Ruth DeYoung Kohler II maintained a lifelong devotion to artists, ideas, and the places and materials from which artists created their work.

She was a champion of underrecognized artists and art forms and believed in the power of art to drive social change and transform lives. As such, the Ruth Awards are awarded to extraordinary, critically engaged artists who approach their practices with continuous inquiry, imagination, and rigor. Each artist receives a no-strings-attached $100,000 award over two years.

Through an annual nomination process, we award artists who are pushing the boundaries and whose practices are anchored in materiality: whether by embarking on transformative projects that are accelerating the field forward, building deeper relationships and connections across communities, developing artistic approaches to structural change, or undertaking work in community with their fellow artists. Artists that are makers, thinkers, and teachers, neighbours and organizers, artists working across material intersections. Perhaps flying under the radar of typical artworld channels, these artists are deserving of greater recognition for the fullness of their practice.

2024 Awardees

The inaugural recipients of the Ruth Award are Kite, Candice Lin, Joe Minter, and Rose B. Simpson.

The Ruth Awards take a relational approach in honouring artists, in which awardees are nominated by a distinguished group of curators from across North America, revered for their exceptional approaches to exhibition making and their affinity for relationship building within the contemporary art landscape.

Kite in domestic splendor, wearing long beaded earrings with her medium sized brown dog
Kite, a young Oglála Lakȟóta woman, with facial piercings in a fake fur hoodie stares directly into the camera
Candice Lin, crouched between two monumental ceramic sculptures under red light
A close up of Candice Lin kneeling next to her work, under all over red light
Joe holding a handmade sculptural staff, wearing a blue hardhat and old army jacket
Joe Minter in his outdoor studio with monumental, handmade sculptures
Joe, laying flowers at a headstone in front of his handpainted signs.
Joe, in a Kente cloth hat and camouflage pants, poised with a brush over a large painting
Joe, an elderly man, hunched over, working on a large, graphic painting
Joe in a blue hardhat and blue T shirt gesturing with a paintbrush in one hand and paint can in the other
A wide shot of Rose painting the face of an extra large clay head
brilliant orange sparks from a metal working project in Rose's studio
A portrait of Rose among her sculptures
Rose and a studio assistant move a larger than life, black sculptural figure
A portrait of Rose holding two ceramic masks in her studio
Rose working on a large clay bust

About the Artists


A portrait of Kite at home with her dog

Photo: Thatcher Keats

Dr. Suzanne Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta artist, academic, and composer. She received a BFA in Fine Art and Composition from the California Institute of the Arts in 2013, an MFA in Fine Art and Music/Sound from the Milton Avery Graduate School of Fine Arts at Bard College in 2018, and is currently a PhD candidate in Fine Art at Concordia University. Fusing scholarship with creative practice, Kite explores Lakȟóta mythologies, ontologies, and philosophies, alongside computational systems, machine learning, and AI—investigating the complex dynamics between the individual and technology through sound, video, sculpture, performance, installation, writing, and countless other modes of expression.

Kite has had recent solo exhibitions and film retrospectives at CARA, New York; the Fisher Center, Bard University; LightWorks, Syracuse University; the Vera List Center, New York; Broadway Gallery, New York; and Anthology Film Archives, New York; among others.

Candice Lin

Photo:Jason Lewis, courtesy of Candice Lin and François Ghebaly Gallery

Candice Lin is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Altadena, California. She received a BA in Visual Arts and Semiotics from Brown University in 2001 and an MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004. Working with a vast array of organic and synthetic materials, Lin creates elaborate installations that probe subjects ranging from the consequences of colonization to fictions of authenticity and value systems established by global trade.

Lin has had recent exhibitions at Canal Projects, New York; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan; the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive; Spike Island, Bristol; the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; among others. Her work is in public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Walker Art Center.

Joe Minter

A posed photo of Joe in a blue hard hat and army jacket in front of a hand painted wooden fence

Photo: Viva Vadim

Joe Minter is an artist and cultural historian living in the Titusville neighborhood of Birmingham, surrounded by his magnum opus, a sprawling didactic artwork that he has dubbed the African Village in America. Built on land adjacent to both his home and the Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens, a historically Black cemetery, the environment is constructed almost entirely from discarded elements, a direct symbolic gesture reflecting his belief that African Americans have themselves been discarded throughout American history.

Minter began work on the African Village in America in the summer of 1989, in response to an announcement that the city of Birmingham was planning to build a civil rights museum. He worried that the “foot soldiers” would be left out of the official narrative and got to work making a literal place for them. Individual artworks document the Civil Rights Movement, the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, American participation in various wars and conflicts, terrorist attacks, and the legacies of slavery.

There are, of course, moments of respite from the turmoil of the modern world with an implicit honoring of ancestors, loved ones, faith, and an essential acknowledgement of the power of love. Minter’s artistic education was obtained through years spent doing metal work and construction which afforded him the knowledge and practical experience needed to create the thousands of artworks that populate his environment’s ever-expanding site and increasingly, museums across the globe including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., among others.

Rose B. Simpson

portrait of Rose B Simpson in her studio, looking at camera with a clay bust in the foreground

Photo: Kate Russell

Rose B. Simpson is a mixed-media artist living and working in Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. She received a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2007, an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, and an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2018. Creating ceramic sculpture, metalwork, performance, music, installation, writing, and car design, Simpson expresses the individual and socio-political impacts of a postmodern and postcolonial world.

Through her work, she conjures the multigenerational, matrilineal, and Indigenous realms of her experience to explore self, family, gender, and the intersection of the organic and manufactured.

Simpson has had recent solo exhibitions at Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; John Micahel Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan; the Fabric Workshop Museum, Philadelphia; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; among others. Her work is in public collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

2024 Nominators

Dan Byers


John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University

Ryan N. Dennis


Senior Curator & Director of Public Initiatives, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Adrienne Edwards

New York

Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, Whitney Museum of American Art

Lauren Haynes

New York

Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programs, Queens Museum

Katherine Jentleson


The Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self‑Taught Art, High Museum of Art

Bana Kattan


Pamela Alper Associate Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Wanda Nanibush


Independent Curator

Sara Raza

New York

Independent Curator

Reuben Roqueñi


Executive Director, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

Victoria Sung


Phyllis C. Wattis Senior Curator, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Gaëtane Verna


Executive Director, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio University

Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy


Independent Curator and Writer