For Immediate Release
Contact: Casey Blake


PHOENIX, AZ (December 18, 2012) – In December 2012, the Governor-appointed board of the Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded the Artist Research and Development Grants to artists from across Arizona, practicing in a variety of artistic disciplines. These grants catalyze the careers of emerging and established Arizona artists with awards of up to $5,500.

The Arts Commission remains committed to maintaining investment in artists through grants, as it has for 22 years. In addition to the Artist Research and Development Grant, the Arts Commission also made one Distinguished Merit Award, which offers additional funding in the amount of up to $2,500 to one recipient. Of the applications received during this cycle, 10% of applicants received funding.

The 2013 recipients are: K.L. Cook (Literary Arts), Kevin Frei (Performing Arts), Chris Jácome (Performing Arts), Tarrah Krajnak (Visual Arts), Katherine Larson (Literary Arts), Tom Miller (Literary Arts), and Barry Moon (Multidisciplinary Arts).

For the first time in decades, applications to this program were reviewed by a slate of Arizona panelists. 2013 Artist Research and Development Grant review panelists included Simmons B. Buntin, Editor-in-Chief,, A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments, Tucson, AZ; Mary Neubauer, Professor and Area Head in Sculpture at Arizona State University, School of Art, Herberger College of Design and the Arts, Tempe, AZ; Alfred J. Quiroz , Professor of Painting and Drawing at The University of Arizona, School of Art, Tucson, AZ; and Cathy Weiss, Executive Director of the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg, AZ. Mark Feldman and Ruben Alvarez, Governor-appointed Commissioners of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, chaired the panel.

This grant program, an iteration of the former Artist Project Grant program, capitalizes on the excellence of Arizona artists and has been known to springboard recipients into the next level of their careers, in their business of researching, developing, marketing and delivering their creative product.

Artist Project Grant Distinguished Merit Award

Katherine Larson, (Tucson) — Shadow Species. Larson will complete a book-length collection of lyric poems that explore the intersection of science, environment, perception and identity. Larson has a ten-year background in molecular biology and field ecology, and her first collection of poems was recognized with the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize, The Levis Reading Prize and Foreword’s Book of the Year Gold Medal Prize in Poetry.

Artist Research and Development Grant Descriptions

K.L. Cook, (Prescott) — Bonnie and Clyde in the Backyard. The writer will complete a novel depicting a surprise visit from Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow which transforms the future of a Southwestern family. Cook is a professor of creative writing and literature at Prescott College, a member of the graduate faculty for the MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and has been a distinguished writer-in-residence and visiting professor at other colleges, universities, and literary centers around the United States.

Kevin Frei, (Glendale) — Le Cour de Miracles. Frei will create a score and demo for an original musical based on Parisian folk tales and history. Frei is a graduate of Arizona State University with Bachelors of Arts in Literature and History. Through his company Go Musicals he develops and licenses shows for schools and theatres, and his musical, Head! has been performed by theatre companies in Hollywood, Phoenix and Tucson.

Chris Jácome, (Mesa) — ¡FlaMÉXico! Jácome, a composer and performing artist, will work within the two cultures of Spain’s Flamenco music and dance and Mexico’s Mariachi to create a new genre where the two merge. Jácome is the artistic director of the Chris Burton Jácome Flamenco Ensemble, is a two-time Grand Prize winner in the John Lennon songwriting contest, and his music is featured on popular television shows as well as in an Emmy Award winning PBS television special.

Tarrah Krajnak, (Peoria) — LIMA DREAM THEATER. The artist will conduct field research in her birth city of Lima, Peru, and work with students from Centro de la Imagen and Corriente Alterna to create a new body of photographic work exploring the role of dream imagery in Peruvian culture and identity. Krajnak has taught photography at the University of Notre Dame, Cornell University and the University of Vermont, and her work has appeared in Nueva Luz Photographic Journal and F-Stop Magazine.

Tom Miller, (Tucson) — Don Quixote’s Trail. The writer will conduct field research to trace the places mentioned in the nearly 400-year-old book, Don Quixote of La Mancha, to complete a non-fiction travel narrative. Miller has authored several books and has written articles, essays and book reviews for Smithsonian, Rolling Stone, Esquire, the New York Times and Washington Post, among other publications.

Barry Moon, (Glendale) — Thermal Image. Moon, along with collaborator and sculpture/digital media artist Hilary Harp, will create an interactive, non-screen-based data visualization to interpret social media data based on the Gross National Happiness index. The sound/video artist composes with interactive electronics, and his work has been presented at the 2012 Havana Biennial, the International Computer Music Conference, and the Interactive Fiction Demo Fair.

Bill Desmond Writing Award

The Arts Commission is also pleased to announce that Margaret Giles (Scottsdale) will receive the Bill Desmond Writing Award for her demonstrated excellence in nonfiction writing, in the amount of $500. This award was established by Kathleen Desmond to honor her late husband, Bill Desmond, a reporter, editor and nonfiction writer. Giles’s project, Water is Thicker than Blood, is a memoir about assembling a family. Giles hold an MFA from Columbia University and is a published short-story writer.

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts
One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is an agency of the State of Arizona that supports a statewide arts network. The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports access to quality arts and arts education opportunities for all Arizonans; the development and retention of statewide jobs in the nonprofit arts, culture and education sectors; and increased economic impact in local communities through arts-based partnerships that develop tax and small business revenue.

We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

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To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact the Arts Commission offices at (602) 771-6502, or

Images available upon request.