Five Charlotte-Mecklenburg Creative Individuals to Receive $10K for Career Renewal

Categories: News & Media
ASC’s Creative Renewal Fellowships reward mid-career individuals that have made
Charlotte-Mecklenburg home
2018 Creative Renewal Fellowship recipients (from left): Kojo Bey, Martha Connerton, Jeff Jackson, Ruth Ava Lyons, Russell Smith. (Nancy Pierce photos.)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 16, 2018) – Five creative individuals whose work has strengthened Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s cultural community will receive $10,000 Creative Renewal Fellowships from ASC in order to refresh their creative energy in the midst of their careers.

The Creative Renewal Fellowship program, launched in 2017, supports ASC’s belief that continued investment in creative individuals that make Charlotte-Mecklenburg home benefits the region’s overall cultural climate. Creative Renewal Fellowships provide funds that recipients can use for research, instruction, conferences, apprenticeships, travel or other experiences that help them explore their creative journey.

Fellowships are awarded to mid-career creative individuals who have been pursuing a career in the creative sector for at least 10 years and have been generating the majority of their incomes over the past three years through their work as a sole proprietor, creative entrepreneur or contract employee in the creative sector.

The 2018 fellowship recipients are:

  • Kojo Bey, cofounder of and lead drummer for the Sounds of Afrika Drum & Dance Troupe and founder of Drums 4 Life. Bey will use his fellowship to travel to the Hamana region of Upper Guinea, West Africa to work with elder drummers, recording their knowledge and techniques for a drum book he is creating to honor and preserve the legacy of these masters.
  • Martha Connerton, dancer, choreographer and founder and artistic director of the eponymous dance company, Martha Connerton/Kinetic Works. Connerton will use her fellowship to work on a series of children’s books and pursue the creation of a movement theater piece exploring the interrelated nature of Arabic religious and political groups and Western culture.
  • Jeff Jackson, a writer and editor whose debut novel, “Mira Corpora,” was selected as a finalist for the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Award. He will use his fellowship to study in Paris with acclaimed fiction writer Dennis Cooper. While in Paris, he’ll also immerse himself in the rare films of Philippe Garrel, studying the methods and approach of the mythic storyteller.
  • Ruth Ava Lyons, a visual artist who’s bold and dramatic mixed media works are inspired by a variety of environments. Her fellowship plan is to enroll in a master underwater photography workshop in the Raja Ampat Islands, an Indonesian archipelago, to advance a new body of work dependent on research, advanced dive experience and underwater photography skills.
  • Russell Smith, an oil painter who focuses his work on World War I aviation and American West scenes. Smith will use his fellowship to attend two workshops that will help him expand his technique and painting approach, as well as participate in the Shearer Artist Ride in South Dakota.

We are proud to have a thriving creative community here in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, filled with talented people who have been creating new and exciting work in many disciplines for years,” said ASC President Robert Bush. “We want these individuals to know that we appreciate and celebrate what they bring to our lives and so this program is designed to make sure that some of the most creative amongst us are given the opportunity to renew their creative spirit and then return to this community and continue to create.”

Inaugural fellowship recipients in 2017 were dancer Audrey Baran, visual artist Annabel Manning, filmmaker Melissa Salpietra and performer Quentin Talley.

About ASC

ASC is the chief advocate, resource hub and steward for the Charlotte- Mecklenburg region’s cultural community. Its core functions include advocacy, cultural education programs, cultural planning, fundraising, grant making, public art and workshops and trainings for the cultural community. ASC works to ensure Culture For All by combining resources from local and state government with those of the private sector to maximize community impact throughout the cultural sector.

ASC’s mission is to ensure access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.

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Contact Information

Bernie Petit