ARTSFAIRFAX Artist Grants Honor Innovative Artists Sarah Hardesty and Diana Zinna

By East City Art Editorial Team on June 16, 2020

ARTSFAIRFAX announces the award of the prestigious 2020 Artist Grants to — visual artist Sarah Hardesty and writer Diane Zinna. The highly competitive individual Artist Grants recognize the exceptional work of Fairfax County artists across a range of disciplines including visual arts, creative writing, theater, dance performance and choreography, film and new media. Each $5,000 award is both a high honor and an investment in artists at critical stages in their creative lives and careers.

“We know that Fairfax County’s creative sector of arts producers and entrepreneurs are incubators of talent,” said Linda S. Sullivan, President & CEO of ARTSFAIRFAX. “Fairfax artists and writers like Hardesty and Zinna often go unnoticed despite their national and international work. The goal of the ARTSFAIRFAX Artist Grants is to raise the profile of outstanding artists by shining a light on their accomplishments while supporting their growth as artists.”

About the Artists:

Sarah Hardesty, photo by Stephanie Lane.

Sarah Hardesty

Falls Church resident Sarah Hardesty uses drawing, painting, installations, and sculptures to present experiences that connect with our core feelings through the physical landscapes of our lives.

“My work incorporates textures, patterns, and other elements to create a visual platform to align what is happening to the earth with what is happening with personal experience,” says Hardesty.

Hardesty has been exhibited and received awards and residencies across the United States.  Hardesty’s Artist Grant recognizes her breadth of visual arts mastery and her over 50 successful solo and group exhibitions, nine awards and residencies, and 11 grant awards. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Wassaic Project, the Carriage House at Islip Art Museum, Santa Fe Art Institute and, the Vermont Studio Center. Hardesty is also an Assistant Professor of Art at Marymount University in Arlington.

Diane Zinna, Photo: Josefin Walden

Diane Zinna

Diana Zinna of Springfield is a writer and a strong supporter of the writing community particularly in her work in serving other writers. Zinna’s Artist Grant recognizes her long-standing involvement in mentoring young writers, and her own artistry as an author. Her first novel, The All-Night Sun, is about a journey through grief and loss, will be published by Random House in August. As the former executive co-director of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), Zinna worked to help young writers find their voice. While at AWP, Zinna created the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, matching almost 600 emerging writers with established authors and poets in a three-month series on the writing life.

“I am honored to receive this generous grant from ARTSFAIRFAX, and I am grateful to live in a county that puts such a high value on the arts,” says Zinna. “Art enriches the lives of all who live here, and many of us find ourselves turning to it for hope and community during this difficult time.

About the Artist Grants

ARTSFAIRFAX Artist grants are chosen for their artistic merit and record of achievement. Artist Grants are open to artists of all disciplines residing in Fairfax County. Zinna and Hardesty were selected from a group of 21 highly qualified artists, performers, choreographers, and writers from a peer reviewed panel. ARTSFAIRFAX Artist Grants are an investment in the sustained growth and development of the arts in Fairfax County, as well as a way to honor artists’ commitment to their artistic discipline and raise their profile locally and nationally as exceptional artists.


ARTSFAIRFAX is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, incorporated in 1964, as Fairfax County’s designated local arts agency. ARTSFAIRFAX is funded in part by Fairfax County, corporations, foundations, individuals, Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.