Marketing & Communications: SAIC Faculty Jesse Ball and Five Alumni Named 2016 Guggenheim Fellows

CHICAGO—The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has named Jesse Ball, Professor of Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) as a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow along with five SAIC alumni. The award recognizes men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Ball is a poet and novelist who has authored 14 books. In 2015, his novel A Cure for Suicide was long-listed for the National Book Foundation’s National Book Award. In 2008, “The Paris Review”awarded Ball its Plimpton Prize for his story “The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp, and Carr,” which had been published in its winter 2007 issue. His “Samedi the Deafness,” was shortlisted for the 2007 Believer Book Award. He has also been a fellow of the National Endowment of the Arts and Creative Capital. Ball was among 178 fellows chosen from nearly 3,000 applicants.

In addition to Ball, five SAIC alumni were included on the list of fellows: J. Morgan Puett (BFA 1981, MFA 1984), Wu Tsang (BFA 2004), Laurie Fendrich (MFA 1978), Helen O'Toole (MFA 1989), and Robert Storr (MFA 1978).

“Our congratulations to the SAIC community members awarded Guggenheim Fellowships for 2016,” said SAIC President Walter E. Massey. “Their diversity of practice reflects that of our community as a whole. For the last 150 years, we have established a track record of excellence across all facets of the arts and design, and we look forward to continuing to train and support the creative individuals whose work will define our global culture in the future.”

Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $334 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and other important, internationally recognized honors.

“These artists and writers scholars and scientists [awarded the Guggenheim Fellow], represent the best of the best,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the Foundation “Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

The Guggenheim Fellowship program remains an important source of support for artists, scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and scientific researchers. New and continuing donations from friends, Trustees, former Fellows, and other foundations have ensured that the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation will be able to continue its historic mission.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top three graduate fine arts programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman. For more information, please visit

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