Arizona Commission on the Arts Grants Fund 13 Innovative Projects

Animal Land, by Lauren Strohacker and Kendra Sollars, at Legend City Studios.
Animal Land, by Lauren Strohacker and Kendra Sollars, at Legend City Studios.
Courtesy of Lauren Strohacker

Poetry. Circus Performance. Improvisation. Sewing. Video projections. They're all part of innovative projects moving forward thanks to funding from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which announced late last month the names of 13 artists receiving 2015 Artist Research and Development Grants.

Ninety-five artists applied for the grants, which provide up to $5,000 in funding to each recipient for research and development leading to the creation of new works of art. The awards went to four visual artists, three performance artists, three multidisciplinary artists, two literary artists, and one digital media artist. Four hail from Tucson, and eight from the metropolitan Phoenix area.

See also: Your Guide to IN FLUX Cycle 5 Public Art in Metro Phoenix

We've got the rundown on how each artist plans to utilize the funds.

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Visual artists

David Emitt Adams of Phoenix will use a photographic process called wet-plate collodion, developed in the 1850s, to make tintype photographs of power plants and oil refineries on 55-gallon drum lids.

Alexandra Jimenez of Tucson will use letters found in distinctive south Tucson signage to create a "geographic alphabet book" and companion screen prints.

Paul Nosa of Mesa will take his portable sewing machine powered by a solar panel and a bicycle that generates electricity on a statewide tour to create patches in public spaces based on scenarios people describe for him in five or fewer words.

Lauren Strohacker of Scottsdale will collaborate with artist Kendra Sollars to expand the scope of their ongoing Animal Lands project that infuses urban spaces with large-scale video projections depicting wild animals.

Part of David Emitt Adams' Conversations with History.
Part of David Emitt Adams' Conversations with History.
Courtesy of David Emitt Adams

Multidisciplinary artists

Geneva Foster Gluck of Phoenix will deconstruct the genre and traditional narrative of the Western through interdisciplinary performance incorporating circus, trained physical performance, and multi-media elements.

Forrest Solis of Phoenix will complete a series of paintings and document women telling their stories of labor and delivery through installation, audio documenting and archiving.

Steve Yazzie of Phoenix will blend two projects, one focused on regional tours with indigenous participants and the other focused on a hiking expedition exploring his own personal and cultural history, to create three-channel video projections for a mixed-media installation.


Paul Nosa takes his portable sewing machine on the road.
Paul Nosa takes his portable sewing machine on the road.
Courtesy of Arizona Commission on the Arts

Performance artists

Susan Bendix of Tempe will develop a movement-based curriculum for people experiencing grief or loss by integrating techniques used in choreography, improvisation, and ritual.

Karen Falkenstrom of Tucson will research and study musical folk traditions of Japan, and begin the creation of a new collaborative work to be presented in concert next year.

Leah Roman of Gilbert and dance partner Rae Rae will develop a model and platform for bridging dance scenes, the public, musicians, and young people by interviewing, observing, and collaborating with representatives of the choreography and freestyle dance scene.

Literary and digital media artists

Wendy Burk of Tucson will use poetry to investigate various places, employing an unusual site-based technique to compose and perform poems in the field -- then make the lines of these poems available to others wishing to reuse or adapt them.

Jia Oak Baker of Peoria will write a book-length collection of poetry titled Radius that tells the story of three generations of immigrant women.

Jonathan VanBallenberghe of Tucson will develop new techniques for filming live performance, cultural events, and natural phenomena throughout Arizona with a six-camera, 360-degree fulldome rig.

The 2015 Artist Research and Development Grant review panel was chaired by Victoria Boyce, a Governor-appointed Commissioner of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, longtime Scottsdale gallery owner, and past president of the Scottsdale Gallery Association. Additional panel members included Kimi Eisele, Todd Ingalls, Gabriela Muñoz, Chandra Narcia, Sandra Quintanilla, and Mary Stephens.

The Arizona Commission on the Arts recently announced its guidelines for grants to organizations and schools. Find more information on the Arizona Commission on the Arts website.

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