Brown Arts

Brown Arts Institute Announces the 2023 David Dornstein '85 Artist Grant Recipients

Laney Day and Alison C. Rollins are this year's recipients of The David Dornstein ’85 Artist Grant that will help fund their respective creative projects.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – The Brown Arts Institute (BAI) announces the 2023 David Dornstein ’85 Artist Grant recipients. Laney Day and Alison C. Rollins were selected to receive funding to support their proposed projects.

The David Dornstein ’85 Artist Grant was established to honor the creative legacy of David Dornstein ’85. The program is designed to create new energy and life around the arts at Brown University that will carry over each year by providing resources for exceptional and unique projects that serve as a “next step” for graduating seniors or graduate students. The award scope includes original artistic projects or creative research that would benefit from extended time or extended opportunity for travel, project design, or costs or experiences.

Laney Day (they/them/theirs) is a multidisciplinary indigenous (Cree/Turtle Mountain Chippewa) artist from Montana. They are a writer, animator, painter, beader, problem solver, and friend whose work focuses on generational relationships, ideas of home, and indigenous humor as a form of resiliency. They studied Ethnic Studies at Brown, and Painting at RISD and continue to work and live in Providence RI.

Day’s project, The Light that Makes Us, references Indigenous histories of (mis)representations, beadwork, and generational teachings. Designed as a way to stretch the use of material, to build onto and carry tradition, and to consider what it means to only be seen in entirety from far away. The project is to create large scale beaded portraits of Native people made up of Red, Green, Blue, and opaque Black size 11 glass seed beads that, when lit from behind, mimics the technology of a digital display creating a full spectrum of color.

Alison C. Rollins (she/her/hers) holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In 2019, she was named a National Endowment for the Arts Literature fellow. In 2021, she was selected by contest judge Kiese Laymon as the winner of the Gulf Coast prize in nonfiction. Her work, across genres, has appeared in American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, The New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she was a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Rollins has been awarded support from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and is a recipient of the 2018 Rona Jaffe Writers' Award. A 2020 Pushcart Prize winner, her debut poetry collection Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press, 2019) was a 2020 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award nominee. Much of Rollins’ work celebrates the Black American experience and the ways in which cataloging, technology, information, and identities are inextricably entangled. Her work explores the fragile line between "human" and "nonhuman" beings, encouraging a social justice focused art practice that seeks to collaborate with plants, animals, and robots. Rollins is currently an MFA candidate in Literary Arts at Brown.

Rollins’ Quartet for the End of Time, is a four-prong project that consists of a poetry collection, a visual art installation with the capacity to be activated, a series of performance art pieces, and a libretto titled Black Bell. This project incorporates and melds Rollins' work across disciplines, including but not limited to: literary arts, metalwork at the Providence Steel Yard, sculpture, letterpress printing, and sonics. Points of reference for the project include visual artist Nick Cave, the music of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, Sun Ra & His Arkestra's Sleeping Beauty, and Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life, as well as 19th century historical figures such as Henry "Box" Brown, Lear Green, and Harriet Jacobs. An innovative meditation on Black fugitivity as well as concepts of queer temporality, Quartet for the End of Time provides imaginative interventions surrounding how subject and object positions might be destabilized, and how, in turn, subjectivity and society might be reciprocally shaped with the potential for more liberatory possibilities.

About Brown Arts Institute
Established in 2021, Brown Arts Institute (BAI) is a university-wide research enterprise and catalyst for the arts at Brown that creates new work and supports, amplifies, and adds new dimensions to the creative practices of Brown University’s arts departments, faculty, students, and community. Through year-round programming, research-focused courses, initiatives, collaborations, and partnerships, along with rigorous artistic and academic programs, BAI commissions and presents new work on campus, across Providence, Rhode Island, and beyond, from students, faculty, and on-campus arts groups, as well as in collaboration with forward-focused visiting artists and other performing arts organizations. For more information, visit


For more information, please contact:
Peter Chenot, Director of Marketing and Communications, Brown Arts Institute
Phone: 401.863.9440