Two Professors and MFA Alum Receive Heinz Endowments Creative Development Awards

Professors James Duesing and Imin Yeh and MFA alum Shohei Katayama are among the winners of the inaugural Creative Development Awards, an annual grant-making program from The Heinz Endowments. This new program celebrates the Pittsburgh region’s professional artists, with a special focus on those whose artistic achievements show great promise.

Professor Duesing’s grant will support his project “Adulting,” an animated short film structured around first-person narratives collaboratively created by a diverse group of LGBTQ+ people.

Professor Yeh’s grant will support a year of monthly commissioned exhibitions at The Chute, an installation space in a historic cast-iron coal chute in the Mexican War Streets on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The grant will also support the documentation, design, printing, and distribution of “Dreamcabin,” a book project with more than 40 contributing artists. Each artist to be featured in the book contributed a miniature piece of artwork for Yeh’s cardboard cabin created from scrape and recycled materials, a project she began during the pandemic.

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh received a grant to support an artist residency with Shohei Katayama (MFA ’19), a Japanese-American artist whose work examines the underlying patterns of nature by showcasing unseen relationships in ecology. This partnership will blend Katayama’s creative practice, rooted in sensory experience and empathy, with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s aim of subverting traditional museum approaches that can disconnect young audiences from art.

For the program’s first year, The Heinz Endowments awarded grants totaling $351,000 to support the work of 14 artists. The Creative Development Awards program aims to help advance grantees’ careers through increased visibility, professional partnership opportunities, and financial assistance.

Announcement website

Left image: James Duesing, Concept image from the storyboard for Adulting. Right image: Imin Yeh, Dreamcabin