Lewis Center for the Arts awards more than $156,000 for summer projects in the arts to 56 Princeton students

Written by
The Lewis Center For the Arts
May 15, 2023

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University announces more than $156,000 in awards to support the summer projects and research of 56 Princeton undergraduates.

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University announces more than $156,000 in awards to support the summer projects and research of 56 Princeton undergraduates. While all first, second, and third-year students are eligible to apply for the awards, for many recipients the funding provides vital resources to conduct research, undertake training, and pursue other opportunities critical to achieving their senior creative thesis project goals in the arts. The grants range from $200 to $8,000.

Rising seniors Tanaka Dunbar Ngwara, Max Diallo Jakobsen, and Storm Stokes have been selected for the Alex Adam ’07 Award. Established in memory of Alexander Jay Adam ’07 and made possible through a generous gift from his family, the award provides each student with $7,500 to spend the summer pursuing a project that will result in the creation of new artistic work. While a student at Princeton, Alex Adam pursued artistic interests in creative writing and theater. Joyce Carol Oates, his creative writing professor, praised Adam’s work as “sharp-edged, unexpectedly corrosive, and very funny.” Additionally, Adam was an actor and performed with the Princeton Shakespeare Company, Theatre Intime, and the Program in Theater.

“We are so grateful to the Alex Adam’ 07 family and all who make our students’ summer projects possible,” said Judith Hamera, chair of the Lewis Center and professor of dance. “Thanks to their generosity, our students have precious time and support for the in-depth research and exploration needed to advance these thoughtful projects. Their research not only serves their individual visions but also demonstrates one of the LCA’s core principles: artmaking comes from the compelling questions we investigate with rigor and creativity.”

Tanaka Dunbar Ngwara is a major in the Department of Music pursuing certificates from the Programs in Theater and Music Theater, who is seeking to write a new piece of music theater that draws upon her Zimbabwean heritage and family history. With the help of Alex Adam Award funding, Ngwara will spend the summer conducting research for her new, original musical set in Zimbabwe in 1976 during the Independence War. During a one-month stay in London she plans to dive into the Southern African diasporic music scene, encountering examples of Zimbo-fusion music and attending performances by South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and others at music festivals. In London, Ngwara will also view Zimbabwean garments and other artifacts at the British Museum and study with a Shona language tutor to further inform her creative work. Concluding her summer in Harare and Domboshava, Zimbabwe, she will consult historical newspapers in the National Archives, interview family members to learn about the Njuzu Ritual that is central to her piece, collaborate with friends on how to incorporate traditional Shona rhythm, scales, and instrumentation into the music, and translate Shona lyrics for her show.

History major Max Diallo Jakobsen, who specializes in African folklore and the history of pan-Africanism and is pursuing certificates in the visual arts and African studies, will spend ten weeks learning and tracing the heritage of traditional West African textile weaving, dyeing, sewing, and tailoring practices. Merging his passions for historical research, artistic expression, and his family heritage, Diallo Jakobsen will spend half of the summer traveling across his home country of Guinea and learning from artisans skilled in weaving and indigo dyeing. In the second half of his project, he will travel to Dakar, Senegal, the emerging fashion capital of Africa, to apprentice with renowned tailors and independent designers and take courses at the Dakar Institute of Design. All of these experiences, made possible through the Alex Adam funding, will assist him in creating a collection of clothing and soft sculptures central to his senior visual arts exhibition planned for spring 2024. By honoring the tradition and innovation of West African textiles and tailoring and incorporating his own creative vision and voice, Diallo Jakobsen strives to engage in a process of reclamation, revitalization, and empowerment of his own West African heritage.

Storm Stokes, majoring in African American studies and pursuing a certificate from the Program in Dance, will use Alex Adam Award funding to develop a new choreographic project that seeks to visually birth the embodiment of a reimagined, Black spiritual reality. Stokes’ developing research centers on the marginalized Black history and spirit and how one might use the liberatory elements of the Christian spiritual reality to reimagine it without racial harms. To further develop her choreographic practices and movement style, Stokes will travel to Italy, Berlin, Austria, and New York City to participate in several movement intensives and view works by artists such as Meg Stuart and Janine Antoni, who pair the body with unconventional dance materials. She anticipates that her resulting full-length dance work will include a contemporary movement vocabulary, the deconstruction of plaster body castings, and video/text projections.

Rising seniors Erin Macanze and Carrington Johnson have been selected for funding through the Mallach Senior Thesis Fund. This award, established by Douglas J. Mallach ’91, supports the realization of proposed senior independent projects that incorporate historical research and create an alternative path to learning history.

Erin Macanze, a civil engineering major pursuing a certificate in visual arts from the Lewis Center, plans to use Mallach Award funding to continue her ongoing research-based artistic project, entitled “Wikile,” that investigates personal family histories and community histories. Macanze will travel to Mozambique and dive into the concept of generational remembrance, which she describes as “as a community-based tool that is directly linked with the creation of different art forms and stories.” Photography was central to this project last summer; in the coming months she will expand into sculptural practices, textile work, and videography. By learning Mozambican practices including mask-making, textile maneuvering techniques, and sculpting with soil-based paste, Macanze will be in conversation with her own family history, local community history, and their connection with generational remembrance. She will incorporate these concepts and art-making practices into her senior show in the visual arts program.

Carrington Johnson, majoring in Spanish and politics and pursuing certificates in music theater, African American studies, and Latin American studies, will use Mallach Award funding to craft a choreopoem that utilizes music, dance and poetry to vocalize silenced Afro-Cuban histories. Johnson plans to travel to Havana, Cuba, to explore museum archives, attend cultural exhibits, and interview local activists and artists as research informing their two-fold project of performance and poetry. Their poetry will tell the history of Black erasure in Cuban society and the work of artists to revive the Black body, while the performance work will enhance their argument through the use of traditional Cuban rhythms, dances and musical instruments. As stated in their project proposal, Johnson’s ultimate goal is to “uplift Black voices and highlight Afro-Cuban contributions to the greater Cuban Society.”

Additional summer funding award-winners include:

Rising senior Lauren Olson and rising junior Amalia Lopkin have been awarded grants from the Mary Quaintance ’84 Fund for the Creative Arts established in her memory to foster talents similar to those Quaintance developed in writing, film studies, and literature in the creative arts programs at Princeton.

Rising seniors Emma Mohrman and Sreesha Ghosh have received grants from the E. Ennalls Berl 1912 and Charles Waggaman Berl 1917 Senior Thesis Award in Visual Arts, which was established in 1999 by Marie Broadhead to provide support for research, travel or other expenses of current juniors undertaking senior thesis work in the Program in Visual Arts.

Rising seniors Olivia Buckhorn, Seppe De Pauw, Mei Geller, Elliott Hyon, Ive Jones, Charlotte Kunesh, Annie Leach, Vivian Li, Katrina Nix, Lauren Olson, Claire Schultz, and Julia Zhou; rising juniors Ina Aram, Pia Bhatia, Dana Corbo, Jiaying Fu, Azi Jones, Macy Kwon, Schuyler Saint-Phard, Sara Shiff, Josie Smart, Yejin Suh, Magnus von Ziegesar, Jasper Waldman, and Audrey Zhang; and rising sophomores Ezra Narun and Ian Peiris received funding through the Sam Hutton Fund for the Arts instituted by Thomas C. Hutton ’72 to support undergraduate summer study, travel and thesis research in the Lewis Center.

Rising seniors Kira FitzGerald and Ive Jones received support from the Mellor Fund for Undergraduate Research, which underwrites course, travel, and/or research costs related to studies in the creative and performing arts.

Rising seniors Kirsten Pardo and Daniel Drake are the beneficiaries of the Lawrence P. Wolfen ’87 Senior Thesis Award established for travel or research costs, materials, equipment or other expenses of current juniors for thesis work in the creative arts, especially the visual arts or graphic arts.

Rising juniors Nathalie Charles, John Venegas Juarez, and Belinda Wu, along with rising sophomores Bahia Kazemipour and Ezra Narun, received support from the Maria and Philip Yang P’19 Arts Fund, which supports undergraduates in summer study, travel, and/or independent research costs related to their studies in the Lewis Center for the Arts.

The Hartman Feldman Fund for the Arts supports undergraduate study or research in the Department of Music or the Lewis Center’s Program in Dance. Rising juniors Paige Sherman and Moses Abrahamson are recipients of this award.

Rising seniors Juliette Carbonnier and Nica Evans received support through the Peter B. Lewis Summer Fund, which supports current Lewis Center for the Arts first-year students, sophomores or juniors.

Rising senior Raquel Ramirez and rising junior Ash Jackson each received a travel stipend from the Timothy K. Vasen Award for Summer Research, established in memory of Vasen, who directed plays and taught classes in the Program in Theater from 1993 through 2015 and served as the Program’s Director from 2012 until his untimely death in 2015. This fund supports summer travel for students who are pursuing creative projects at the Lewis Center.

 In addition to funding for projects and research, some students received support for internships. The Bernstein Fund for the Arts Fellowship supports student summer fellowships at prominent arts institutions, such as American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, The Public Theatre in New York City, and the Brooklyn Museum. Recipients this year are rising seniors Gabriela Veciana and Matthew Weatherhead and rising sophomore Destine Harrison-Williams. Rising senior Nica Evans and rising junior Nathalie Charles are the recipient of support from the Tiger Baron Fund, created to support student theatrical summer experiences including internships, fellowships, and training opportunities. The Sandberg Fund was created by playwright and longtime Lecturer in Theater Robert N. Sandberg to support summer internships for students in the Programs in Theater and Music Theater with support with this year going to rising seniors Sabina Jafri, Ethan Luk, and Chloe Satenberg; rising junior John Venegas-Juarez; and rising sophomore Destine Harrison-Williams.

In the fall of 2022, the University launched the new initiative Learning and Education through Service (LENS), which serves to increase the number of and expand student access to paid summer service internships. LENS funding offers all Princeton undergraduates the chance to spend a summer focused on service and social impact work that engages with communities beyond campus. With support from LENS, rising senior Joyce Mo will intern with local New Jersey non-profit Raíces Cultural Center, spending her summer documenting histories of Asian American immigrants through illustrations that reflect on Chinese mythology, apothecary, and oral history. Rising senior Juliette Carbonnier will volunteer at and conduct interviews with reproductive health care organizations in California and Texas, in order to research and write a new play exploring the female body and mental health. Collin Riggins, also a rising senior, will work alongside Princeton Lecturer in Dance Dyane Harvey-Salaam to create an educational, archival film about dance pedagogy, African dance traditions in the U.S., and the future of dance. Ash Jackson, a rising junior, will spend time this summer shadowing staff at The National Theatre in London, in order to learn more about capturing live theater on film. With the help of LENS funding, rising junior Azi Jones will intern with The Company Dance Theatre of Kingston, Jamaica, to develop an official archive for the company.

Visit the Lewis Center website to learn more about the Lewis Center for the Arts, the funding available to Princeton students, and the more than 100 other performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, and lectures presented by the Lewis Center each year, most of them free.