The Lewis Center for the Arts announces the award of over $100,000 to support the summer projects and research of 43 Princeton students, including substantial individual awards through the Alex Adam ’07 Award, the Mallach Senior Thesis Fund, the Mellor Fund for Undergraduate Research, and the Berl Senior Thesis Award. The awards were made through a competitive application process that received 95 proposals requesting over $410,000 in funding. For many recipients the funding provides the resources to conduct research, complete training and pursue other opportunities critical to achieving their senior thesis project goals.
Three juniors, Maya Wahrman, Bri White, and Cameron Johanning, have been selected for the Alex Adam ’07 Award. Established in memory of Alexander Jay Adam ’07 and made possible by a generous gift from his family, the award provides $7,000 in support to each of three Princeton undergraduates who will spend a 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 his work as “sharp-edged, unexpectedly corrosive and very funny.” He was also an actor, and performed with the Princeton Shakespeare Company, Theatre Intime, and the Program in Theater.
“Princeton students continue to benefit from Alex Adam’s legacy as a creative spirit,” says Michael Cadden, Chair of the Lewis Center. “This award lovingly created in his memory enables them to travel both geographically and artistically in the pursuit of the realization of their full creative potential.”
Maya Wahrman is a history major pursuing a certificate in creative writing with a focus on poetry. She grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, and has a strong connection to her Israeli heritage. On campus, she is a member of Umqombothi, Princeton’s African a cappella group, and the chair of Kesher, the Reform Jewish student group on campus. She also volunteers at a local preschool, where she runs a music program through Community House. Over the summer, Wahrman will combine her interests in interfaith opportunities and poetry by making a pilgrimage that will inspire a collection of poems. She will walk the Camino Santiago, a network of pilgrim trails ending at the grave of Saint James in Santiago de la Compostela in northwestern Spain. According to Catholic tradition, Saint James was an apostle martyred in Jerusalem, whose body was transported to Galicia after his death. It has been a major site of Catholic pilgrimage since the Middle Ages, attracting many thousands of pilgrims each year from all over the world. Wahrman will also walk the Camino Francés, the most traveled of the Camino routes, and write a collection of poems inspired by her journey, the Catholic tradition, and the faithful whom she encounters along the way.
Hailing from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Bri White is a visual arts major pursuing a certificate in dance. In May and June, White will be rehearsing and performing with the Rebecca Stenn Company in Brooklyn and then will participate in the Movement Invention Project, a three-week intensive dance training program in improvisation and contemporary technique, as well as choreography. The rest of the summer will be spent in New York City, studying the performance art and dance of the trans* community and the challenging phenomenon that almost all auditions, companies, and choreographers require that dancers identify as male or female.
Cameron Johanning, from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, is an English major pursuing a visual arts certificate focusing on film production. He will make a documentary film on the late Owsley Stanley, the manager of the rock band The Grateful Dead and the inventor of the Wall of Sound, a music production formula for pop and rock music recordings. Johanning has a personal connection to Stanley, as the rock legend was the uncle of a close friend. Research and collection of footage for Johanning’s documentary will be completed on a trip with two legs, the first to Stanley’s self-sustaining homestead in Queensland, Australia, where he will stay with Stanley’s widow, Sheilah Stanley and conduct research. Mrs. Stanley has also agreed to an on-camera interview–an honor she has not afforded to media in the past. On the second leg of the project, Johanning will travel to San Francisco where Owsley Stanley became a countercultural icon, to the beach where Stanley attended Ken Kesey’s infamous Acid Test party, to the UC Berkeley Library where Stanley taught himself to make LSD from a textbook, and to The Grateful Dead archive in Santa Cruz. Most importantly, Johanning’s trip to San Francisco will investigate Owsley’s Sonic Journals, analog recordings of Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, and many others stored in the basement of the Meyer Sound Company. These journals have never been digitized and are slowly decaying. Johanning’s documentary will seek to ensure that the Sonic Journals are saved. Johanning cites Princeton alumnus and filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, a producer and director of the recent hit HBO documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, as among his influences.
Oge Ude, from Smoke Rise, Georgia, and also a junior, has been selected for funding through the Mallach Senior Thesis Fund. This new award established by Douglas J. Mallach ’91 supports the realization of a proposed senior thesis project that incorporates historical research and creates an alternative path to learning history with a $5,000 grant. Ude will spend the summer researching representations of “double consciousness” in contemporary Black performance art as research for her joint senior thesis in dance and theater. Her research is inspired by W.E.B. DuBois’s theory of “double consciousness,” in which he observed that Black Americans experience a splitting of identity as they attempt to reconcile their race with their nationality. Ude will attend a summer intensive with the dance theater company Witness Relocation, where she will study the creation of original work through devising methods. She will also participate in the Impulstanz festival in Vienna, Austria, an annual contemporary dance festival that invites dancers from around the world to perform, workshop, and discuss their work. Ude will then visit Chicago, where she will work with Arts & Public Life at University of Chicago and the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago in order to observe and interview Black artists in various disciplines; St. Louis where she will connect with Alliance of Black Art Galleries, a group of galleries dedicated to exhibiting culturally relevant art and promoting underrepresented artists; and New York City, where she will shadow and interview several performance artists including choreographer Nora Chipaumire, a recent Hodder Fellow at Princeton, Marjani Forté and Kyle Abraham, both recent guest choreographers in the Program in Dance, and playwrights Suzan Lori-Parks and Young Jean Lee.
Maddie Meyers, a sophomore, has been selected as the recipient of $2,000 in support through the Mellor Fund for Undergraduate Research, which provides funding to Lewis Center students for course, travel, and/or research costs related to studies in the creative and performing arts. Neeta Patel has been named the winner of 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. Grayson Shepperd received $3,500 from 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. Lydia Cornett, a junior, and Emma Michalak, a sophomore, received $3,000 and $3,5000 respectively from the Mary Quaintance ’84 Fund for the Creative Arts established in her memory to foster talents similar to those Ms. Quaintance developed in writing, film studies, and literature in the creative arts programs at Princeton. Juniors Lynse Cooper, Gerson Leiva, and Amalya Megerman and sophomore Sydney King received grants ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 from the Lucas Summer Fellowship Award established in 2004 by Herbert L. Lucas, Class of 1950 and presented annually to Program in Visual Arts students for summer thesis work in any medium.
In addition, 30 students received support through the Peter B. Lewis Summer Fund with grants ranging from a few hundred dollars to $5,000.