Baltimore Gets Three New Guggenheim Fellows

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Still Ramona Diaz’s Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

A filmmaker, a musician, and an art history professor are Baltimore’s newest batch of Guggenheim fellows.

Three Baltimoreans — documentary filmmaker Ramona Diaz, “sound mechanic” Neil Feather, and Hopkins Prof. Mitchell B. Merback — have been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation for having “demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

Diaz most recently directed Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, which tells the story of Arnel Pineda, a Filipino singer-songwriter who became the front man for Journey thanks to a fan-uploaded YouTube video.

Feather has been building bizarre musical instruments (take a look!) since 1970. In 2014, he won the Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize.

Merback’s academic focus is European art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. His most recent book explores changing Jewish-Christian relations in Germany before the Reformation.

Like MacArthur grants, Guggenheim fellowships come with no strings attached. The money is intended to allow the fellow to continue working “substantially free of their regular duties.”

Unlike MacArthur grants, Guggenheims must be applied for. A little more than 200 fellows are chosen each year from an applicant pool numbering in the thousands. The size of each grant is determined individually.

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