Cleveland Arts Prize Announces 2021 Award Winners


Cleveland-based Mourning [A] BLKstar. - MCKINLEY WILEY
  • McKinley Wiley
  • Cleveland-based Mourning [A] BLKstar.
Earlier today, Cleveland Arts Prize announced the winners of its 2021 awards.

Mourning [A] BLKstar, a collective of local musicians and writers, and visual artist Lauren Yeager received the Emerging Artist award given to two artists currently living in Northeast Ohio who have “already created significant work or projects and show remarkable promise for further development of their artistic careers.”

Alice Ripley, a Tony award-winning actor and Kent State University alumna, and visual artist Corrie Slawson received the Mid-Career Artist award given to two artists who have resided in Northeast Ohio and whose work has received both regional acclaim and national recognition.

The Lifetime Achievement award went to local writer Raymond McNiece, and Dr. Joseph J. Garry, Jr., a veteran of the Cleveland theater scene, received the Robert P. Bergman Prize awarded to an individual whose life and work are "illuminated by an energetic and inspiring dedication to a democratic vision of art."

The Martha Joseph Prize, which is awarded to an individual or organization that has “made a significant contribution to the vitality and stature of the arts in Northeast Ohio through exceptional commitment, vision, leadership and/or philanthropy” went to Happy Dog co-founder and co-owner Sean Watterson, and Clara Rankin, an active CMA Life Trustee Board Member, received the Barbara S. Robinson Prize awarded to an individual or organization for "extraordinary commitment to advancement of the arts through leadership in public policy, legislation, arts education and community development."

Cleveland Orchestra music director Franz Welser-Möst received a special citation presented by Cleveland Arts Prize Trustees to an individual who has made an "extraordinary contribution to the arts and culture of Northeast Ohio."

An awards event will be held on 
Wednesday, Oct. 13, at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The event will feature performances from past Arts Prize winners and the presentation of the 2021 Cleveland Arts Prize Award winners. Discipline winners receive an unrestricted prize of $10,000. Special Prize awards are honorary.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.