Fabric artist was the subject of a 2019 Alive cover story

Earlier this year, the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) and the Columbus Museum of Art announced the “Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Fellowship and Residency, two new programs that will honor Columbus artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson and support African American professional, visual artists.”

Today, GCAC announced the first recipient of the fellowship: fabric artist Don “DonCee” Coulter. The fellowship runs from March 2 to May 31 and includes a $15,000 unrestricted award.

Last year, Alive profiled Coulter in a cover story that revealed what goes into the making of his finely detailed, multi-layered fabric artworks, which can look like paintings at first glance. Coulter has been perfecting his process for more than 20 years, and last year he was commissioned to make a piece as a surprise gift for arts patrons Larry and Donna James as part of Columbus’ “I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100” campaign; Larry James described Coulter’s finished piece as “breathtaking.” “The closer you got to it, with the different layers... it’s like nothing we had ever seen,” he said.

In Alive’s March 2019 story, Lyn Logan-Grimes, cultural arts director at the King Arts Complex, predicted the next year would be a big one for Coulter. “He deserves to rub shoulders with fine artists that are being acknowledged all over the country,” she said. “I think he’s ready to move on to that next level, and he’s gonna go quickly. It’s gonna be fast for him.”

The Aminah Robinson Fellowship, then, is another big step in Coulter’s rising career. “Aminah Robinson is someone I admire and respect. To be the first to receive the Aminah Robinson Fellowship is a huge honor and a major milestone in my career,” Coulter said in a GCAC press release. “It’s not easy being an artist. We put our souls into our work and open ourselves up to the world for acceptance. My advice to young artists is to be your own number one fan and stay the course. You WILL eventually hit your stride. When you do, remember those who are following that same path and reach back.”

While the fellowship is locally anchored, the Aminah Robinson residency will be nationally focused, with a goal of providing “an African American professional visual artist residing in the United States the opportunity to live and work in Robinson’s soon-to-be-restored Shepard community home, and to devote dedicated time to creating art within Robinson’s home studio,” according to GCAC.