Bonnie Bronson Fellowship

Bonnie Bronson Fellowship

Susie Lee receives Twenty-Sixth Annual Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award

Portland, Ore. —Susie Lee, an important Seattle-based artist whose work takes the form of small sculptures to an international digital forum, is the winner of the 26th annual Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award. A free, public reception for the artist will be held at Reed College on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., in the Kaul Auditorium Lobby, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd. Remarks and ceremony at 6:30.

“To be recognized by this selection committee feels really validating, as someone with a nontraditional practice,” said Lee after she was notified of the win. “I’m honored to be in the company of past winners like Wynne Greenwood, Christopher Rauschenberg, and Marie Watt. To get that phone call out of the blue is amazing.”

Since its inception in 1992, the Bronson Fund—named after the late American painter and sculptor Bonnie Bronson—has annually awarded a no-strings-attached cash prize, (this year’s prize is $10,000) to an artist of outstanding merit who lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, the Bronson Fund purchases artwork by each new Fellow, adding it to the Bronson Collection. That collection is on long-term loan to Reed College, where it is exhibited throughout the campus and curated by the Director of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Stephanie Snyder.

Susie Lee, also winner of the Northwest Contemporary Art Award and The Stranger Genius Award in Art, creates sculptural objects, live performances, installations, video portraits, and social orchestrations. Her work is realized at different scales. But all of it explores vulnerability, amplifying humanity through technology, and invites intimate immersion.

For example, Consummation… (2006) was a small, haunting sculpture illuminated by video and accompanied by a Bach prelude she played; Rain Shower (2007) was an enveloping, 2,000-square-foot installation evoking a rainstorm of memories using light and voice. More recently, in two series of real-time, uncut video portraits—Still Lives (2010), inspired by Goya’s Black paintings, and Happiness Writes White (2013)—Lee turned her attention and ours to focus lingeringly on people whose lives are not otherwise likely to bring them into an art gallery: the confined elderly, and workers in the oil-fracking boomtowns of western North Dakota.

For the last three years, Lee has been a co-founder and CEO of Siren, an experiment in social sculpture, a concept dating back to early modernism, where art might shape entire environments, not just physical materials. Siren is a dating app driven by women and fueled by curated creative flirtations, rather than snapshots and body measurements. Siren is in residence at The New Museum’s cutting-edge INC program in New York, won App of the Year from Geekwire in 2015, and is mentioned over 200 times in national and international press. Siren challenges assumptions about the rules of artmaking and the conditions of digitally facilitated lives.

Lee’s work is in the private and public collections of, among others, Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado; The Wing Luke Museum, Seattle, Washington; Care Center, Seattle, Washington; Boise Art Museum, Boise, Idaho; and the North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, North Dakota. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at numerous additional institutions including Lawrimore Project, Seattle, Washington; and The Art Gym, Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, Oregon.

Lee earned her MFA from the University of Washington in 2005. She has an MA in Science Education from Columbia University in New York and a BS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University. Lee lives and works in Seattle, Washington, and is represented by PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon; and Galleria Tiziana Di Caro, Salerno, Italy.

For additional information or print-resolution art for Susie Lee, please contact:

Terri Hopkins, co-chair, Bronson Fellowship Committee. 

Email: terri.m.hopkins(at)

Phone: 503-816-1559


About the Award

THE BONNIE BRONSON FUND was established in 1991 under the aegis of the Oregon Community Foundation to award an annual fellowship to an artist living and working in the Pacific Northwest. The fund was inspired by the memory of Oregon artist Bonnie Bronson who died in a climbing accident in August of 1990. Bonnie's art works included enamel on steel sculpture, welded and painted steel collages, painting and carpet design, and were considered a powerful force in the Pacific Northwest art community in her lifetime.

Since 1992, the BONNIE BRONSON FUND has selected twenty-six fellows through a confidential nomination process. The guiding principles are to advance and encourage creative and intellectual growth in a working artist of the Pacific Northwest region, specifically Oregon and Washington. The award is a cash prize and purchase of a work of art for the Bonnie Bronson Collection, which is housed at Reed College and displayed prominently throughout campus. Artists may not apply for this award and the new Fellow is informed with a simple phone call. Past recipients include: Christine Bourdette, Judy Cooke, Ronna Neuenschwander, Fernanda D’Agostino, Carolyn King, Lucinda Parker, Judy Hill, Adriene Cruz, Helen Lessick, Ann Hughes, Malia Jensen, Christopher Rauschenberg, Kristy Edmunds, Paul Sutinen, Bill Will, Laura Ross-Paul, MK Guth, Marie Watt, David Eckard, Nan Curtis, Pat Boas, Wynne Greenwood, Vanessa Renwick and Cynthia Lahti and Lynne Woods Turner.

Family and friends established the Bonnie Bronson Fund in her memory in 1991 as a special interest fund under the aegis of the Oregon Community Foundation. The purpose of the fund was to publish a catalog documenting Bronson’s work and life, and to award an annual fellowship. Publication of the catalog coincided with the Bronson retrospective exhibition mounted by the Portland Art Museum in 1993. 

In 2011, two exhibitions celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Bonnie Bronson Fund and the work of Bonnie Bronson: 


Terri Hopkins, Chair, Bonnie Bronson Fund Advisory Committee,, 503-816-1559

Stephanie Snyder, John and Anne Hauberg Director and Curator, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College,, 503/367-7004

The Bonnie Bronson Fellows

1992   Christine Bourdette  

1993   Judy Cooke  

1994   Ronna Neuenschwander  

1995   Fernanda D’Agostino  

1996   Carolyn King  

1997   Lucinda Parker  

1998   Judy Hill  

1999 Adriene Cruz  

2000 Helen Lessick  

2001 Ann Hughes  

2002 Malia Jensen

2003 Christopher Rauschenberg

2004 Kristy Edmunds  

2005 Paul Sutinen  

2006 Bill Will 

2007 Laura Ross-Paul

2008 MK Guth

2009 Marie Watt  

2010 David Eckard  

2011Nan Curtis  

2012 Pat Boas  

2013 Wynne Greenwood  

2014 Vanessa Renwick  

2015 Cynthia Lahti

2016 Lynne Woods Turner

2017 Susie Lee