Johnson Prize Winner
Lauren Halsey (b. Los Angeles, 1987) received an MFA from Yale University (2014) and a BFA from California Institute of the Arts (2012). She was included in numerous recent exhibitions internationally at places from Mauve-Vienna in Vienna Austria (2017) to HOME in Manchester, UK (2016). Her float Pride in Our Neighborhood was included in 31st Annual Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles (2016). She is the recipient of the Edge Award from the Los Angeles Design Festival (2017) and the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Los Angeles Emerging Artist Award (2015). Halsey was an Artist-in-Residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2014-2015). Halsey creates fantastical environments that reimagine the urban spaces of her community, integrating the local and personal stories and vernacular culture with a dose of funk and science fiction to create new environments in which to realize a different future. The artist asserts: "I aim to empower blackness in the form of constructing spatial paradigms that amplify positivity while conjuring new perspectives of economic autonomy, self-definition, and love." Her current project is a massive public monument for South Los Angeles, The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project, a community market and participatory public art installation that allows the public to engrave their own stories into the surface of a monument to and for the neighborhood.
The jury for 2017 included Jonathan Griffin, independent arts writer and critic; EJ Hill, artist and 2016 recipient of the William H. Johnson Prize; Jamillah James, Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Nicole Miller, artist and 2015 recipient of the William H. Johnson Prize; and Lanka Tattersall, Assistant Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.