COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)- Local artist and Columbus native, Bo Bartlett, received the 2019 South Arts State Fellowship award for Georgia. The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships celebrate and support the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South.  

Over 800 visual artists submitted their work this year for the fellowships. Nine state fellows were selected for the award and will represent their state for the Southern Prize award. 

News 3 spoke with Bartlett about the award. 

“I feel sort of accountable to Georgia and responsible for being the representative from Georgia,” said Bartlett. 

He also said that he was honored to receive the award and looked at it as an opportunity to celebrate all art.

“The thing is about art is if you are competing in art then you don’t really understand what art is all about,” said Bartlett.  

Bartlett said that he gathered inspiration from living in Columbus and that many of his paintings are set in Midtown where he lived as a child. He said there was a field not far from his home where he learned to appreciate time, nature and existence.  

Bartlett gives back to the community that helped inspire his art through several outreach programs with the homeless, those in the Muscogee County jail, and students in the Muscogee County School District.  

“It’s about being in the community and not separating oneself,” said Bartlett.

He also said these programs are not so much about teaching others art as it is a chance for them to express themselves. 

Bartlett encourages young artist who are trying to find their way through the creative process to trust their own instincts and intuition. 

“As an artist you have to have many many many hours, years of believing in yourself when no one else is believing in you,” said Bartlett.  

Bartlett’s work will be on exhibit with the other eight State Fellows at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, South Carolina, from March 21 to May 5.  

The Southern Prize will be awarded to one of the finalists on April 15.