2017

Frances Focus Fellowship

Ray Christian

Ray Christian is 2017's recipient of the Frances Focus Fellowship, awarded to a storyteller with deep ties to the American South.

IN RESIDENCE March 3 - March 17 | July 14 - July 28, 2017

Raymond Christian is a storyteller, whose storytelling began with his role as reader for
his illiterate parents at age 10. He escaped the urban slums of Richmond, VA by joining
the United States Army at 17. Here he served in a number of capacities and
assignments at home, abroad during peace time and in combat, primarily as an
Infantryman and Paratrooper, where he retired after 20 years of service. Following
retirement the combat-decorated veteran went back to school and earned a BS in
History, MA in Public History, and an EdS in Education Leadership. He is currently
pursuing a doctorate in Education, where his dissertation research explores the
relationship between parental behavior and academic success among African American
students. Ray also teaches part time at Appalachians State University, the courses “The Souls of Black Folks”, an examination of African American social culture, and “Life in the
Narrative” a course that explores the historic and contemporary use of storytelling and
oral history in America.  

Ray has shared his stories on the Moth Main Stage in the US
and Canada. His stories have appeared in Readers Digest (One of the Best Stories in
America Edition) and have been featured on the Moth Radio Hour and Snap Judgment.
In addition, as a competitive storyteller Ray is a 7 time Moth story Slam Champion, and
the winner of the 2016 National Storytelling Festival Story Slam. Ray also has his own
podcast “What’s Ray Saying”. Ray hopes to continue crafting stories that can serve the
cause of cultural enlightenment and social justice by using oral expression to present
the human experience in a compelling and memorable way. Ray currently resides in
Boone, North Carolina.


ABOUT FOCUS FELLOWSHIPS

AIR Serenbe supports artists of every discipline through our Focus Fellowship awards, nominated annually by our National Advisory Council—esteemed peers and experts in the field.  Focus Fellowships provide the opportunity for individuals, corporations, and other organizations to directly support artists and their influence on building healthy, creative communities. Funders of these awards have the chance to name the fellowship and to work closely with AIR Serenbe to determine what kind of artists (discipline, geography, demographic, subject) the fellowship will serve.  

To learn more about establishing a Focus Fellowship, contact AIR Serenbe Executive Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.


SWACC! Focus Fellowship

Eve Ewing

Eve Ewing is 2017's recipient of the SWACC! Focus Fellowship, awarded to a spoken word artist with a commitment to community and collaboration

IN RESIDENCE February 1 - February 12 | February 20 - February 28, 2017

Eve Ewing inside AIR Serenbe's Rural Studio Cottage

Eve is a sociologist of education whose research is focused on racism, social inequality, and urban policy, and the impact of these forces on American public schools and the lives of young people. She is a Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Chicago; in 2018, she will begin as Assistant Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Currently, she is developing a book manuscript based on her dissertation, "Shuttered Schools in the Black Metropolis: Race, History, and Discourse on Chicago’s South Side," explores these topics in the context of the 2013 public school closures in Chicago, and the relationship between such closures and the structural history of race and racism in Chicago's Bronzeville community. 

Eve is also an essayist and poet. Her first collection of poetry, essays, and visual art, Electric Arches, is forthcoming from Haymarket Books in fall 2017. Her work has been published in many venues, including Poetry MagazineThe New YorkerThe Atlantic, The Nation, The New RepublicUnion Station, and the anthology The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. She has been a Pushcart Prize nominee, a finalist for the Pamet River Prize, and a scholarship recipient for the New Harmony Writers Workshop. She co-directs Crescendo Literary, a partnership that develops community-engaged arts events and educational resources. Crescendo's projects include the Emerging Poets Incubator and the Chicago Poetry Block Party. Eve is one-half of the writing collective Echo Hotel, alongside Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib. 

For ten years, Eve has been an educator in both traditional and community-based settings, including Chicago Public Schools, After School Matters, Harvard University, and Wellesley College. She is the current President of the Board of Directors of MassLEAP, a non-profit organization dedicated to building and supporting spaces for youth, artist-educators, and organizers to foster positive youth development through spoken word poetry forums throughout Massachusetts.


ABOUT FOCUS FELLOWSHIPS

AIR Serenbe supports artists of every discipline through our Focus Fellowship awards, nominated annually by our National Advisory Council—esteemed peers and experts in the field.  Focus Fellowships provide the opportunity for individuals, corporations, and other organizations to directly support artists and their influence on building healthy, creative communities. Funders of these awards have the chance to name the fellowship and to work closely with AIR Serenbe to determine what kind of artists (discipline, geography, demographic, subject) the fellowship will serve.  

To learn more about establishing a Focus Fellowship, contact AIR Serenbe Executive Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.