South Arts Announces 2023 Southern Prize for Visual Arts Winner and Finalist

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Atlanta —August 18, 2023— Today, South Arts is pleased to announce that multi-disciplinary artist Victoria Dugger is named the 2023 Southern Prize for Visual Arts Winner, receiving a $25,000 award. In the celebratory opening of the program’s touring exhibition at Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, MS, Dugger was honored alongside the Southern Prize for Visual Arts Finalist Michael Webster, who will receive a $10,000 award. The touring exhibition features the work of Dugger, Webster, and South Arts’ seven other State Fellowship for Visual Arts recipients.

Victoria Dugger receives the check for the 2023 Southern Prize for Visual Arts
Victoria Dugger (left) received the 2023 Southern Prize for Visual Arts, presented by South Arts board chair Neil Barclay (right)

To address the gap in regional arts funding opportunities for artists, the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Visual Arts program was created in acknowledgment of the important role artists play in the wellbeing of the South’s region’s culture. Now in its 7th year, the program annually awards $80,000 to nine visual artists: $5,000 fellowships to one artist in each state in South Arts’ region of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, with two of the artists receiving the Southern Prize awards of an additional $25,000 and $10,000. (See full list of fellows below) 

Michael Webster receives the check for the 2023 Southern Prize for Visual Arts Finalist
Michael Webster (left) was named the Southern Prize for Visual Arts Finalist, presented by South Arts board chair Neil Barclay (right)

From the cohort of State Fellows for Visual Arts announced in Spring 2023, the Southern Prize Winner and Finalist were selected by a national jury based on artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of artistic expression of the region. In addition to the cash prizes, both will also receive a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences in Rabun Gap, GA.

“We are thrilled to honor and award Victoria and Michael as recipients of the 2023 Southern Prize for Visual Arts,” said Susie Surkamer, President and CEO of South Arts. “These two artists and their work reflect the mission and heart of this program. Alongside the 2023 class of fellows, we’re also thrilled to showcase their creativity and talent across the region, representing the cultural pulse of the South and demonstrating the fundamental need for arts and culture across our state lines.”

Launched in 2017, the program aims to empower artists with visual narratives that speak to deeper truths about the perils and hardships as well as the opportunities for optimism and justice in daily life in the south and beyond. Spanning the diverse scope of visual arts, the program supports artists across disciplines and categories, including craft, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, and multidisciplinary.

The 2023 cohort of fellows—selected by a national jury—vary in their individual artistic practices and disciplines. Taken as a whole, though, their work explores thematic narratives of resilience, physical disability, and identity, along with the motif of location expressed through environmental and social challenges.
The 2023 State Fellows for Visual Arts are:

  • 2023 Alabama Fellow for Visual Arts: Kelly Bryant | Drawing | Auburn, AL
  • 2023 Florida Fellow for Visual Arts: Chris Friday | Multidisciplinary | Goulds, FL
  • 2023 Georgia Fellow for Visual Arts and Southern Prize Winner: Victoria Dugger | Multidisciplinary | Athens, GA
  • 2023 Kentucky Fellow for Visual Arts: Rachel Moser | Multidisciplinary | Lexington, KY
  • 2023 Louisiana Fellow for Visual Arts: Carlie Trosclair | Sculpture | New Orleans, LA
  • 2023 Mississippi Fellow for Visual Arts: Alexis McGrigg | Multidisciplinary | Bryam, MS
  • 2023 North Carolina Fellow for Visual Arts: Nadia Meadows | Sculpture | Charlotte, NC
  • 2023 South Carolina Fellow for Visual Arts and Southern Prize Finalist: Michael Webster | Sculpture | Drayton, SC
  • 2023 Tennessee Fellow for Visual Arts: Beizar Aradini | Craft | Nashville, TN

As part of the program, every year the selected cohort of state fellows participate in a touring exhibition across the region. This year’s cohort will present works in an exhibition at the Ohr-O'Keefe through December 13, 2023, and their works will subsequently tour to the Bo Bartlett Center in Columbus, GA; Florida Department of State in Tallahassee, FL; and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art in Montgomery, AL in 2024.

The Southern Prize and State Fellowship program is supported by Southern First Bank and the Warner Fund, as well as many individual donors. For more information about South Arts and its programming, visit

About South Arts
South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit

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