The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) announced it would award its annual Pocantico Prize for Visual Artists to Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski. The artist will receive a $25,000 grant and a two-month residency at The Pocantico Center, a cultural venue and conference center on the former Rockefeller family estate in Tarrytown.
The Pocantico Prize was established in 2022 with the launch of the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center at Pocantico (DR Center), housed in John D. Rockefeller’s historic Orangerie that has been transformed to include a gallery, performance space, and flexible artist’s studio. The prize is funded by the RBF Culpeper Arts & Culture program, which makes grants to arts organizations in the Fund’s home city of New York. Select leaders in the field submit nominations for the Pocantico Prize, which recognizes U.S. artists with a trajectory of artistic excellence who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color; disabled; women or gender non-binary; or from other groups that have been denied opportunities or recognition.
“The David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center aims to pull back the curtain on the creative process and invite audiences to watch and contribute to artistic development,” said Ben Rodriguez Cubeñas, director of the RBF Culpeper Arts & Culture program. “The Pocantico Prize supports the innovative artists that facilitate this experience, ensuring that audiences in our community and beyond have access to a diverse range of creators, art forms, and styles, as well as opportunities to grapple with broad and complex subject matter.”
Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski is a queer Puerto Rican American artist based in Brooklyn. Through drawing, video, sculpture, performance, and installation, she explores existential questions of fantasy and reality, sexuality, and hybridity. Her work depicts femme cosmologies, symbols, hues, and materials culturally classified as “other” to reshape accepted narratives rooted in colonialist history and mythology and upend constrictive notions of taste.
“I am giving everything I’ve got to honor and uplift all queer, femme, BIPOC artists that were never truly welcomed into the art world but who gave so much so that I could come home to this moment,” DeJesus Moleski said. “Receiving the Pocantico Prize this year will protect my time for research and development of new work, granting me the privilege to favor the unpredictable threads of instinct and intuition necessary in the creative process.”
DeJesus Moleski will work on-site in the DR Center’s 900-square-foot visual arts studio from April 3–May 27, 2023. During her residency, she will create new work for a Fall 2023 solo exhibition at The Union for Contemporary Art in Omaha. She will also continue work on her Creative Capital-initiated graphic novel and animated TV series, Kiara Daja Diamond and the 777 Satisfactions.
On May 20, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski will open the studio to the public as part of the DR Center’s annual Community Day. The event will also feature a musical performance by Brooklyn Raga Massive; access to the gallery’s inaugural exhibition, Inspired Encounters; and other family-friendly activities. Admission is free, but tickets must be claimed in advance online at Pocantico.org. Tickets will be available starting May 3, 2023.