Brown Arts Initiative Announces Grants Totaling Over $80,000


Providence, RI…The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) announced today that grants totaling $87,730 were awarded to 20 faculty, postdoctoral fellows and professional staff at Brown University in support of artistic production, presentation and research.

Each fall and spring semester of the academic year, the BAI provides competitive funding to support projects that enrich the campus and local community through arts-focused public presentations, artists-in-residence opportunities, and research and development projects. The spring 2018 grants support projects to be realized in fall 2018 and beyond.

Spring 2018 BAI grant recipients are:

Public Presentation Grants

Karen Allen Baxter, senior managing director of Rites & Reason Theatre, for The Black Lavender Experience 2019, supporting this annual event exploring the work of queer artists of color.

Patsy Lewis, director of development studies and visiting professor of international and public affairs at the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, for a performance by the Pan Fantasy Steelband.

Brian Mertes, professor of the practice in theatre arts and performance studies, for a screening and moderated discussion of his film I Am A Seagull, a hybrid documentary investigating the making of a performance of Anton Chekhov’s Seagull.

Elias Muhanna, Manning assistant professor of comparative literature, for Syria in my Heart, a performance of classical music by contemporary Syrian composers.

Peter Gale Nelson, academic program director for literary arts, for a reading by the Irish novelist and screenwriter John Banville.

Kyla Searle, graduate student in theatre arts and performance studies, for a symposium entitled Theatrical Jazz: A Performance Symposium, bringing together artists and scholars who embody University of Texas, Austin professor Omi Osun Joni Jones’ ethnographic approach to theater-making.

Julie Strandberg, senior lecturer in theatre arts and performance studies, for assistance in bringing New York City-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet to Providence.

James Tompkin, assistant professor of computer science, for Discover Art/Science, which pairs art and science students to create new artwork together.

Lawton Wehle Fitt Artists-in-Residence Grants

Karen Allen Baxter, senior managing director of Rites & Reason Theatre, for a residency by documentary filmmaker and Brown alumna Yoruba Richen.

Eric Nathan, assistant professor of music, for a week-long residency and performance by Syrian clarinet player and composer Kinan Azmeh.

Cole Swensen, chair and professor of literary arts, for a three-week residency by University of Paris professor Gilles Tiberghien, a leading theorist of paysagisme, the French concept for landscape architecture, urban planning, ecology and public art.

Todd Winkler, professor of music, for a semester-long residency by Everett Company, a Providence-based inter-generational and multicultural theater, music and video production company, and the premiere of its new multi-media performance work, Good Grief.

Research and Development Grants

Oladotun Ayobade, postdoctoral research associate in Africana studies, for continued research and the creation of a film archive of the Nigerian Afrobeat Queens.

Ariella Azoulay, professor of comparative literature and modern culture and media, for continued archival research for a film project focusing on the life of looted objects in museums across the United States and Europe.

Sheila Bonde, chair and professor of history of art and architecture, for further development of a digital book project focusing on the abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes in France.

Carlos Jimenez Cahua, adjunct instructor in visual art, for the production of a new video artwork in Spain and research travel in northwestern Peru.

Sawako Nakayasu, assistant professor of literary arts, for research on her collaborative book project with Eric Selland, Japanese Experimental Poetry in the 20th Century.

Eric Nathan, assistant professor of music, for the recording and release of his first portrait album, featuring six compositions composed between 2008 and 2017.

Samuel Perry, associate professor of East Asian studies, for research on a translation project featuring queer and trans writers from South Korea.

Wang Lu, assistant professor of music, to attend a spring 2019 forum on environmental issues at the Global Center in Paris that will feature a concert of her compositions inspired by nature, politics, art and environment.

Previous grantees and projects during the 2017-18 academic year include:

Jo-Ann Conklin, director of the David Winston Bell Gallery, for 33 Degrees, a series of exhibitions and public artworks examining artists’ response to polar ice melt and global warming.

Theresa Ganz, assistant professor of visual art, for a lecture by writer, photographer and art historian Teju Cole.

Fred Jodry, senior lecturer in music, for a collaboration with assistant professor of music Eric Nathan and the choral group Schola Cantorum of Boston to perform Nathan’s How Small a Part of Time at the Providence Athenaeum.

Sydney Skybetter, lecturer in theatre arts and performance studies, for support of the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces (CRCI), which brings together scholars, designers, artists and engineers to consider how sameness and difference function with choreographic interfaces.

About Brown Arts Initiative
The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University seeks to cultivate creative expression and foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty and students learn from one another and from artists and scholars in a wide range of fields across the campus and around the world. A consortium of six arts departments and two programs that encompass the performing, literary and visual arts, the BAI works collaboratively to enhance curricular and co-curricular offerings, directly engage students with prominent artists working in all genres and media, and supports a diverse program of concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and symposia each year. The BAI takes full advantage of the University’s Open Curriculum and builds on Brown’s reputation as a destination for arts exploration, contributing to cultural enterprise through the integration of theory, practice, and scholarship with an emphasis on innovation and discovery that results from rigorous artmaking and experimentation.    

The BAI comprises and integrates History of Art and Architecture; Literary Arts; Modern Culture and Media; Music; Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; Visual Art; the David Winton Bell Gallery; and Rites and Reason Theatre/Africana Studies.  

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