Durham Artist Wins Eighth Annual ArtPrize Award

Durham artist Stacey Kirby won the Eighth Annual ArtPrize Award for the performance installation The Bureau of Personal Belonging. A N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient she is pictured here with Harriet Hoover (right), Heather Gordon (left) and Warren Hicks (back), who have also received a Fellowship award. Photo by Alex Maness of Durham.

Durham artist Stacey Kirby, a 2014–15 North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship recipient, has been awarded the Eighth Annual ArtPrize Award, an international art competition.

Kirby, who will receive a $200,000 grand prize, was selected by a jury of arts experts for her work, The Bureau of Personal Belonging.

Held annually in Grand Rapids, Michigan, jurors for the annual ArtPrize Award included Michelle Grabner, artist and professor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Paul Ha, Director at the MIT List Visual Arts Center; and Eric Shiner, Senior Vice President at Sotheby’s.

“Stacey’s piece was so thoughtful and so ambitious that it stood out. The production was so high,” Paul Ha explained the jury’s decision. “You walked in and you weren’t quite sure if you were in an acting studio or part of a piece. Then after you engage with the artist and the actors, you realize they are letting you know there are some points out there that we should be aware of.”

The Bureau of Personal Belonging is an installation comprised of three ongoing works where particpants offer written and verbal responses as they interact with the artist and other performers within a meticulously recreated 60’s-era bureaucratic office space. Participants are taken through various processes the determine their validity in the community or prove their humanity to receive a restroom facility permit. Kirby also took home a $5,000 grant awarded at the first ArtPrize Pitch Night event of 2016, held earlier this year at 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, for The Bureau. A panel of art experts chose this project over the work of four other artists, each given five minutes and five slides to sell their idea of an ambitious installation for ArtPrize Eight in Grand Rapids.

Kirby, who graduated with a B.A. in studio art and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is no stranger to visual arts enthusiasts in North Carolina. Her work has been performed at numerous venues including, the SPARKcon Festival in Raleigh, CAM in Raleigh, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, Elsewhere in Greensboro, and the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham.

Among other awards, she has received three Regional Artist Project Grants and a 2007 Headlands Center for the Arts residency where she initially developed The Declaration Project, both were funded by the North Carolina Arts Council. Additionally, she has attended N.C. Arts Council-sponsored Creative Capital workshops where artists of all genres receive professional development.

“I couldn't have achieved this without my Creative Capital training and the fellowship from the N.C. Arts Council. These opportunities were life-changing,” Kirby said.

Kirby works as a conservation assistant at the North Carolina Museum of Art and lives in Durham.

For a complete list of winners and for more information visit:


About The North Carolina Arts Council

North Carolina has long been recognized for rich traditions in crafts, literature, historical drama, and music. Since 1964, the N.C. Arts Council has worked to strengthen North Carolina’s creativity, invention, and prosperity through its four core functions: creating a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; planning and implementing economic development initiatives; educating our young people; and researching the impact of the arts on our state. ncarts.org 

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov