Dance and Creative Writing Faculty Members Receive Individual Achievement Awards from The Ohio Arts Council

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Chanda Feldman, Assistant Professor of Dance Holly Handman-Lopez, and Visiting Assistant Professor of African Studies and Dance Talise Campbell are among 75 artists from Ohio who have each received a $5 grant. $000 from the Ohio Arts Council Individual Merit Scholarship Program in February.

Individual Excellence Awards are peer recognition of a creative artist’s body of work that exemplifies their specific discipline and advances the artistic community as a whole. These awards support the growth and development of artists and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.

In the fiscal year 2022 funding cycle, applications were accepted in the disciplines of choreography, criticism, fiction, music composition, non-fiction, playwriting, and poetry.

Funding for Individual Excellence Awards is awarded through an anonymous, open review process by a committee based on the outstanding merit of an artist’s past work.

This is the Ohio Arts Council’s first award for Feldman, who was also selected for an artist residency at Loghaven Artist Residency this year. She is working on a comprehensive poetry collection.

“One of the genres I use in the book is ekphrasis, which is writing that describes and engages artwork. In my case, that means poems that respond to visual art. I’m particularly focused on the work of black visual artists and photographers,” Feldman says. “I intend to use the grant for extended visits to collections and museums. There are so many wonderful treasures nearby such as the Taft Museum of Art, Toledo Museum of Art, Paul Laurence Dunbar House and Cleveland Museum of Art.”

Feldman says she’s grateful for the tangible support that allows her to take time off from other obligations to follow hunches and creative ideas. “It’s also gratifying to know that other artists are excited about my participation in the literary conversation.”

Handman-Lopez received his second Individual Achievement Award for work created and performed by Oberlin students at the start of the pandemic.

“When everything closed in 2020, I thought, ‘I’m going to sit down. I will wait until we can partner, tangle and breathe on each other. But then I thought about my students, I didn’t want them wasting an entire year of creating and performing,” she says. When an opportunity arose to teach a site-specific dance class, it seemed like the perfect fit. In the Space Between Walking and Running is a site-specific piece located along Plum Creek in Oberlin, created in collaboration with Chanda Feldman and dance and poetry students from the StudiOC cluster, Fieldwork: The Art of Place Through Poetry and Dance.

“We were exploring our relationship to the water, the land and the historical events that took place on these sites. We chose both parks because the monuments and memorials helped situate our history in a larger national historical context, and because of the creek that runs through them. The stream called to us with its peaceful flow and reminded us of the environmental crises we face. This collaborative work of dancers, poets and musicians acknowledges a difficult history while shedding light on hope for the future.

She also collaborated with associate professor of computer music and digital arts Tom Lopez to add a dance component to a new composition for a film.

“Tempus Ouroboros was created for an orchestra forced to rehearse in a very unusual way, in a variety of spaces so they could stay physically far apart,” she explains. “This film was streamed because live performances still weren’t possible. The play plays with time, overlapping realities, retrogrades, and the splintering of paths, which made me wonder. delicious challenges as a choreographer.

Site-specific work was also made possible with support from a StudiOC Learning Communities grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“This season, which I imagined to be so sedate, has become a whirlwind of exploration and a time of breaking perceived boundaries,” Handman-Lopez says. “Letting go of trying to control everything has opened my eyes. I am so grateful to have done this work, and to be honored for it is deeply encouraging.

Campbell was awarded for a choreography titled Mendiani (My Sweet Young Child), from the Malinké people of Guinea and Mali West Africa. The folk work deals with a young girl’s rite of passage. It was produced and performed at the Ohio Theater in Playhouse Squares for the Djapo Cultural Arts Institute’s 9th Annual Juneteenth Concert.

Campbell is the Executive Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Djapo Cultural Arts Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, where her mission is to preserve traditional music, art, dance and history through her international travel and engagement programs. community. She creates multidisciplinary and socially engaging dance for theatre, screen, stage and public space. His work is continually focused on research, musicality, authenticity and the African-American experience. She comes from a family of artisans, including her great-grandmother, the famous actress Minnie Gentry; and his cousin, actor and producer Terrence Howard.

At Oberlin, Campbell teaches classes in West African Dance, Folk Foundations, Diaspora Dances, Choreography in Cultural Traditions, and Social Justice in Dance. This is her first individual achievement award from the Ohio Arts Council.

“This award also allows me to continue to bring folk works to the fore while receiving financial support to continue my research,” she says.