This grant supported the burgeoning arts career by a recent Stanford graduates with up to $5,000 toward a public production, exhibit, or other original work in any creative arts discipline. This grant was offered from 2015-2019 and was administered by the Office of the Vice President for the Arts.
The Stanford Alumni Arts Grant was made possible by generous gifts from individuals and the Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson Fund.
Joel Chapman, Weston Gaylord, Matt Herrero, Jessia Hoffman, and Ken Savage
Staged Concert Reading of Gravity - A New(tonian) Musical
Gravity - A New(tonian) Musical is a fantastical, historical comedy created by five Stanford alums. When physicist Sophie accidentally time-travels to the year 1666, she encounters Isaac Newton on the brink of discovering gravity—but inadvertently prevents Isaac’s famous falling-apple epiphany, setting history dangerously off course. To return home, Sophie must navigate the world of 1666, where Natural Philosophers are the musical celebrities of their day, emerging Enlightenment thinkers have one shot to fast-track themselves to fame, and women fight to leave their mark on history.
Gravity was initially supported by a generous grant from Stanford Arts after the writers won the inaugural Stanford 72-Hour Musical Project in January 2015. The musical presented its first staged readings in October 2015 and March 2016 at Z Space’s Z Below. The writers were invited to perform "Gravity Showdown" at Stanford+Connects in May 2016, and in August 2016, Gravity joined the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley New Works Festival as the inaugural Next Generation Musical. Gravity was honored as a finalist for the O’Neill National Musical Theatre Conference in 2017. Two songs from the show were featured at A Little New Music in Los Angeles in August 2017. Gravity - A New(tonian) Musical will be presented as a concert staged reading on March 17-18, 2019 co-produced by SFBATCO at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.
Two Ladies of Vermont
Two Ladies of Vermont is a new script in development that remixes and modernizes the classic Shakespeare comedy Two Gentlemen of Verona. That early comedy contained many of the dramatic building blocks that would become Romeo and Juliet, but the play’s gender dynamics poison the text to the contemporary audience. Two Ladies takes the successful elements of Shakespeare’s framework and replaces the failures with a compassionate queer and trans take on the competition for love.
This project allows for a weeklong intensive rehearsal process with professional actors. Workshopping and tweaking will occur throughout the week as Leanna works with the talented artists at the Tennessee Shakespeare Company. This culminates in an April 2019 public reading that will be held through her playwriting residency at Crosstown Arts in Memphis, Tennessee.
M the Myth
Him to Them
Him to Them is an intergalactic space opera focused on the story of my gender identity transition. Integrating film, fashion, dance, and theater into a thirteen song set, “Him to Them” explores my genderqueer experience. Set in an alien galaxy, the show bends gender norms through visuals, movement, and sound. I “queer” the stage using androgynous neon-colored costumes, mixed-genre choreography, abstract film, oral storytelling, and queerpop music. As our current government tries to set non-negotiable legal definitions of gender and sexuality, this show fights for the freedom of queer and trans existence. I have performed the show at multiple venues/festivals in New York as a work-in-progress, drawing together the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies.
i only know Plenty/F U R U S A T O
i only know Plenty/F U R U S A T O is a hybrid and magical realistic documentary short about the renewal of vows between the artist and her maternal ancestral land. Tsukiko returns to Fukushima seven years after the nuclear explosion cast radiation through the region’s soil and water, to find that the land and her ancestors have been patiently awaiting her return. What ensues is a dynamic conversation that transcends the limitations of linear time, geographic place, and spoken language. As Tsukiko comes to recognize her belonging to a web of living relationships, she begins to tend to the wounds of separation within and around her through collaborative ritual, play, and creation.
The Lavender Files
The Lavender Files is a radio drama/fiction podcast about black queer romance, mystery, and resistance in a film-noir speculative future. Lavender Black sells anti-surveillance gear under the table in the Independent California, but when their investigation of a disappeared customer leads them to femme (fatale?) Veronica and her missing ex, converging cases reveal Independent California isn’t the safe-haven we were promised. Shrouded organizations vie for power under the cover of fog, and too many questions lead to trouble. After all, have you ever met a Veronica who is good news?
Jace Alexander Casey (BA Film & Media Studies), Dead Mall
In this short film, a gay couple spends their day in a virtually abandoned mall. Through their encounters with each other and other shoppers, we learn they are at different stages battling their own homophobia.
Sam Ellison (MFA Documentary Film), Cheche Lavi (Looking for Life)
A month before the presidential election of 2016, thousands of desperate Haitian refugees appear at the US-Mexico border in Tijuana. Among them are Robens and James, traveling companions whose American dream unravels as a new border wall takes shape on the horizon. CHECHE LAVI is a documentary film about friendship and abandonment in the eye of a geopolitical storm, stretching from the jungles of Brazil through a labyrinth of ICE detention facilities in the United States to a sleepy town on Haiti’s central coast.
Jessica Lá Rel (BAH African & African American Studies), 28 Hours
Jessica Lá Rel will be collaborating with platinum selling, UK based producer, Troy Miller on her single from her upcoming album entitled War Love. Drawing upon themes of police brutality, state sanctioned violence against Black life, and the tense state of race relations, Jessica and Troy will be weaving together a timely single and performing it in conjunction with Every 28 Hours plays festivals.
Carly Lave (BA American Studies, Minor in Dance, Honors in the Arts), Artificial Intelligence and the Dancing Body
A.I. is a performance project that explores the interplay between the human body and Artificial Intelligence systems.
Ouree Lee (BA Film & Media Studies, Honors in the Arts), state of being
state of being is an experimental documentary that reflects upon my upbringing in Kentucky as a Korean-American woman.
Elijah Ndoumbé (BA African & African American Studies, BA Feminist Gender and Sexuality Studies), Reimagining the Archive – an Assertion
Reimagining the Archive – an Assertion (2018) is a multi-disciplinary visual project grappling with Black and Queer intimacy, trauma, and memory, within the scope of Ndoumbé’s current geo-political location and community – Cape Town, South Africa. This exhibition is but a part of a much larger tapestry that will continue to be woven as Ndoumbe’s larger project of Black and Queer Diasporic archiving through the lens continues.
Laura Petree (BA Comparative Literature, Honors in the Arts), In Search of America's White Whale
In Search of America’s White Whale reworks, subverts, and stitches together foundational stories from the American consciousness, creating a piece which foregrounds Laura's identity and whiteness. Beginning with the source texts of Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, Annie, The Wizard of Oz, and select movies from the Disney canon, the performance seeks to place whiteness at its center, other it, investigate it, and hack at its root system to create a new American foundational myth which calls the original myths into question.
Katie Brigham (BA International Relations, MA Journalism), Information Station
Information Station is a documentary short exploring the cozy, authentic culture and community of the remote Carson Pass Information Center. Located in the Sierra Nevada along the famous 2,650 mile long Pacific Crest Trail, the station is collectively owned by a team of close-knit volunteers who provide a refuge for PCT hikers to relax and reflect on their journeys.
Talon Clayton (BA Human Biology), Reflections / Reflections in BlaQ
Reflections / Reflections in BlaQ is a multimedia project that uses performance and oral history to explore the lives of Black and Queer people at Stanford and beyond.
Einat Imber (MFA Art Practice), Sea to Sea
In July 2016, I set sail across the country with a giant folded-boat. During the month long trip, the sculpture in tow served as an instant conversation starter with local residents along the route. Sea to Sea is an art exhibition presenting my encounters with a cross-section of American landscapes, people, histories and realities.
Gio Jacuzzi (BA Music, Minor in Computer Science), Spaces in Between
Spaces In Between is Gio's debut studio album as an independent musician and recording engineer. An original production inspired by coming of age as a part of the social media and streaming revolution, the album questions the role new technologies play in music and 21st century America, the development and relationships of modern youth, and the search for adult identity. With elements of rock, soul, folk, and jazz, the record explores common ties between different genres and eras of music, with instrumentation ranging from acoustic banjo to electronic instruments of Gio's own invention.
Luke Lorentzen (BA Film and Media Studies, Honors in the Arts), Midnight Family
In Mexico City’s cutthroat for-profit ambulance industry, the Ochoa family competes with other unlicensed EMTs for patients in need of urgent care. Midnight Family is a feature documentary that explores this family's everyday life and the challenges of running a for-profit ambulance service.
Midnight Family was selected as part of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary Competition, as well as receiving funding and support through the Sundance Institute. Learn more.
Maia Paroginog (BAH Art Practice), Sudden Glare of the Sun
This project documents my process based practice in the form of sketchbooks, paintings, and photographs. The questions driving my work include: "what does healing look like?" and "how are the personal and the political intertwined?". Through a combination of sketchbook entries and alternative photographic processes, I hope to delve further into these questions, my personal archive, and Filipino American history.
Xandra Clark (BAH Theater & Performance Studies, MA Journalism), Anthology: Crown Heights
Anthology: Crown Heights is an interdisciplinary performance project that explores the stories of Crown Heights, Brooklyn residents 25 years after the 1991 riots. Through recorded oral histories and new devised performance work made in collaboration with fellow local musicians, dancers, poets, and other artists, the piece confronts new tensions arising in the neighborhood due to gentrification along with old tensions related to racial, religious, and socioeconomic differences. The show is being produced in partnership with DIVAS for Social Justice and Weeksville Heritage Center, where it will be presented in 2016.
Kimi Lee (BA Film and Media Studies, Minor Creative Writing), SUGAR
Derived from the 2015 BlueCat winning feature length screenplay, SUGAR offers a provocative glimpse into the concealed underworld of “Sugar Baby” relationships. Devoid of emotional intimacy, how do two strangersdiverging vastly in both age and life experiencego about fabricating a makeshift romance? SUGAR depicts the first night of a young woman's depraved summer as a “girlfriend-for-hire”.
Dan Rorke (BA Music, BS Biomedical Engineering), The Dynamic Album Project
The Dynamic Album Project hopes to capture the creative process and spontaneity of the current Baltimore jazz scene by developing a new form of album where the music changes over time. It will encourage listeners to appreciate a diversity of interpretations, rather than a single authoritative recording.
Samantha Toh (BA International Relations, MA East Asian Studies), Guerilla Fiction
Guerrilla Fiction appears where you do not expect to find stories: wedged in your book, clipped to your bar tab, or served with your coffee. Centering on the theme of migration and diaspora, these micro stories are printed on postcards, which can then be sent, "traveling" from person to person.
Eric Tran (BA Music), Debut Recording and Launch Concert of New Chamber and Solo Music
Eric Tran's debut album will feature all new original solo and chamber music, performed by top-notch SF Bay Area musicians, such as the Friction Quartet. A launch concert is planned for November 2016.
Gideon Weiler (BS Symbolic Systems) and Jake Winkelman (BA Urban Studies), These Are The Days
Gideon Weiler and Jake Winkelman are creating a narrative, multimedia, live experience centered around the concepts and themes of the music on Jake Winkelman's (Mays) debut album: "These Are The Days." The project will musically, visually, and narratively explore themes of race, technology, activism, and gender in an honest tone and imaginative form. Some central preoccupations will be whiteness, masculinity, the psychology of privilege and ally-ship. This will be the second installation piece for emerging artists Gideon Weiler and Jake Winkelman who last collaborated on "Valley of Silicon" which debuted at the Cantor Arts Center last spring.
Katherine Hawthorne (BS Physics, Minor in Dance), Mainframe
Mainframe is a dance asking how computers have changed the way we see our bodies. Mainframe was performed at ODC in San Francisco on Dec. 3-6, 2015.
Helen Hood Scheer (MFA Documentary Film), Painted Desert
Painted Desert (working title) is a documentary short about an African American physician in Navajo Nation who collaborates with the local indigenous community and renowned artists to create arresting public artworks that are installed across the reservation.t
Adam Katseff (MFA Art Practice), Rivers and Falls
This body of work and accompanying exhibition are based on night landscapes, representing the abstract forms of rivers and waterfalls. Rivers and Falls opened at the Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York on April 8, 2015.
Emma Webster (BA Studio Art), How Much Searching Is Not Enough Finding
The series of 5-by-6-foot paintings freely combine abstracted landscapes, historic portraiture and youthful, explorative mark-making. This exhibition opened Aug. 7, 2015, at Classic Cars West Gallery, Oakland, Calif.
Yoo Hsiu Yeh (BS/MS Electrical Engineering), with Cecilia Wu and Romain Michon, Navigating the Cycles
Inspired by the traditional Tibetan prayer wheel and Tibetan singing bowl, Navigating the Cycles presents the Tibetan Singing Prayer Wheel, a combination of a novel physical motion-sensing controller and digital audio signal processing software that processes the real-time voice of the operator based on his or her body motion, as part of an interactive art installation.
Yeh was introduced to the world of sound art through the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford in 2012, and since then has built several interactive sound art pieces, striving to cultivate calmness, delight and curiosity in those who encounter them. These pieces have been shown at various art exhibitions within Stanford and at the Bay Area Maker Faire.