Kelly Sherman got the call on Sunday. That's when the Cambridge artist learned she had won the Institute of Contemporary Arts $25,000 James and Audrey Foster Prize, a biennial award for a Boston-area artist.
"I jumped up and down and screamed and cried," Sherman said Monday. "I had done a pretty good job of convincing myself that I wouldn't get it."
For her exhibit, Sherman, 28, created The Family House, a work of diagrammatic drawings of her childhood home showing shifts in household arrangements caused by divorce; Wish Lists, an evocative collection of 40 personal wish lists gathered from the Internet; and Chairs, a video featuring a parade of seating items for sale on eBay.
Kelly Shermans work is a captivating mix of the conceptual and the emotional, ICA director Jill Medvedow said in a statement. Like so many exceptional artists, she helps us to see the familiar in entirely new ways. Through her eyes, anonymous wish lists and floor plans become an incredibly poignant and engaging examination of human desires and connections.
The other finalists for the ICA's prize were Sheila Gallagher, Jane D. Marsching, and Rachel Perry Welty. The work of all four artists will be at the ICA through March 11.
As for her prize money, Sherman has plans.
"I think Visa is rally happy about this," she said. "I owe them some money. I'm going to pay off my credit cards and this spring, I've arranged to do a public art collaboration with the Graham and Parks school in Cambridge with a fourth grade class there. This will give me money to be able to do the project the way I want to do it."