Will Kasso Condry wins the first Vermont Prize of 2022

Will Kasso Condry wins the first Vermont Prize of 2022 | Pro Club Bd

Photo by Alexa Condry

Vermont Business Magazine Burlington City Arts (BCA), in partnership with the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, The Current and the Hall Art Foundation, is pleased to announce the winner of the first annual Vermont Awards: renowned visual artist, graffiti scholar and educator Will from Brandon Kasso Condry. As a recipient of this award, Condry will receive a cash prize of $5,000 and his work will be featured and archived on vermontprize.org and social media.

Established in 2022 as a partnership between these four Vermont arts organizations, the Vermont Prize accepts submissions from visual artists currently living and working in Vermont. Each awards cycle will be judged by a team consisting of one representative from each of the four partner organizations plus a fifth independent and unaffiliated judge. The awardee is selected based on artistic excellence regardless of career level. This year’s independent judges were Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky, curator of contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Will Kasso Condry impresses in every way,” writes Baum. “For Condry, it is very clear that the form and content of his work are just as important as how, why and for whom he does it. Drawing on deep-seated ethical beliefs, his visually stunning, highly chromatic, labor-intensive work. Drawings and paintings are inspired by Afrofuturism, a philosophy that favors black action, creativity, and excellence, shaping a political and aesthetic language that serves as a corrective to the past and present wrong serves

In works submitted for the Vermont Prize, Condry uses acrylics, ink and markers to evoke new, extraordinary forms of black humanity. Borrowing from African traditions, his “more than men” are almost always armored and ornate, and set in fantastical, otherworldly landscapes. Together they surprise and inspire. Condry’s larger practice is equally laudable for its commitment to pedagogy, collaboration, social justice and community engagement. Condry is an extraordinary artist doing extraordinary work in and for Vermont.”

Condry studied Fine Art and Illustration at the College of New Jersey as a first-generation student. He deepened his training in the art of aerosol painting with the mentorship of legendary graffiti artist Daniel “Pose 2” Hopkins and honed his artistry in large-scale mural production under the tutelage of Dave McShane at Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Condry has taught courses on the origins and politics of graffiti and street art and the elements of hip-hop culture at Middlebury College and has taught primary school classes the art of illustration, puppet making and mural painting. For over 20 years he has worked with young people through a variety of community organizations including the Boys & Girls Club and his former non-profit organization SAGE Coalition.

“My work is about unlimited imagination without limits,” writes Kasso Condry in his artist statement. “I speak through color and composition. Whether with a brush stroke or the spray of a can, I become one with every medium at my disposal. I am a storyteller in the grand traditions of West Africa’s griots My art of weaving the rich and layered stories of the African diaspora as an Afrofuturist artist and educator. Whether fantastical or rooted in our current reality, my work reflects the multitude of dimensions and experiences that Black people navigate. My work is a journey towards the freedom of limitless expression and a form of enlightenment through imagination. I want the viewer to be transported into a universe of infinite possibilities, to understand that black imagination is our key to liberation and that black joy is the root that connects them all.”

In addition to Baum, the judges for the first Vermont award were also present Maryse brandDirector of the Hall Art Foundation, Heather FerrellCurator and Exhibitions Director at Burlington City Arts, Sarah Freeman, Exhibitions Director at the Brattleboro Museum & Arts Centerand Rachel MooreExecutive Director & Director of Exhibitions at The Current.

About the four partner organizations

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is a non-collecting contemporary art museum focused on the art of our time. An anchor of southern Vermont’s vibrant cultural life, BMAC brings notable arts and artists to Brattleboro and provides a platform for the region’s many artistic riches. BMAC presents 15-20 exhibitions annually, complemented by 60-70 public programs and extensive educational offerings developed in partnership with local schools and service organizations.

For over 30 years, Burlington City Arts (BCA) has helped establish Burlington, Vermont’s reputation as one of America’s most livable arts cities. BCA physical locations include the BCA Center, a multi-story, year-round exhibition space, and BCA Studios, which host art classes, camps and open studio hours in our state-of-the-art facilities. BCA also produces citywide festivals, events, concerts, films, artist markets and more.

Established in 2007, the Hall Art Foundation makes post-war and contemporary artworks from its own collection and that of Andrew and Christine Hall available to the public for entertainment and education. In Reading, Vermont, the campus consists of converted galleries on a former dairy farm, a 19th-century stone farmhouse, three barns, and a reception center and cafe. The property’s five historic buildings make up approximately 6,000 square feet of museum-quality exhibition space and are surrounded by approximately 400 acres of pasture, hay meadows and extensive woodland. Outdoor sculptures by world-renowned artists are installed throughout the grounds.

The Current, a contemporary arts center in Stowe, Vermont, was founded in 1981 as the Helen Day Art Center with a mission to enhance the human experience through the visual arts. The Current produces major exhibitions featuring a range of artists from different regions and career stages. The exhibitions are accompanied by a robust interpretive learning program that includes lectures, panels, and film screenings that are free to the public. The Current offers progressive art education programs for all ages with year-round classes, tours, workshops and other interactive programs.

About Burlington City Arts
Burlington City Arts is dedicated to connecting the community with the arts through creation, experimentation and education in all forms of contemporary art. BCA offers exhibits, special events, classes, workshops and many other activities in Burlington.

BURLINGTON, VTBurlington City Arts 30.6.2022

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