-Congratulations

Bob Russell September 27, 2019 - 12:47

I can’t think of a more deserving person.

Celia Munoz September 29, 2019 - 21:19

About time!
To a super creatively intelligent and generous spirit!
And really fun & funny guy!
Luv the Mel!

Kathleen Lettitia Coleman October 2, 2019 - 10:40

Long over due


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