Focus Fellowship

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.


The Institute for Child Success Focus Fellowship

Anis Mojgani

Anis Mojgani is 2016’s recipient of The Institute for Child Success Focus Fellowship.  This fellowship is awarded to an artist of any discipline making work for young children.

January 29- Feb 27


ABOUT ANIS

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Anis Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion, winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam, and multiple-time TEDx Speaker. He has been awarded residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, AIR Serenbe, and the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program. Anis has performed at numerous universities, festivals, and venues around the globe and has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in the pages of such journals as RattleForklift OhioPaper Darts, and Thrush

Pulling inspiration from his Black and Iranian heritage, his childhood memories, his worldview, love, and existence, Anis takes seemingly commonplace subject matter and sculpts inspiration from them. Weaving dream-like tales that dip into imaginative imagery, Anis’s poems make the ordinary almost surreal and, through jolts of wide-eyed writing and striking honesty, make that which is fantastical remarkably relatable. Both innocent and heartbreaking, introspective and curious, the humanity his work carries causes listeners to remember and experience a childhood that is not their own but feels like it was.

A founding member of the no longer touring Poetry Revival, Anis is also the author of three poetry collections, all published by Write Bloody PublishingSongs From Under the RiverThe Feather RoomOver the Anvil We Stretch. A visual artist as well, his latest book, The Pocketknife Bible, is a fully illustrated poetry-novella. Originally from New Orleans, Anis lives in Oregon. He is represented by Blue Flower Arts.

During his residency at Serenbe, Anis will be working on a new book of poetry and illustration for young children.


ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR CHILD SUCCESS

Launched in 2010, the Institute for Child Success (ICS) is a private, nonpartisan research and policy organization. ICS works to create a culture that facilitates and fosters the success of all children. ICS supports policymakers, service providers, government agencies, funders, and business leaders focused on early childhood development, healthcare, and education - all to coordinate, enhance, and improve those efforts for the maximum effect in the lives of young children (prenatal to age five). Rather than being a direct service provider, the Institute's approach focuses on helping those who help young children succeed by working with stakeholders to seek holistic solutions to complex early childhood challenges.

Message from Joe Waters, Vice President of ICS:

“The Institute for Child Success, in partnership with AIR Serenbe, is excited to announce a new initiative focused on leveraging the arts to foster the success of all young children and their families. 

In recent weeks we have been asked why a research and policy organization- a “think tank”- is interested in supporting a program for artists and how we anticipate this program to inform and support our existing work. We believe in the value of this initiative for three main reasons: 

  • We believe that the arts can help us unwind the entrenched cultural narratives that undermine child success and wellbeing. The arts can also shape alternative cultural narratives and norms that support child success.
  • Consistent with our mission pillar of fostering the next generation of leaders for America’s young children, we must include leaders in the arts and provide them with development opportunities just as we would any other rising leaders who can catalyze change for kids.
  • We believe that the stories children are told are of critical importance in shaping their own narratives, conceptions of self and of the world, and their location within our broader cultural narratives of race, gender, and class. We want more good stories out there for children to hear and be told. This is our own modest contribution to that effort.

The Institute for Child Success Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe is an important new initiative for advancing our vision of the success of all young children. AIR Serenbe is pleased to partner with ICS to provide artists making work for young children time and space to create, and to think with ICS staff and friends about the role that the arts can play in supporting the success of young children and their families. 

We are excited that our first artist, Anis Mojgani, a poet, illustrator, and spoken word performer, will take up residence at Serenbe on January 29th. During his residency, Anis will be working on a new book of poetry and illustration for young children.”


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 Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.

The Line & Chance Focus Fellowship

Hannah Israel

Hannah Israel is the 2016 recipient of The Line & Chance Focus Fellowship.  This award residency supports an artist using drawing as a dynamic medium for experimentation.

Date


About Hannah

Israel draws beauty out of tangible and intangible materials, as a poetic gesture that reflects the fragility of the world. Without a specific reference point, She investigates line, volume, texture, shape, and form that imbues a sense of intuition and informs a deep intellectual curiosity. Language, spatial relationship, and scale are also central concern in her work.

Israel is interested in using information as a form of abstraction.  The nature of her work maps the relationships of our existence by illustrating how fragile time can be and how predictable our experiences can be based on the temperament of the world around us. Influenced by process art, she creates art that resemble subsets of sorting, gathering, tearing, cutting, and patterning.  

Hannah Israel lives and works at Columbus, GA, USA.  She received her Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Her work is across various interests including sculpture, installation, video, and mark making.

Israel has exhibited her work at the High Museum of Art, Zuckerman Museum of Art, The Vargas Museum of Art in the Philippines, Museum of Contemporary Art in Honolulu, I-Space in Chicago, the Krannert Art Museum, among others.  Hannah Israel has received the Daedalus Art Grant (NYC), the Creative and Performance Art Fellowship at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, IL and the Artist Fellowship at Cornell University, NY among others. She has also curated numerous solo and group exhibition.  Her works are collected in museums and private collection. 

Currently her work has been accepted in the Flat Files of the Kentler International Drawing Space in Brooklyn. Hannah will also have a solo exhibition at the Brenau University Museum in Gainesville, GA in August of 2016 as well as a curatorial project titled, Methodologies, at the Madelon Arts Gallery, East Stroudsburg University, PA, October of 2016.  She is currently an Associate Professor of Art and the Gallery Director at Columbus State University in Georgia. 


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 Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.

The Inkpot Focus Fellowship

Aatmaja Pandya

Awarded to an artist working in sequential narrative: illustration, comics, graphic novels, animation, gaming, et al.

May 1 - 31


About Aatmaja

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Aatmaja Pandya is a cartoonist and illustrator from New York! She graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2014 with a BFA Illustration degree. Her work is inspired by the stories she loved growing up, but set in a cultural context more familiar to her. Her current project is "Travelogue", a fantasy diary webcomic with a focus on character vignettes and world-building. 


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 Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.

The Chrysalis Focus Fellowship

Peter Happel Christian

The Chrysalis Focus Fellowship is awarded to an artist of any discipline making work that integrates science and the natural world. 

May 9 - 23


About Peter

Peter Happel Christian lives and works in St. Cloud, Minnesota where he teaches at the local university. He a photographer who makes sculpture, installations and books. His work considers the nature of time and place while embracing photography as a malleable set of materials. Peter holds an MFA from the University of Oregon and a BFA from the University of Iowa. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally at venues including the Tucson Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Ditch Projects (Springfield, OR), Law Warschaw Gallery (St. Paul, MN), Johalla Projects (Chicago), and Higher Pictures (New York). Peter has received funding for his work from the Ohio Arts Council, Central Minnesota Arts Board, Minnesota State Arts Board, numerous research grants from St. Cloud State University and is a recipient of a McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship in Photography and an Ansel Adams Fellowship from the Center for Creative Photography. He regularly collaborates with other artists, designers and writers on various projects and printed matter. His first monograph, Half Wild, was published by Conveyor Editions in 2014.


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 Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.

The Walker Evans Focus Fellowship

Sarah Hobbs

The Walker Evans Focus Fellowship is awarded to an artist photographing the American South.

June 20 - July 10


About Sarah

Sarah Hobbs’s work is an ongoing exploration of the neurotic tendencies that exist in us all. She grew up in Columbus, Georgia and holds a BA in Art History and an MFA in Photography from the University of Georgia, Athens. She lives and works in Atlanta. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Sir Elton John Collection, among others. Hobbs’s work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Knoxville Museum of Art as well as Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work has been included in several group shows across the country. Her first monograph, Small Problems in Living, was published in 2012.

Statement by Artist:

A desire to construct psychological space has always been the driving force behind my work. My intent is to explore the human psyche and illustrate the idea that we are all beautifully flawed. I construct installations in private spaces specifically to photograph them. 
    I am fascinated by how we come to see ourselves, see others, and how others may come to see us through our quirks. My work illustrates how we relate to others and the world at large, how our traits affect other people, and how the world affects us given our various traits. Further, I am examining our attempts to manage our issues ourselves, and the inevitable pitfalls these efforts create. 
It is ultimately the viewer who completes this work. There can be a comfort in recognizing that one is not the only person with such a problem. However, there is discomfort in the possibility of being face to face with an aspect of oneself that is in general negative. Each piece is a kind of self-test. 

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 Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.

The SWACC! Focus Fellowship

Mahogany L. Browne

The SWACC! Focus Fellowship is awarded to a spoken word artist with a commitment to community and collaboration

June 26 - July 10, September 4 - 11


About Mahogany

The Cave Canem and Poets House alum is the author of several books including Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & About.com Best Poetry Books of 2010. Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada's The Word and UK's MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary, Joint & The Feminist Wire. She is the author of several poetry collections including: Smudge (Button Poetry), Redbone (Willow Books) & is a part of the groundbreaking anthology The Break Beat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket). She is an Urban Word NYC Poet-in-Residence (as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices), founder of Women Writers of Color Reading Room (housed on Pratt Institute) and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. Browne is also the publisher of Penmanship Books, the Nuyorican Poets Café Poetry Program Director and Friday Night Slam curator and currently a 2nd year MFA Candidate for Writing & Activism at Pratt Institute. 


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 Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.

The Frances Focus Fellowship

Dame Wilburn

The Frances Focus Fellowship is awarded to a storyteller with deep ties to the American South.

August 1 - 14


About Dame

Dame S. Wilburn was born in Macon, Georgia. Her family moved to Detroit when she was very young but felt that connection to home was essential. Dame spent all of her summers in Macon with both sides of her family. The summers spent in her grandmother’s backyard are the foundation of her work. At an early age she was able to craft stories that entertained adults and kids. It wasn’t long before her mother enrolled her in a private school with an arts based curriculum. Dame spent yeas listening to stories, writing poetry, and developed a love of words and how they convey ideas. This love of words lead to her “story poem” style of writing.

Currently, Dame is a community educator with Generation With Promise out of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan. Dame spends her free time writing poetry, singing and painting. Dame has performed her stories at several Moth Mainstage events. She is also working on her first book “Sugar Plum”.

Excerpt from Azalea:
Back outside with a new glass of tea and a
New pan of peas
You smell the azaleas, the hyacinths, the magnolias
And you wonder How could heaven possibly be better than this?

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 Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.

The CoEsistere Focus Fellowship

Pam Longobardi

The CoEsistere Focus Fellowship is awarded to an artist of any discipline whose work explores the human population growth and its impact on wildlife.

July 26 - August 1, December 5-11


About Pam

Pam Longobardi has had over 40 solo exhibitions and 65 group exhibitions in galleries and museums in the US, China, Italy, Spain, Finland, Poland, Japan and elsewhere. Her artworks are in numerous collections, including commissions for Benziger Winery, the Hyatt Corporation, the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Facility and First Tennessee Bank, Memphis.  Her large installation “1614-1914” was included in the 2004 exhibition Birdspace  at the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center, and travelling for 2 years to the Norton Museum of Art, Hudson River Museum and four other US museums.

She received a SAF\NEA Visual Artist Fellowship in Painting, Tennessee Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellowship, and was artist in residence with the BAU Institute in Otranto, Italy, in Kasterlee, Belgium, and in Beijing at NY ARTS/Beijing during the 2008 Olympics. In 2005 Longobardi was named recipient of Georgia State University’s Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award, where she is Professor of Art. 

Longobardi currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has created the Drifters Project in 2006, addressing global plastic pollution and the changing ocean. Working solo or with communities, she has made scores of interventions, cleaning beaches of plastic all over the world, removing thousands of pounds of material from the natural environment and re-situating it within the cultural context. This work was shown in the 2009 Venice Biennale ARTE VISIVI collateral exhibitions, and in 2010, Edizione Charta (Milan, NY) published a book on her project. 

Additional public projects have occurred in Atlanta, Georgia (New Genre Landscape, 2008); in Nicoya, Costa Rica (Universidad Nacional, 2009); in Samothraki, Greece (EVROS Cultural Association, 2010); in Lecce, Italy (Primo Piano Gallery, 2010). 2011 exhibitions include Voyages on an Uncanny Sea at Gallery Diet in Miami; Oceanomania at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, a large scale project curated by Mark Dion, Sarina Basta and Cristiano Raimondi; and at the Ionion Center in Kefalonia, Greece.  Her 2012 work is a project addressing plastic and oil at SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin in May, and a major expedition sponsored by the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska SeaLife Center taking artists and scientists along Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands.


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 Director Brandon Hinman at brandon@serenbe.com.