Today the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, announced the 30 recipients of Research & Development (R&D) Grants for 2022. Awarded through a competitive application and review process, these $5,000 grants support Arizona artists as they work to advance their artistic practice, expand their creative horizons, and deepen the impact of their work.
Grantees represent a variety of artistic disciplines and reside in communities throughout the state.
The following artists were awarded 2022 Research & Development Grants. (For artist bios, project descriptions, and additional information, click a name below.)
Nanibaa Beck (Tucson)
AmyLou Bogen (Phoenix)
Gabriel José Bolaños (Tempe)
Cherie Buck-Hutchison (Phoenix)
Cazo (Tucson )
Joseph L. Edwards (Tucson)
Stephen Fairfield (Saint David)
Stephanie Rose Figgins (Phoenix)
Sandra Flores-Strand (Mesa)
Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell (Tucson)
Cameron Hood (Tucson)
Dina Kagan (Tucson)
Jeff Kronenfeld (Tempe)
Nazafarin Lotfi (Tucson )
Sumana Sen Mandala (Scottsdale)
Ann Morton (Phoenix)
Jisun Myung (Mesa)
Tanya Núñez (Douglas)
Yun Gee Park (Tucson)
Katie Parker (Scottsdale)
Anne Pollack – Mestra Luar do Sertão (Tucson)
Jordan Putt (Tucson)
Yanely Rivas (Tucson)
Chezale Rodriguez (Surprise )
Grace Rolland-Redwood (Mesa)
Samantha Schwann (Oro Valley)
Elizabeth Soflin (Tucson)
Lisa Minerva Tolentino (Phoenix)
Alisha Vasquez (Tucson)
This year, thanks to a public-philanthropic partnership between the state agency and the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF), and with funding from the Newton and Betty Rosenzweig Fund for the Arts, the number of available awards doubled, from 15 to 30.
Bill Desmond Award
In addition to the R&D Grants, the Arts Commission presented the Bill Desmond Writing Award, which offers funding in the amount of $1,000 to an excelling nonfiction writer, to Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell. The recipient is selected from the pool of applicants for Research and Development Grants and a single applicant may be awarded both. The award was established by Kathleen Desmond in honor of her late husband, Bill Desmond, a reporter, editor, and nonfiction writer.
2022 Research and Development Grant Review Panel
Applications were reviewed by a panel of Arizona artists and arts professionals.
- Jia Oak Baker (Peoria)
- Antoinette Cauley (Phoenix)
- Dominique Holley (Litchfield Park)
- Lawrence Lenhart (Flagstaff)
- Felipa Lerma, Artist (Peoria)
- Tim Madril (Tucson)
- Amanda Mollindo (Phoenix)
- Delisa Myles (Prescott)
- Kate Saunders (Phoenix)
After reviewing and scoring applications individually, the panelists convened online for a public meeting on November 19, 2021, to discuss top-scoring applications and make recommendations for funding. Ben Baer, a Governor-appointed Commissioner of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, acted as the panel chair, overseeing the process without participating in the review.
At their quarterly board meeting on December 2, 2021, the Arts Commission’s Governor-appointed board of commissioners approved the panel’s recommendations for funding.
2022 Research & Development Grant Recipients
Biographies and project descriptions for each grantee can be found below:
Nanibaa Beck will conduct interviews with 20 fellow Indigenous female metalsmiths across North America. The interviews will inform the writing of a book-length manuscript, tentatively titled Reciprocity, Memory, and Makers, which the artist describes as “an empowering look of how we learned this craft and what drives our passion.”
Nanibaa Beck is a 2nd generation Diné (Navajo) jeweler. At 13, she became an assistant to her father, Victor Beck, Sr. Being intricately connected to the creation process motivated Nanibaa to become more knowledgeable about the multifaceted areas surrounding Native American Art. During her academic years, she studied anthropology and museum studies. Her background includes fellowships with renowned museums including the National Museum of the American Indian, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Heard Museum. Beck founded NotAbove in 2013 with the creation of the minimalist hand-sawn Language Collection and its focus on native indigenous languages. It was the beginning of the thoughtful and intentional handmade creations that connect to her Diné culture and creative community. Today, NotAbove is a reflection of vibrant Native creative expressions and the growth of an Diné ‘Asdzáá (woman) as a metalsmith. She continues to grow in her work today. She received the First People Fund Artist In Business Leadership Fellowship and the School of American Research’s Ronald & Susan Dubin Native Artist Fellowship and Artist in Residency in 2018. Currently, she is creating new work for the Chicago’s Field Museum and their reopening of the Native American Hall in May 2022.
Amy Lou Bogen’s grant will go toward the purchase of technologies that will enable the artist to complete a graphic novel and four mini-comic zines called “Lost Projects”.
AmyLou Bogen is a comic creator living in Phoenix. Most of Bogen’s stories are personal and reflect their own experiences growing up queer and working class in the Midwest, wrestling with mental health, learning to trust their own guts, and other normal human stuff.
Bogen has made many self-published mini comics, contributed writings and illustrations to publications and anthologies including “On What Matters”- A S.A.W. Anthology 2020-2021, and has been self-publishing Lost Projects Zine since 2016.
A lifelong learner, Bogen attended University of Arizona (BA, 2017) and more recently The Sequential Art Workshop (S.A.W.) in Gainesville, FL.
Gabriel José Bolaños
Gabriel Bolaños will use his grant to create a computer program designed to aid in the composition and performance of polytemporal music. He will use the program to compose, rehearse, and premiere a new 25-30 minute piece for percussion quartet.
Gabriel José Bolaños is a Nicaraguan-American composer of solo, chamber, orchestral and electroacoustic music. He received a BA in Music from Columbia University and a PhD in Music Theory and Composition from UC Davis. His principal composition teachers include Mika Pelo, Pablo Ortiz, Laurie San Martin, Fabien Lévy and Sebastian Currier, and he studied orchestration with Tristan Murail. He also attended the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau (France), SICPP (Boston), Atlantic Music Festival (Maine), New Music on the Point (Vermont), Festival Mixtur (Barcelona) and SPLICE Institute (Michigan).
Bolaños is Assistant Professor of Music Composition at Arizona State University where he teaches courses in composition, analysis, music technology, and acoustics. He was visiting lecturer at Bates College for the 2018-2019 academic year and taught courses in music theory and music technology. As a 2016-17 Fulbright Visiting Scholar in Nicaragua, he was composer-in-residence and visiting conductor for the UPOLI Conservatory Orchestra, and visiting professor at the UPOLI Conservatory of Music. Beyond his work as a teacher and composer of concert music, he has also written music for film, theater and dance, and has experience performing as a flamenco dance accompanist.
With her grant, Cherie Buck-Hutchison will create a series of 30 layered photographs printed on silk organza. The prints, mounted on wooden pole structures, are the centerpiece of a planned interactive outdoor installation called “The Mitigation of Memories.”
Cherie Buck-Hutchison is the recipient of the All USA Academic Team Scholarship. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Intermedia from the Herberger School of Art and Design at Arizona State University. She was awarded the inaugural Art for Good Project Grant by the Carmody Foundation. She is the former president of eye lounge Gallery, a downtown Phoenix art collective. Her work is shown locally as well as nationally.
Musician Ana Sofia Gonzalez, who performs as CAZO, will use her grant to support the production of her first album, including the hiring of Tucson-based musicians and an audio engineer.
Ana Sofia Gonzalez began releasing music as CAZO in the year 2020. Playing the piano and singing since young, she made the leap into the recording studio through the magic of collaboration and began to shape a sound inspired heavily by her shifting perceptions on time, change, love, the desert, and childhood recollections. She wrote and co-produced the songs that would become her first musical release, For You, a Garden. Less than a year later, she released a compilation of demos made from her bedroom studio titled Demos in red.
Prior to these releases, she worked on the score for a film titled “The Lights Are On, No One’s Home ” directed by Faye Ruiz, currently streaming on the Criterion Channel. Her work has been featured on NPR’s World Cafe playlist twice, and her compositions as CAZO continue as she sets to release a collaboration album with two other artists from Tucson.
Joseph L. Edwards
Joseph Edwards’ grant will assist in the development of an interactive, multi-media workshop of the history of the reparations movement in the United States, from 1812 to the present.
Joseph Lewis Edwards’ work as an actor and playwright has been showcased on film, television, and stage. His stage adaptation of the classic autobiography of Claude Brown’s Manchild In The Promised Land, originally produced at the American Place Theatre, was nominated for an AUDELCO Award for excellence in Black theater and was performed for more than 20 thousand students in New York City. Joseph won three AUDELCO awards for his critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production of FLY.
Joseph appeared in Bad Company, starring Chris Rock, Anthony Hopkins and Kerry Washington. He has had guest appearances on Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, and Rescue Me. He appeared on Broadway in Regina Taylor’s Drowning Crow, starring Alfre Woodard and Anthony Mackey. Off-Broadway he played Officer Burt in Urban Transitions with the late Chadwick Bozeman, and as Boy Willie in the Baltimore Center Stage production of August Wilson’s Fences. Joseph also portrayed the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater production of The Meeting at the Kennedy Center, directed by Stephen McKinley Henderson. He portrayed Bobo in the Williamstown Theater Festival production of A Raisin In The Sun starring Viola Davis, Rubin Santiago Hudson, and Kimberly Elise. Most recently Joseph performed all male roles in Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography Off-Broadway at the Castillo Theater and made a guest appearance in Season 3 of the popular Netflix series Daredevil.
(He/Him/His), Saint David
Stephen Fairfield’s grant will go toward the purchase of technology that will expand his ability to fabricate larger, more complex sculptures for his public art projects.
A visual artist for 45+ years, Stephen Fairfield has specialized in monumental scale public art sculpture and installations for the past 19 years. He is a self-taught artist, with formal technological training (a Ph.D. and post doc in Biomedical Sciences, 7 years employment at MIT).
He is the lead artist and founder of The New Media Public Art Collective, a collaboration that includes an artist electrical engineer, an architect, a 3D and special effects artist, and an artist who specializes in concrete sculptures. The Collective’s focus is the natural environment, the impact of humans on the world, or directions culture has taken or is moving towards. It emphasizes “green technologies”, and has an expertise in solar powered, new media, interactive creations that use motion sensors for commissioned new media pieces wherever possible. He has installed permanent and temporary public art in 16 states across the country. Temporary pieces are exhibited for 1-2 years .
Stephanie Rose Figgins
Stephanie Rose Figgins’ grant will support work on a short documentary film called “Dreaming of Rosa,” which explores her quest with dreaming as an ancestral practice.
Stephanie is an Arizona-based cinematographer and cultural worker of Peruvian ancestry. The foundational wonder of her artistic practice is her own dreamscape, and as a student of dreamwork she explores dream messages as harbingers of personal and collective liberation. She has worked with queer and trans migrants in Phoenix to produce a community art gallery and Latin American street cinema, and she teaches filmmaking workshops for BIPOC youth at universities and grassroots groups across the state. As a 2013 Marshall Scholar, she studied documentary film & postcolonial cultures in London.
Classical singer and educator Sandra Strand will use her grant to conduct research informing the writing of a libretto for a children’s opera about the delicate balance of plant life in the Sonoran Desert.
Sandra Flores-Strand, Librettist and Mezzo-Soprano, is based in Mesa, Arizona. Her mini song cycle, “Speak, But Don’t Speak: Diminished Women,” premiered in March 2021 at the Arizona Women’s Collaborative Concert set by Emily Smith and Lillian Salter. She is also currently collaborating with composer Laura Jobin-Acosta, a recipient of the Opera America IDEA Residency, for a piece that will have its premiere workshop at Opera America in Spring of 2022. Her one act opera “The Beneficiary,” composed by Charles Zoll and her song cycle, “Come Again: Poems Based on Recurring Dreams,” composed by William Clay, are scheduled to premiere in 2022.
As a singer, Flores-Strand has performed with Phoenix Opera, Mercury Opera, Arizona Voices, Voices of Vienna, the Phoenix Opera Orchestra, Brott Opera Festival, Flagstaff Light Opera, Lambs Players Theater, Lyric Opera San Diego and more. She participated in apprentice programs with Red River Lyric Opera, the Harrower Opera Workshop, Angel’s Vocal Arts, Flagstaff in Fidenza and the Royal College of Music – London. As a theater technician, she worked with Lambs Players Theater, the Old Globe Theater San Diego, the Lyceum Theater, the Balboa Theater, the Asian American Repertory Theater, and Starlight Opera. She also holds directing credits with NAU Opera under the mentorship of Kay Walker Castaldo and Nando Schellen.
Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell
Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell’s grant will fund research for “Campfollowers”, a memoir in essays and poems exploring the challenges faced by caregivers in the military community in the rural southwest.
Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell’s essays and poems can be found in Bat City Review, The Greensboro Review, Storm Cellar, and Arts & Letters, among others. Her essay “Debridement” was a notable essay in Best American Essays 2019. Her essay, “The Tax of Quick Alarm,” won the 2020 Susan Atefat Prize in Creative Nonfiction from Arts & Letters. She is at work on an essay collection, Campfollowers, which documents the long lasting mental and physical effects of disaster preparedness, anticipatory grief, and lived proximities to violence through her experiences in a military family. The collection layers personal histories alongside lyric narratives of military families throughout history, illustrating the intimate and collective connections between families and militaries to grief and trauma, power and violence. She has a PhD in English from the University of Texas and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. Originally from rural West Texas, Gallaway-Mitchell lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband, their two children, and a half a dozen or so chickens.
Haas will use their grant to host a series of forums, activities, and workshops which will inform the development of an evening length, site-specific participatory performance called “The Anger Project.”
Haas is a movement artist, director, facilitator, builder and writer. They received a B.A. in Performance Art from Columbia College Chicago and an M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. They have received awards such as the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence Fellowship and residencies at art hubs such as Links Hall in Chicago, IL. Haas’s works have been written about in the Chicago Tribune, broadcast on Channel 23 by New Chinese Media and honored as Chicago Reader Critics Choice.
After graduate school, Haas began a three-year art/work/live traveling experiment inside a tiny house (that transformed into a stage) on wheels that they built with their own hands. In August 2014 Haas stopped their travels to homestead in northern Arizona. There they opened Rosie’s Ranch, which served as an informal art residency space from 2015 to 2021.
Cameron Hood’s grant will aid in the acquisition of technology the musician will use to create on-stage video content for a 90-minute narrative concept album based on the twin space probes that NASA launched in the 1970s.
Cameron Hood is an award-winning songwriter, musician, artist, and speaker from Tucson, AZ. In 2017, Hood co-created a modern ballet about the life of gangster John Dillinger with Ashley Bowman of Artifact Dance Project, called “Surrounding Dillinger,” about which Arizona Daily Star said, “It’s contemporary dance. It’s theatre. It’s a concert. And it is, simply, astounding.” More recently, Hood spoke and performed along with frequent collaborator Ryan David Green at the 2019 TEDx Tucson [R]evolution Conference, in a TED Talk called, “How Bad Things Can Make Us Good People.”
As part of the indie-folk acoustic duo Ryanhood, Hood has released eight albums of original music, performed over 1000 shows in 3 countries and 46 US states, and been named, along with Green, “Best Group/Duo” in the 2014 International Acoustic Music Awards.
Dina Kagan will apply her grant funds to research and develop a 25-30 minute documentary about the San Pedro River– the last free-flowing river in Southern Arizona and sanctuary to over 400 out of the 900 bird species found on the North American continent.
Dina Kagan was born and grew up in Moscow, Russia. She made her first film after an inspiring internship at Les Cahiers du Cinéma in Paris. Her award-winning film “Beila Was a Baba-Kazak…” was a regional finalist for Academy Awards. She has received support for her films from Women in Film, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, Brooklyn Arts Council, Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund and the Liberace Foundation. Her work, both fiction and documentary, is devoted to humanitarian issues. Since moving to Tucson in 2015, she has taught filmmaking to Pascua Yaqui teens with the help of the NYCF grant and has formed She Films, a collective of local women filmmakers. Her current work is focused on nature preservation.
With his grant, Jeff Kronenfeld will work toward the completion of a four-part graphic novel that uses anthropomorphic dogs to examine the dehumanizing effects of incarceration.
Jeff Kronenfeld received an English degree with a concentration in creative writing from Arizona State University in 2018. After graduating, He became a reporter for the Phoenix Jewish News, where he received a Simon Rockower Award for excellence in news reporting from the American Jewish Press Association. As a freelancer, his articles have been published by Discover Magazine, Vice, the Phoenix New Times, and many other outlets.
Kronenfeld’s short stories have been published in So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Ripples in Space, Iron City Magazine, the anthology “The Sharpened Quill” and by Four Chambers Press. In 2016, a film he co-wrote won Best Film at the Dinerwood Short Film Festival. In 2019, He was a semi-finalist for the Pen Writing for Justice Fellowship. That year also saw the publication of essays in The Wrangler and The Revolution (Relaunch).
Nazafarin Lotfi’s grant will be used in the development of a sound installation incorporating recordings the artist will make over the course of six months during weekly walks in the borderlands of Southern Arizona.
Nazafarin Lotfi received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her BA from the University of Tehran in 2007. Combining drawing, photography, and sculpture, Lotfi creates transitory spaces to explore the temporal and spatial experience of bodies out of place. She is the recipient of Phoenix Art Museum’s Contemporary Art Grant. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as Artpace, San Antonio, TX; Regards, Chicago, IL; Tucson Museum of Art, AZ; The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI; Phoenix Art Museum, AZ, and MOCA-Tucson, AZ; among others. In 2021, Lotfi attended the Artpace International Artist-in-Residence program and she was awarded an artist residency from Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture at the University of Chicago in 2015-16.
Sumana Sen Mandala
Dance artist Sumana Mandala apply her grant to the development of a 45-minute performance piece using Bharatanatyam, a dance form from South India.
Sumana Sen Mandala is a Bharata Nrityam artist and educator. She has performed, taught, and conducted workshops extensively in India, the US and Japan, while honing her focus, as a dancer, on civic engagement and awareness.
Working at the intersection of Bharata-Nrityam technique, somatic principles, and creative tools in engaged pedagogy, Sumana’s realized productions include “EMBRACE” (centering observation and response as the foundation of meaningful change), “Kriti” (bringing together different perspectives to make greater meaning), and “LVHD” (that while we should use our voice, we must also nurture our power to LISTEN). She developed the Collaborative Action Dance Project to make Indian dance accessible to anyone, while engaging participants in a process that integrates dance/movement with various subjects and individual lived experiences. In her current project, Sumana is exploring Bharata-Nrityam through the physicality of expressive dance (nritya) to influence choreographic and musical composition.
Sumana is Director of Dansense-Nrtyabodha, a non-profit community for Indian dance arts and collaborations in community.
Textile artist Ann Morton’s grant will support a nation-wide collaborative art project she calls “a creative call for national unity.” The project will ultimately deliver 535 textile squares, handcrafted by hundreds of makers across the country, to lawmakers in Washington, DC, as a protest against divisiveness.
Ann Morton’s work exploits traditional textile techniques as conceptual tools for aesthetic, social communication to examine a society of which we are all a part – as bystanders, participants, victims, and perpetrators.
After a 35+ year professional career as a graphic/environmental graphic designer, Morton earned her MFA in 2012 from Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute – School of Art. Currently, she is a practicing artist and an instructor at Mesa Community College, and previously at Arizona State University and Paradise Valley Community College. Her work has been recognized, published, and shown nationally and internationally. She is currently represented by Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix, AZ.
Jisun Myung, who identifies herself as a “food performance artist,” will use her grant in the development of a multi-sensory installation and performance piece centering voices of women of the Korean diaspora and their stories about reproduction and childbirth.
Jisun Myung is a food performance artist who leads community-based food projects with 2 cups of love and a sprinkle of humor. She believes feeding people with good food – whether literally or metaphorically – is an act of love. Her main goal is to encourage people to be creative and curious about themselves and about others through food.
She worked with the National Theatre for Korea and National Traditional Opera Company of Korea as a part of the directing team. In the US, she has worked as music director/performer for multiple productions, and provides accompaniment for dance classes at Arizona State University. She has also worked as a drama specialist/teaching artist with Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona and Childsplay.
Jisun is a co-founder of TAÏS (Theater Artists for Inclusive Stories – spontaneous theater group), 2021 Studio/LAB Artist in Residence at NueBOX. Recently, she has been accepted to a master course at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Italy and will be working on her new piece called ‘home (working title)’ in 2022.
She holds a BA in French from Ewha Womans University and MFA in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University.
Tanya Núñez’s grant will assist the artist in research that will a documentary series analyzing life inside the US-Mexico borderlands through the perspective of people who were grew up and/or are currently living or working near the border.
Tanya Núñez (she/her) is a filmmaker, multimedia artist, and cultural worker residing in Tucson, Arizona.
She was born in the rural border town of Douglas, Arizona, to Mexican migrants and was raised between Douglas and the neighboring Mexican border-town of Agua Prieta, Sonora. The border has played an omnipresent role in her life, heavily influencing her identity, her art, politics, and how she sees the world and her purpose within it.
She’s dedicated the last four years to creating art and media content that uplifts the voices of marginalized communities and raises awareness around social issues. During her time in college, she wrote, produced, and directed a short fiction film about the obstacles faced by an undocumented single mother that won best director at I Dream in Widescreen and was selected for national distribution. She has also organized around issues of gentrification, housing rights, immigration, labor, and war, and has created educational videos to inform and raise awareness around these issues.
Yun Gee Park
Yun Gee Park is a jewelry designer working in contemporary wearable sculpture. Her grant will support the prototyping of a jewelry line that includes fully integrated NFC (touch payment) capabilities.
Yun Gee Park was trained primarily as a painter, but is presently most active in jewelry, exhibition, and interior design. She is noted for her skills in curation and exhibit display, creating installations that draw upon elements of Asian and Western aesthetics while considering the artistic visions and philosophies of the gallery’s artists and collection.
Yun’s jewelry explores and expands on traditional gemstone and pearl design in a thoughtful, playful, and elegant manner. She re-examines the materials and cultural connotations of conventional designs, like the classic opera length pearl necklace, by introducing and integrating new and unexpected materials and elements with superior colored gems and pearls
Yun has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master’s degree from Purdue University. She has studied, exhibited, lived, and traveled throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.
Sculptor and Installation artist Katie Parker is one half of the artist collective Future Retrieval. Alongside creative partner Guy Michael Davis, Parker will use this grant to work with a metal worker, powder coater, and woodworker on the creation of custom stands, frames, and furniture for their installation work.
Since 2008 Guy Michael Davis and Katie Parker have been collaborating together under the name Future Retrieval, mining archives and museums to digitally collect and make objects that re-examine the history of decorative arts. They have exhibited both nationally and internationally, and are represented by Denny Dimin Gallery in New York City.
Working in close collaboration with the Cincinnati Art Museum, in 2021 Future Retrieval built a two-gallery solo exhibition in response to and utilizing objects from the museum’s Decorative Arts and Design collection. They have been artists in residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE, The International Studio in Jingdezhen China, Dresdner Porzellan in Freital Germany, and Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows at the National Museum of Natural History and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. Davis and Parker were recently Resident Artists and Grantholders at Iaspis in Stockholm Sweden, and Research Fellows at the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati OH. Their work is held in the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum, 21C Museum/Hotel in Durham, NC, and the Arizona State University Ceramics Research Center in Tempe, AZ. They both received their BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from The Ohio State University.
Anne Pollack – Mestra Luar do Sertão
Anne Pollack received funds to support travel, research, and study with capoeira masters in Salvador, Bahia Brazil, with the intent to learn from women on the leading edge of Afro-Brazilian music and Delve more deeply into history, traditions, and rituals of capoeira music.
Mestra Luar do Sertão (Anne Pollack) is founder of Capoeira Mandinga Tucson and Director of the nonprofit Capoeira Institute Southwest. She began training capoeira in 1986 in San Francisco with Mestre Marcelo Pereira, 3rd capoeira master in the US, while earning her doctorate in Anatomy at UCSF. She is ACE-certified as both a Youth Fitness Specialist and a Medical Exercise Specialist, with knowledge to help youth-through-adults safely reach their physical potential. Anne traveled throughout Brazil to gain experience in capoeira movements, history, music, and culture. She has been teaching Afro-Brazilian capoeira, music, and dance for over 25 years in Tucson and around the globe. She was awarded a 2019 Master-Apprentice Award by the Southwest Folklife Alliance and is currently the only capoeira master in Arizona.
With his grant, Jordan Putt will perform research, conduct interviews, and make photographs for a multimedia documentary portrait that follows Manuel, or “Padrino,” one of America’s most famous practitioners of the religion of Santeria.
Jordan Putt is a photographer based in Tucson, Arizona, whose work responds to issues of place, identity, and community. He earned a BA in Psychology from Northern Arizona University in 2014, and an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2020. His work has been exhibited in the Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson; Filter Space, Chicago; House of Lucie, Los Angeles; and Hyde Park Arts Center, Chicago; among others. He was a 2020 recipient of Columbia College Chicago’s Albert P. Weisman Award and a 2020 finalist for Duke University’s Dorothea Lange – Paul Taylor Award.
Yanely Rivas’s grant will support the creation of a multi-layered series of watercolor paintings based on four important mountains in the West Sonoran Desert.
Yanely is a working-class Xicana printmaker, visual artist, and novice comic creator with ancestral roots amongst the mountains of so-called Michoacán, Mexico – lands traditionally stewarded by the Purépecha.
She has been involved in social justice movements for over a decade. Her work has been featured in El Tecolote Newspaper, where she won 1st place in the San Francisco Press Club’s Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards for “Editorial Cartoon” in 2020. She was awarded the “PandemiDiarios on the Border” Microgrant from the University of Arizona Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry in 2021. She is currently dabbling in the world of comics, but will always call the mediums of watercolor and printmaking home.
Chezale Rodriguez’s grant will aid in the production of the performer’s next full-length studio album at Engle Studios in Tucson.
Chezale Rodriguez is a Multidisciplinary teaching and performing artist, spending most of her time in Tucson, Arizona. She has spent a significant amount of time serving as a choreographer and performer to the Arizona community; a dance educator for high school youth and the U of A’s pioneering Hip Hop Minor via Africana Studies and the College of Humanities. Along with her passions as a singer/songwriter/emcee, Rodriguez has released two full-length studio albums; ‘My Story…The Making of a Maverick’ (2007) and ‘MAVMUZIK’ (2014), with several solo and collaborative projects in between, both locally and internationally.
More recently, collaborating with producers in New Mexico, South Carolina, and indie emcees from the bricks of New Jersey to across the pond in Bristol, UK. Her foundational musical styles are Hip Hop/Soul and R&B. Rodriguez’s latest musical works have been featured by KXCI Tucson Community Radio and in collaboration with the Arts Foundation’s ‘Artistories’, Arizona Arts Live, BLAX Friday, Black Renaissance, YabYum Music + Arts, Tucson Sentinel, Tucson Hip Hop Festival & more.
Grace Rolland-Redwood will use her grant funds to compose and record a new body of work comprising 25-30 songs.
Based in Mesa, AZ, Grace Rolland-Redwood has a long musical history. Her grandfather was an illustrious pedagogue of classical string playing and she was raised in a family of musicians and music educators. She trained classically on the cello, learned piano and guitar, and sang Patsy Montana in her family’s cowboy fiddle band.
In 2010 Grace joined the folk-Americana band Run Boy Run as cellist and vocalist. The band won the coveted Telluride Bluegrass Band contest (2011), appeared on A Prairie Home Companion twice (2012), released four studio records, and toured heavily across the United States in the short span of five years.
As RISING SUN DAUGHTER, Grace released her debut EP, ‘I See Jane’ (2019), in collaboration with artists from Tucson and Phoenix, and produced a music video with Limitrophe Films. ‘I See Jane’ was listed as one of the ’20 Best Folk Albums of 2019’ by PopMatters.
(She/Her/Hers), Oro Valley
Samantha Schwann will apply her grant funds to an underwater photography project at the intersection of art, science, and conservation. The project will use sound and underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV) technology to explore the deep-water habitat at the entranceway into the Gulf of California in Baja, Mexico as a hotspot for declining and endangered shark species.
Samantha Schwann is an underwater photographic artist whose work concentrates on ecologically unique areas of the ocean. She began diving in 1994, accumulating several thousand dives since in a variety of underwater environments ranging from beneath ice to tropical lagoons, and depths to 100m / 330ft. Schwann’s artistic background was in sculpture (stone, metal) prior to an introduction to photography in 2010, where she began with landscapes and abstracts. Her work is dedicated to ocean conservation since the acquisition of an underwater camera housing in 2015.
In addition to the Research and Development Grant, “Threshold” was awarded fiscal sponsorship in 2021 by Blue Earth Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which supports documentary photographic and video projects highlighting critical social and environmental topics around the world.
Percussionist and spoken word artist Elizabeth Soflin’s grant will help her take her practice to the next level, funding professional development opportunities and the acquisition of video production equipment.
Dr. Elizabeth Soflin is an avid performer of contemporary solo and chamber works for percussion and often collaborates with composers through premieres and commissions. Her work primarily focuses on interdisciplinary musical works for spoken text and percussion and on collaborative projects created alongside other performers or composers. She is half of the Weiss/Soflin Duo, a collaboration that has resulted in the creation and premieres of works for saxophone and percussion duo, including works by Stuart Saunders Smith and Matthew Burtner. She currently serves the percussion community as a member of the Percussive Arts Society’s New Music + Research Committee, as well as holding the office of Vice President for the Arizona chapter. Recent performances include appearances at the Tucson Fringe Festival, Transplanted Roots Percussion Research Symposium at the University of Guanajuato, and the Black House New Music Workshop.
Elizabeth is also an active educator, serving as assistant band director/percussion specialist at Pusch Ridge Christian Academy and as a percussion teacher for the Tucson Youth Music Center. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona and holds music performance degrees from the University of Tennessee and Central Michigan University. Elizabeth Soflin is a proud artist endorser of Black Swamp Percussion and Mike Balter Mallets.
Lisa Minerva Tolentino
With her grant, conceptual artist Lisa Minerva Tolentino will develop stochastic computer software code to generate dynamically shifting movement patterns for LED light arrays.
Lisa Tolentino is a conceptual artist and interaction designer focused on serving vulnerable and underrepresented communities. Drawing on her background in computer science, avant-garde music, transdisciplinary and participatory action research, user experience and interface design, and disability studies, her work experiments with process and product. Recent work includes designing and implementing the technological infrastructure, aesthetics, and adoption of an augmented reality learning environment (SMALLab) by youth in special education; combining motion-capture systems with voice sensing to inspire live interaction between people and animations (“Animal Companion” exhibit at the Heard Museum); and coding and performing live animated projections for concert music and dance.
Tolentino co-directs urbanSTEW, a Phoenix-based arts-technology non-profit, and the Video Game Production program at Paradise Valley Community College.
Tolentino has a BS in Computer Science (‘03) from University of California, San Diego, where she studied percussion performance (MA in Contemporary Music, ‘06) with renowned musician Steven Schick. Her PhD is in Media Arts and Sciences (‘13, Arizona State University.
Alisha Vasquez will apply her grant to the development of a mural project in collaboration with Las Artes Youth Program in South Tucson. The project will use tiles of “antepasados” (ancestors) to bring together the multiple communities who have lived and thrived in Tucson for generations.
Alisha Vasquez describes herself as “a 37 year-old krip Chicana mama of a 3 year-old from the unceded homelands of Tohono O’odham and Yoeme peoples.” In her work she honors her Mexican American-Tucsonense family, punk rock, living disabled, her acceptance and rejection of the academy, and existing within community as “the epochs of my education until becoming a parent.”
She currently works at the Southwest Folklife Alliance and is following through on passion projects that use her training as an historian, community organizer, and educator to “capture what it means to exist in so-called Tucson.”