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Three Baltimoreans win Guggenheim fellowships

Baltimore artists Ramona Diaz and Neil Feather have been awarded 2016 Guggenheim fellowships

Three Baltimoreans, filmmaker Ramona Diaz, musician Neil Feather and Johns Hopkins University professor Mitchell B. Merback, have been awarded 2016 Guggenheim Fellowships, given to writers, performers and artists with both proven track records and "exceptional promise."

Diaz is a director whose documentary films include 2003's "Imelda" and 2012's "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey." Feather specializes in creating mechanized musical instruments from such disparate items as bowling balls, film projectors and cigar boxes. Merback is a professor of the history of art at Hopkins.

The three fellowships were among 175 announced Wednesday by the New York-based John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Diaz's was one of 15 awarded in the field of film and video, while Feather's was one of 12 awarded in music composition. Feather won the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize in 2014. Merback's was the only fellowship given in medieval and Renaissance history.

The fellowships have been awarded since 1925.

Hasan Elahi, an associate professor of art at the University of Maryland, College Park, and playwright and actress Anna Deaveare Smith, who was born in Baltimore and now lives in New York, were also awarded 2016 Guggenheim Fellowships.*

*This story has been updated to include the fellowship awarded to Hasan Elahi.

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