Performance artist Aaron Landsman and writer Hanna Pylväinen have been named this year’s Princeton University Fellows in the Creative and Performing Arts and will begin two years of teaching and collaboration in September.
The Fellows in the Creative and Performing Arts program provides support for early-career artists who have demonstrated both extraordinary promise and a record of achievement in their fields with the opportunity to further their work while teaching within a liberal arts context. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Princeton a $3.3 million challenge grant in September 2012 to endow and launch the program, which was matched by an anonymous alumnus. The program is also supported through the $101 million gift from the late Peter B. Lewis, a 1955 alumnus, which established the Lewis Center for the Arts.
Open to artists in all disciplines, fellows are selected for a two-year residency to teach one course each semester or, in lieu of a course, to undertake an artistic assignment, such as directing a play, conducting a student music ensemble, or choreographing a dance with students. Fellows are expected to be active members of the University’s intellectual and artistic community while in residence; in return, they are provided the resources and spaces necessary to their work.
Landsman and Pylväinen were chosen from a pool of almost 450 applicants. Because a visual artist and a musical artist were chosen in 2013, the inaugural year, from a pool of 1,200 applicants, artists in other disciplines were invited to apply this year. “As was the case in our inaugural year, this year’s process was very competitive,” said Michael Cadden, Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. “Reading through the applications, the selection committee was delighted by the rich diversity of the contemporary arts scene reflected there.”
Pylväinen is originally from suburban Detroit. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan, where she was also a postgraduate Zell Fellow. She is the recipient of residencies at Djerassi, The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her first novel, We Sinners, was published by Henry Holt in 2012. In 2012, she received the Whiting Writers’ Award and in 2013 the Balcones Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Chicago Tribune. She currently lives in Brooklyn where she is completing her second novel, The End of Drum Time.
Landsman makes performances that are staged in homes, offices, theaters, buses and other locations. His current work City Council Meeting, created in collaboration with director Mallory Catlett and designer Jim Findlay, has been presented in New York, Tempe, Arizona, and Houston, and will soon be presented in San Francisco and Keene, New Hampshire. His previous work has been commissioned and produced by The Foundry Theatre and PS122 in New York, DiverseWorks in Houston, and KulturaNova in Novi Sad, Serbia. Upcoming projects include a new commission from EMPAC in Troy, New York, in collaboration with filmmaker Brent Green, a play at The Chocolate Factory Theatre in Queens, and a multi-platform work entitled Perfect City. Landsman is a recent artist-in-residence at Arizona State University Gammage in Tempe. Landsman has also worked as an actor with Elevator Repair Service Theater, Julia Jarcho, Richard Maxwell, Tory Vazquez and Deke Weaver.
The inaugural Fellows, graphic design artist Danielle Aubert and musician/composer Jason Treuting, are currently finishing up their first year. Last semester Treuting led a class focused on “The Composer/Performer and Performer/Composer.” In the current semester he is co-teaching a Princeton Atelier entitled “Body, Object, Sound: Translation and the Making of Performance” with visual artist Suzanne Bocanegra and Director of the Program in Dance Susan Marshall. He has also presented a number of concerts with students, other faculty, and his ensemble, So Percussion, in a variety of venues, including the Lucas Gallery at the Lewis Center, Small World Coffee, and the Department of Music’s Taplin Auditorium. Aubert taught “Graphic Design: Visual Form” last semester, where she introduced students to basic book design, video animation, and, with David Sellers, manager of the Typography Studio at Princeton, had students create abstract posters using a letterpress printer. This semester she is teaching “Graphic Design: Circulation” in which students are experimenting with binding and bookmaking techniques and examining examples of alternative publishing at the Graphic Arts collection at Firestone Library. Aubert has also been working with a team in Queens, New York, interviewing residents about their experiences pre- and post-Hurricane Sandy as part of an initiative DESIGN/RELIEF led by AIGA/NY, the professional organization for graphic designers. Her team is designing an outdoor signage and poster campaign that will be deployed in the Rockaways in April and May.
The next round of Fellowship applications will begin in August.