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The Brandon-based artist wins the first ever annual Vermont Prize

Will Kasso Condry, 44, Brandon’s artist, is the recipient of the 2022 Vermont Prize. Photo by Alexa Condry

Will Kasso Condry, 44, is the first-ever winner of the Vermont Prize, created earlier this year as a collaboration between four art groups: Burlington City Arts, The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, The Current and Hall Art Foundation.

The award includes a cash reward of $ 5,000 and Condry will be featured on the Vermont Prize website and on social media.

Condry is an Afro-Futuristic-style visual artist, graffiti artist and art educator with a career spanning over 20 years.

“Queen Mother”, artwork by Will Kasso Condry.

He says he creates fictional stories “based on a very black reality” and uses art as a form of personal expression and also as a way to bring “the great traditions of West African griots” to communities in Vermont. A griot is a West African storyteller, singer, musician and oral historian.

Although he applied for the award without expecting to win, Condry says the award will encourage him to remain curious as an artist and help bring new ideas to life.

“Chameleon: Stormchaser”, artwork by Will Kasso Condry.

In creating the Vermont Prize, “what we wanted to do was celebrate the best of art produced in Vermont today,” said Rachel Moore, executive director of The Current, which is based in Stowe, and stress the importance of awareness of art happening in Vermont.

The Vermont Prize received 250 nominations from nearly all parts of the state, said Erin Jenkins, gallery manager and marketing coordinator for the Brattleboro Museum, in an e-mailed statement. The artists’ applications were reviewed for perceived artistic excellence by a team of five: a representative from each of the partner art groups and a guest juror.

“Will Kasso Condry impresses in every way,” Kelly Baum, this year’s guest jury and curator of Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky for contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said in a press release. absolutely clear that the form and content of his work matter as much as the how, why and for whom “.

“The Waterbearer”, Will Kasso Condry’s artwork.

Condry has given classes on graffiti culture, its politics and its relationship to hip-hop at Middlebury College and has lectured in elementary schools on more general art forms, according to the announcement. She received training in fine arts and illustration at The College of New Jersey before studying with graffiti artist Daniel “Pose 2” Hopkins and later Dave McShane at Mural Arts Philadelphia.

“Condry uses acrylic, ink and marker to evoke new and extraordinary forms of black humanity,” Baum also wrote. “Adapting African traditions, his ‘more than human’ are almost always armored, decorated and immersed in fantastic and otherworldly landscapes. Together they amaze and inspire. Condry is an exceptional artist who does exceptional work in and for Vermont. “

Pieces submitted by Condry can be viewed in his artist profile on the Vermont Prize website.

“It’s just that I enjoy it. I love making art, ”Condry said.

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Tags: Black Vermonters, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Burlington City Arts, Rachel Moore, Vermont Prize, visual arts

Kori Skillman

About Kori

Kori Skillman recently earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, with a focus on visual craftsmanship and short documentaries. She also holds a BA in Journalism and International Affairs from San Diego State University. Kori worked this year as a press intern at the New York County District Attorney’s Office.