Friday, June 6, 2014

Creative Workforce Fellowship

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is reviewing the role of individual artist funding as it relates to its mission. CAC’s board will discuss this topic at its September board meeting. There will be no Creative Workforce Fellowship application deadline until Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has completed its review.                                 - Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, June 6, 2014
 The Creative Workforce Fellowship has been suspended.

As an honored recipient of a fellowship in 2010, I would like to make clear my deep appreciation for the opportunity this award provided me in pursuit of my work.

The award means money, to be sure, which means freedom. Freedom to take time from my regular work (for which I must thank my employer, Great Lakes Theater) to engage in research and travel, which resulted in several new works.

New writing materials (which I still have and use and care for) continue to facilitate my work, four years on. 

I had the opportunity to experience more plays, from immersive house performances to Broadway productions of award-winning works and everything in-between.

Most, most importantly, however, was how this fellowship changed the way I think as a professional artist, living and working in this region. Prior to my CPAC fellowship, I was fortunate to produce one work a year, or every two years. 

Since 2010 I have had five plays produced, two solo performances remounted, one play published, one production in New York City, another in California, one of my scripts has been produced in high schools across America, another in England, and also a fully-realized workshop of a sprawling, large-cast play I had always hoped to create, and will someday beat into submission.  And the work continues.

All this, in addition to having joined the Dramatists Guild of America, increasing my production with the Cleveland Play House Playwrights' Unit, participating in the development of a Broadway-bound play script (as an actor) and all the several shorter works I have provided to companies across Greater Cleveland.

I used to say I write plays. Now I am a playwright.

Cuyahoga Arts and Culture has a very important job ahead of them, in educating the voters of Cuyahoga County how an unqualified success their organization has been. No one I know questions how fortunate our region has been for this remarkable funding. We are the envy of arts communities around the nation.

An important part of that success, however, has been the individual funding provided through the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. A shortlist of fellowship recipients include nationally recognized artists as playwright Eric Coble, fashion designer Valerie Mayen and dancer David Shimotakahara. (Complete list available here.) Their work has been fostered through this program, also, to the benefit of our larger community.

I will make sure the CAC board has heard my opinion prior to their September board meeting. Please be sure they hear yours as well.

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