The Indianapolis Art Center announced Friday that ceramics faculty and studio head Tim Compton has been named the fourth Skip McKinney Faculty of the Year Fellow. The fellowship, created in honor of Arlene "Skip" McKinney — an Art Center student, community leader and Mom to NUVO publisher Kevin McKinney — "is one of the largest awards of its kind in the country for an individual artist," according to an Art Center press release. As part of the $20,000 fellowship, Compton will present a solo exhibition at the Art Center in fall 2015.
Compton beat out four finalists for the position; the runners-up will each receive $1,000. He graduated from Ball State in 2011 and has worked at the Indianapolis Art Center since 2010, in addition to teaching positions at the Herron School of Art and Design and BSU. “Art can be intimidating, but the sense of community I strive for in my classes removes much of the fear for new artists," Compton said in the press release. “Without the laughing and conversation that takes place between lessons, we wouldn’t be able to take the average person off the street and convince them that they can be an artist too.”
The award was created by the Robert H. McKinney Family Endowment, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. The winner was selected by members of the McKinney family following interviews with the finalists. It's given to a faculty member who "exhibits excellence in his/her art, excellence in teaching and focuses on building community through art." The three other finalists for the fellowship were Dan Helrigel, digital arts and photography instructor; Ben Johnson, glass arts instructor; and Kimberly Conrad, jewelry and metalsmithing instructor.