Alabama State Council on the Arts awards fellowships to four UAB faculty and staff

Doug Barrett, Halley Cotton, Ryan Meyer and Elisabeth Pellathy were awarded the fellowship grants, made possible by the Alabama Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

barrett headshotDoug BarrettFour University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty and staff members have received fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, along with a $5,000 grant.

The fellowship winners are Doug Barrett, associate professor of graphic design, Elisabeth Pellathy, associate professor of new media, and Ryan Meyer, incoming assistant professor of digital media and graphic design in the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History, and Halley Cotton, instructor in the college’s Department of English.

ASCA fellowships are awarded to individuals working in arts education, dance, design, media/photography, music, literature, theater, visual arts and crafts. These grants recognize artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity, contributing to the further development of the artist. Fellows use funding to support the growth and development of their artistic careers through time creating, practicing and improving their skill, pursuit of professional development and training, or other opportunities that lead to success for these Alabama artists.  

halley cotton InsideHalley Cotton“Alabama’s creative sector greatly benefits from the incredible work of our artists and arts educators,” said Council Chair Henry Panion III, Ph.D. “We are pleased to be able to provide support directly to individuals in the form of these fellowships.” 

Barrett, who was awarded a design fellowship, is an avid collector of imagery and often stops along the roadside to document unusual signage and handmade type. Barrett’s interest in exploring and representing found text and imagery in a way that talks about the constructed place is tied to his belief that graphic design has a cultural impact on our world. He received a Sappi Ideas That Matter Grant in 2012 to create a booklet for the Cahaba River Society and was awarded the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences.  

Cotton, who was awarded a literary arts fellowship in poetry, is the managing editor of the Birmingham Poetry Review, and production manager of NELLE. As the founding director of the SPARK Writing Festival, she focuses on developing community building through creative writing workshops. Her scholarship and writing are concerned with the relationship between people and the land and how both are nourished or destroyed by balance and imbalance. Cotton will use the funds for a poetry and photo journalistic exploration of the full length of the Cahaba River.

ryan meyer insideRyan MeyerMeyer, who was awarded a media/photography fellowship, received his BFA degree from UAB and his MFA degree from the University of California, Davis. He is an exhibiting member of the Ground Floor Contemporary Gallery in Birmingham and has shown work nationally and internationally. Meyer says he was raised between the suburban Deep South and the road. His art practice is a response to the effect of technological progress on the mind, body and environment. Meyer also has more than a decade of experience in commercial arts, specializing in creative direction, branding and storytelling. He has worked with large institutions, small startups, international products and local nonprofits. Some of these brands include Shipt, Mannington Floors and America’s First Federal Credit Union.

Pellathy, who was awarded a craft fellowship, works in a variety of mediums, responding to locations, history and social context. Her work has been exhibited at the Gadsden Museum of Art and Montgomery Museum of Fine Art in Alabama; Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello in Venice, Italy; The Booth Museum and Royal Pavilion and Museums in the United Kingdom; and the Alfred Ceramics Art Museum, Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture, Currents New Media, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, all in the United States.

pellathy isnideElisabeth PellathyThe Council on the Arts is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts in Alabama. The council works to expand and preserve the state’s cultural resources by supporting nonprofit arts organizations, schools, colleges, units of local government and individual artists. Arts programs, assisted by council grants, have a track record of enhancing community development, education, cultural tourism and overall quality of life in all regions of the state. Alabama State Council on the Arts grants are made possible by an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and additional funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn more at