June 3, 2020

Lewis Center for the Arts awards over $105,000 for summer projects in the arts to 49 Princeton students

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University announces more than $105,000 in awards to support the summer projects and research of 49 Princeton undergraduates, chosen from 90 applicants. Although all first, second, and third-year student-artists are eligible to apply, for many of the award recipients, the funding provides vital resources to conduct research, undertake training, and pursue other opportunities critical to achieving their senior thesis project goals in the arts.  The grants range from $300 to $7,500.

Students were applying for summer funding in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. Many proposals include traveling domestically or internationally and in-person learning with professional artists and through intensive group workshops. Students had to revise their proposals in response to restrictions imposed by the pandemic. In addition, grantees are being given an extended period to complete their funded work through the fall semester and during Wintersession in January.

Three students — Sophie Blue, Hamza Hashem, and Adia Weaver — 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 $7,500 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.

“The Alex Adam ’07 Award was created to honor the memory of a talented young writer and theater maker,” said Tracy K. Smith, Chair of the Lewis Center. “Through the generosity of the Adam family, current students are afforded the opportunity to spend a summer in pursuit of artistic dream projects. Over the years, this award has deepened the creative practice of a great many developing artists.”

sophie smiling in black tank

Princeton student Sophie Blue. Photo by Rachel Neville

Sophie Blue, a rising senior concentrator in the Department of Anthropology pursuing a certificate in the Program in Dance, will be working on an independent creative project consisting of movement and ethnographic research for her dance and anthropological senior theses. In order to refine choreographic approaches in preparation for her senior dance thesis, she will be using the funds to rent a dance studio and curate a digital training and mentorship program. In this environment, she will work one-on-one with prominent dancers, choreographers and arts administrators within the dance community, who will directly advise her and analyze her work and creation process. These virtual one-on-one creation training sessions will be combined with virtual dance intensives (or in-person if social distancing protocols allow), mentorship interviews and potentially a “Dance on Camera” online class to allow summer research into the dance community to be as multidimensional as possible.

hamza in black shirt in front of green ivy

Princeton student Hamza Hashem. Photo courtesy Hamza Hashem

Hamza Hashem, a rising senior also majoring in anthropology and pursuing a certificate in the Program in Creative Writing, will spend the year conducting digital and in-person fieldwork with Arab micro-communities. Hashem is focusing on the anthropology of speech, and he plans to use his research to write both a book of short stories and an ethnography. He is interested in theories of American empire, looking at how Arab micro-communities grapple with questions of modernity, cultural heritage and cultural assimilation. He plans to spend the summer doing archival research, looking into different Arab histories that challenge problematic conceptions of “progress” that position the Global South as “behind,” while also conducting digital ethnography, learning from Arab micro-communities on social media and blog websites. Hashem hopes to combine his research experiences with his own personal experiences to write stories that depict and humanize the complexities of Arab existence in ways that academia cannot. He plans to continue this research during winter break, conducting in-person ethnographic research. 

adia smiling in black tee in front of green trees

Princeton student Adia Weaver. Photo by KJ Weaver

Rising senior Adia Weaver is a concentrator in the Department of Anthropology and pursuing a certificate in the Program in Visual Arts. She plans to explore digital media platforms, artificial intelligence, and the revisualization of reparations. Her research activities will include historical investigation into various archives, data collection and visualization, and coursework on culture and communication. Throughout the project, she will explore the intersection of image, time, and identity using storytelling mediums across platforms. By the end of the summer, she will produce a virtual capstone that encompasses photography, film, and interactive design.

Rising seniors Ysabel Ayala and Lucy Chuang have been selected for funding through the Mallach Senior Thesis Fund. This award, established by Douglas J. Mallach ’91, supports the realization of one or two proposed senior thesis projects that incorporate historical research and create an alternative path to learning history.

Rising junior Javin Lu has been awarded a grant 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 Alejandro Roig and Raya Ward 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 senior Zhamoyani McMillan has 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 junior Kelly Morrissy is the recipient of the Lucas Summer Fellowship, which is presented annually to one or more visual arts concentrators for summer thesis work in any media.

Rising senior Katharine Matthias and rising junior Reed Leventis have 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 senior Noa Wollstein and rising sophomore Julia Stahlman are 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.

Thirty-five students have received support through the Peter B. Lewis Summer Fund, with grants ranging from $300 to $4,700.

In addition to funding, the Lewis Center has also established paid internships and research assistant positions for Princeton students for this summer to assist faculty and guest artists with a number of projects and initiatives. 

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, most of them free, visit

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