Southern Prize Jurors


The following jurors reviewed submissions for the 2017 Southern Prize and State Fellowships.

State Fellowship Jurors

Jan Davidson
Jan Davidson was the executive director of the John C. Campbell Folk School at Brasstown from 1992 until his retirement in 2017. A native of nearby Murphy, North Carolina, he’s also a musician and a writer. Jan has a Ph.D. in folklore and museum studies.

Erin J. Gilbert
Erin J. Gilbert ​​is an independent curator, critic, and cultural producer specializing in ​modern and contemporary ​art. Formerly the director of Kruger Gallery Chicago and Kruger Gallery Marfa, Gilbert previously held positions at The Art Institute of Chicago and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Having lived in the US, Africa, and the UK, Gilbert is deeply concerned with issues of national identity, migration, and immigration. Exploring the relationship between art, power, and politics, her curatorial projects examine the physical and psychological connection to land, the trauma of displacement, and the body as a contested terrain. She holds an M.A. in Contemporary Art from the University of Manchester (Sotheby’s Institute of Art) and a B.A. in Political Science and African & African American Studies from the University of Michigan. Recent exhibitions include Phoebe Boswell: Transit Terminal, Sienna Shields: Invisible Woman, and Zohra Opoku: Draped Encounters/Beyond Visage.

Gia M. Hamilton
Gia M. Hamilton is the director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. As a cultural practitioner and entrepreneur, she has worked at the heart of art, healing, food security, and education to help build sustainable communities for the past 20 years. Hamilton, a native New Orleanian, received her Bachelor’s in cultural anthropology with a minor in visual art from New York University and her Master’s in applied anthropology from City University of New York. Hamilton joined the Joan Mitchell Center in 2011 as a consultant and was appointed director in July 2013. She comes to the Joan Mitchell Center as the designer of the artist-in-residence program, community engagement strategies, public programs, and operational systems. Hamilton sits on the board of Alliance for Artist Communities, Tulane University’s Newcomb Museum, and New Orleans Video Access Center. 

Lauren Haynes
Lauren Haynes is curator, contemporary art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Prior to joining Crystal Bridges in October 2016, Haynes spent nearly a decade at The Studio Museum in Harlem where she was the associate curator for the permanent collection. As a specialist in African-American modern and contemporary art, Haynes curated dozens of exhibitions at the Studio Museum and contemporary art institutions in New York. At the Studio Museum, Haynes oversaw the care and collection of the permanent collection as well as acquisitions and exhibitions. She is a member of the Association of Art Museum Curators and serves on the Nomination and Governance Committee. Haynes is a recipient of a 2016 Gold Rush Award from Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.

Mark Scala
Mark Scala is the chief curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. His major exhibitions have focused on the representation of the body in contemporary art. The most recent was Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art (2015), which explored the subjects of loss and remembrance in contemporary art. This exhibition received an honorable mention from the Association of Art Museum Curators for best exhibition of 2015 in a mid-size museum. Before coming to the Frist Center, Scala was curator at the Art Museum of Western Virginia, where he worked for ten years. He received his MA.. in Art History in 1988 and M.F.A. in painting in 1979, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has been a member of the Association of Art Museum Curators since 2001, and served on its board from 2010-2016.


Southern Prize Jurors

Miranda Lash
Miranda Lash is the curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum. Lash was previously the curator of modern and contemporary art the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). She joined NOMA in 2008 as the museum’s first curator dedicated exclusively to modern and contemporary art, and the founder of NOMA’s modern and contemporary art department. At NOMA Lash also managed NOMA’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden—one of the most important sculpture installations in the United States. During her tenure at NOMA, she curated over twenty exhibitions, including the large-scale traveling retrospective exhibition Mel Chin: Rematch and the site-specific installations and exhibitions Rashaad Newsome: King of Arms; Katie Holten: Drawn to the Edge, and Swoon: Thalassa. Lash’s publications include her work as the editor and contributing essayist to the exhibition catalog Mel Chin: Rematch, and the editor and contributing author to The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, a comprehensive overview of the Garden’s history and artworks. Her essays have been published in the Harvard journal Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, the anthology Baroque Tendencies in Contemporary Art,New American Painting, and Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. She received her B.A. in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University, and her M.A. in Art History from Williams College.

Dominique Nahas
Dominique Nahas is an independent critic and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. A former museum director and curator, Mr. Nahas has curated and organized hundreds of art exhibitions. He is the New York editor of dART International and has written for a variety of publications including Art in America, ARTnews, Sculpture, FlashArt, Paris Photo, Asia Art Pacific, Art On Paper, Handmade Papermaking, Artnet Worldwide, Sanat Dunyamiz, among many others. A faculty member of Pratt Institute where he teaches graduates and undergraduates, Nahas has been a resident and visiting critic at many institutions such as Yale, RISD, SVA, VCU, MICA, NYSRP, Michigan State University, Parsons, and Cranbrook among others. With numerous books and articles to his credit, Nahas was one of the contributing essayists to the recently published omnibus project UNFINISHED MEMORIES-30 Years of EXIT ART (Steidl).

Monica Moses
Monica Moses was named editor in chief of American Craft magazine in 2010. Since that time, the magazine has won more than 50 awards, including two first-place honors for general excellence in the national Folio competition, the largest in magazine publishing. In earlier roles, Moses led operations for a luxury magazine, redesigned several metropolitan newspapers, served on the visual faculty of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies (the world’s premier journalism training facility), and acted as juror for the Pulitzer Prize in photography. She has juried fine craft exhibitions in Texas, Minnesota, South Carolina, and California. In her spare time, she makes jewelry, works with polymer clay, and paints.