Stanford Alumni Arts Grant

Applications are sought for Stanford alumni arts projects


To support a burgeoning arts career by a recent Stanford graduate, this award will provide up to $5,000 toward a public production, exhibit, or other original work in any creative arts discipline to occur during the upcoming year.

This grant is administered by the Office of the Vice President for the Arts.

The Stanford Alumni Arts Grant is made possible by generous gifts from individuals and the Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson Fund.


  • September 25, 2018: Application opens
  • October 30, 2018 by 11:59pm (Pacific): Application deadline
  • December 2018: Semi-finalists notified
  • late January 2019: Finalists notified


Who can apply?

Grants are open to Stanford University alumni from any undergraduate or coterm program who graduated between 2014-2018.

  • Co-term students must have completed their program prior to the application deadline.
  • MFA, PhD, and terminal master's alumni are not eligible.
  • Recipient should not be a current full-time student at Stanford University or another institution; part-time students are eligible as long as they are not enrolled at Stanford University.

What types of projects are eligible?

Projects will be considered in the following categories:

  • Visual Art Exhibition (includes Photography)
  • Film or Digital Media Production (includes Screenwriting)
  • Performance (Dance, Theater, Playwriting, and Interdisciplinary)
  • Music and Sound

Projects involving recorded media (such as an album, film, or podcast) must also incorporate a live component (such as a concert or film screening) as part of the project plan.

The public performance, exhibit, or screening should take place during calendar year 2019. Exact dates do not have to be determined at the time of application, but a plan for exhibition should be clarified as soon as possible. Events do not need to take place on the main Stanford campus.

How to Apply

Application materials include:

  1. Name and Stanford Graduation Details
    • Main applicant must be a Stanford alum who meets the eligibility criteria.
  2. Artist’s Bio (150-200 words)
  3. Artist Resume

    • If there are multiple partners, please include a single file with a resume for each key project team member.
  4. Project Title and Genre/Category
  5. Project Abstract (100 words)
  6. Project Proposal (~750 words)
  7. Project Timeline
    • The majority of the activities relating to your proposed project must take place during 2019.
  8. Project Budget
    • Use provided Budget Form. If additional budget documentation is available, please upload that documentation with the Budget Form as a single file.
  9. Up to three pieces of media that demonstrate your skill and accomplishments in your genre or media. Submit materials that were completed within the past five years (preferably post-Stanford graduation).

Funding and Expectations

This award is intended to enhance the existing plans for a public art project. Applicants may receive partial or full awards.

Proposals should make clear how the grant funds ($1,000-$5,000) will add value or opportunity that would not otherwise be possible.

  • The award can be used toward facility or installation costs, technical production costs, printing and publication expenses, marketing expenses, etc.
  • For works already receiving fiscal or production support from another organization, the Stanford Alumni Arts Grant can be used toward costs not covered by the sponsor.
  • This award is not intended to support salaries or living expenses for the recipient, although it can be used to support technical specialist expenses as needed.

The grant recipient is responsible for providing the Office of the Vice President for the Arts with appropriate documentation of the completed project and will provide up to four tickets to the premiere event available to Stanford-related attendees as requested. The grant recipient may be asked to provide financial documentation at the conclusion of the grant.

Awards payments are subject to U.S. and state income tax laws, and that the payment of the award may be tax reportable. Grant recipients are responsible for reporting award payments to the proper taxing authorities, as well as liable for any tax payments that may be due. 

Application Resources


Sabrina Wilensky
Manager of Grants and Programs
Office of the Vice President for the Arts

Alumni Arts Grant Recipients

2018 Grantees

Photo: Beverli Alford Photography
Photo: Beverli Alford Photography

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.

Photo: Sam Ellison
Photo: Sam Ellison

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.

Photo: Kola Shoba
Photo: Kola Shoba

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.

Photo: Garrett Schlesinger
Photo: Garrett Schlesinger

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.

Photo: Ouree Lee
Photo: Ouree Lee

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.

Photo: Thandie Gula-Ndebele
Photo: Thandie Gula-Ndebele

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.

Photo: Summer Thompson
Photo: Summer Thompson

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.

2017 Grantees


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.

Photo: Talon Clayton
Photo: Talon Clayton

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.

Photo: Erin Diebboll
Photo: Erin Diebboll

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.

Photo: Rahim Ullah
Photo: Rahim Ullah

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.

Photo: Luke Lorentzen
Photo: Luke Lorentzen

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.

Photo: Lananh Lê
Photo: Lananh Lê

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.

2016 Grantees

Xandra Clark
Photo: Brian Vecci

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.

Photo: Celeste Sloman
Photo: Celeste Sloman

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

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.

Photo: Michael Rooney
Photo: Michael Rooney

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. 

Photo: Valentina Sadiul
Photo: Valentina Sadiul

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.

Photo: Zack Bonzell
Photo: Zack Bonzell

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.

2015 Grantees

Photo: Al Ponce
Photo: Al Ponce

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

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.