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2021 Hallie Ford Fellows

July 8, 2021, Roseburg, Oregon: The Ford Family Foundation today named its 2021 Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts, recognizing three Oregon visual artists for demonstrated excellence.

A jury of five arts professionals from within and outside of Oregon selected Ka’ila Farrell-Smith of Modoc Point, Rainen Knecht of Portland and rubén garcía marrufo of Portland, from a competitive pool of 198 applicants. They will receive a $35,000 unrestricted award and will join 43 of their peers selected over the last 11 years as Hallie Ford Fellows.

“It is powerful to see these three Fellows’ creative practices. Art making is central to their own well-being, as well as the well-being of their family and community. This is something that Hallie Ford experienced first-hand,” says Anne Kubisch, president of the Foundation.

The jurists individually reviewed and then collectively discussed the applicants. They determined that each awardee demonstrates a mastery of artistic practice that prepares them to step into rigorous and meaningful opportunities in the global contemporary art world. Serving on the panel were: Mike Bray, artist, Hallie Ford Fellow, and co-founder, Ditch Projects (Eugene, OR); René Morales, director of curatorial affairs and chief curator, Perez Art Museum Miami (Miami, FL); Meg Onli, Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator, ICA Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA); Ashley Stull Meyers, writer, editor, and program director of the Multicultural Resource Center, Reed College (Portland, OR); and Ali Subotnick, an independent curator and adjunct curator, Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA).

The 2021 recipients were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of work: Artists demonstrate artistic excellence, exemplary talent, and depth of sophisticated exploration.

  • Evolution of work: Artists stand at a pivotal point in their practice and would benefit from a Fellowship at this point in their careers.

  • Impact of work: Artists' goals are consistent with Fellowship goals, and they show potential for future accomplishment and capacity to contribute significantly to Oregon's visual arts ecology.


Ka’ila Farrell-Smith. Photo: Sam Gehrke /

Stardust, 2020, Acrylics, Painted Hills wild red, aerosols, graphite, oil bars on wood panel, 30 x 24 in. Photo: Mike Bray


(b. 1982. Lives and works in Modoc Point, Oregon)

Ka’ila Farrell-Smith relocated to her Southern Oregon ancestral homelands near Modoc Point to recenter place and decolonial freedom into her art and life. The daily practices of working and harvesting from the land allow her to gather found objects, such as bullets, discarded metal, and machine parts to use as stencils in her paintings. She describes this cycle as performative, physical and intellectual: “My aim is to heal and bring forth resiliency and transformation of perception and memory.”

Farrell-Smith’s work has been recently been included in exhibitions by the Portland Art Museum, the Portland 2019 Biennial at Oregon Contemporary (formerly Disjecta Contemporary Art Center), Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon; the High Desert Museum of Art, Bend; and Linfield Gallery, McMinnville; as well as the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, Washington and Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pacific Northwest College of Art. Farrell-Smith is a 2019-2020 Fields Fellow with the Oregon Community Foundation. Her current painting series, “Land Back,” will be on view in a solo exhibition at Ditch Projects in Springfield, Oregon, August 2021.

Fellow artist, mentor and activist Mic Crenshaw says of Farrell-Smith’s impact to the Oregon arts ecology: “Drawing on ancient awareness of a people who exist in resilience and full knowledge, Ka'ila's work is profound and essential.”


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