Arts News: QUEER/ART/MENTORSHIP Announces Its 2015-2016 Fellowship Winners


Queer/Art/Mentorship, the multi-disciplinary, inter-generational arts program that pairs and supports mentorship between emerging and established LGBTQI artists in NYC, has announced today the eleven Fellows accepted for its 2015-2016 Annual Mentorship Cycle.  unnamed

Each of the Queer/Art/Mentorship Fellows selected (above) is paired with an established New York-based artist within their creative field for the yearlong mentorship. The relationship that develops aims to support the artistic and professional practice of the Fellow, as well as to develop community-wide conversations about what it means to generate and curate queer work in New York City and beyond.

The Fellows chosen in five artistic disciplines are Monstah Black, Eva Peskin and Justine Williams in Performance; Jacob Matkov and Brendan Williams-Childs in Literary; Rodrigo Bellott, Erin Greenwell and Mylo Mendez in Film; Caroline Wells Chandler and Doron Langberg in Visual Arts; and Hugh Ryan in Curatorial.qam.41.53 AM

The Mentors they will be working with for the 2015-2016 Fellowship year are Arthur Aviles and Talvin Wilks in Performance; Jaime Manrique and Sarah Schulman in Literary; Thomas Allen Harris, Silas Howard and Stacie Passon in Film; Angela Dufresne and Avram Finkelstein in Visual Arts; and Shannon Michael Cane in Curatorial.

The 2015-2016 Queer/Art/Mentorship Fellows are:

Rodrigo Bellott was born in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. His breakout film, Sexual Dependency, won over 15 awards in over 65 film festivals around the world and was also Bolivia’s first film competing for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the 2004 Academy Awards. VARIETY magazine named Bellott as one of the “TOP TEN Latin American Talents to Watch”. Bellott will be working with Mentor, filmmaker Silas Howard on the film adaptation of his play Tu Me Manques, that explores contemporary queer identity in the moment of historical change in contrast with the current situations in other parts of the world.

Monstah Black is a multi-disciplinary performing artist and educator and has accumulated numerous awards including the Tom Murrine Performance Award and the BRIC Media Arts Fellowship. He has taught and performed internationally with various dance companies as well as with his own work. He is currently working on a dance film project called “Cotton” sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts. Monstah will be working with Mentor, dancer and choreographer Arthur Aviles on a performance project entitled HYPERBOLIC!.

Caroline Wells Chandler is a MFA recipient in painting at the Yale School of Art where he was awarded the Ralph Mayer Prize for proficiency in materials and techniques. With shows nationally and internationally, Chandler’s latest body of work entitled “The Best Little Whore House in Texas” opens this fall at the Roberto Paradise Gallery in San Juan, PR. Chandler will be working with Mentor, visual artist Angela Dufresne on a series of crocheted figurative works and resin paintings.

Erin Greenwell wrote and directed the feature film My Best Daywhich premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Her other directing endeavors include Oh Come Ona punk DIY performance video for Kathleen Hanna’s band The Julie Ruin and The Golden Age of Hustlers featuring Justin Vivian Bond‘s remake of the iconic song written by legendary punk chanteuse Bambi Lake. In 2006, Greenwell formed Smithy Productions, a production company, with the aim of cultivating talents from the queer/independent art community under the umbrella of narrative and documentary storytelling. Greenwell will be working with Mentor, director and screenwriter Stacie Passon to develop her narrative feature length script, The Flight Deck, based on the butch/femme lesbian bar scene in Buffalo, NY during the 1950s.

Doron Langberg was born in Israel, and currently lives and works in Queens, NY. He received his MFA from Yale University and holds a BFA from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certificate from PAFA. He is a recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant and the Yale Schoelkopf Travel Prize, named as a NYFA Painting Finalist. Langberg’s work was featured in New American Paintings and is in the permanent collection of the PAFA Museum. Langberg will be working with Mentor, visual artist and writer Avram Finkelstein on a series of paintings.

Jacob Matkov writes poetry in Brooklyn, NY where he teaches first year writing and is the coordinator of the English/Creative Writing graduate programs at LIU Brooklyn. He is a co-founding editor of visceral brooklyn and his poems have been published in fields magazinevoicemail poems,Maudlin HousethosethatthisDowntown Brooklyn and others. He received his BA from Arcadia University and his MA and MFA both at LIU Brooklyn. Matkov will be working with Mentor, author Jaime Manrique on a manuscript of poems examining the experience of trauma.

Mylo Mendez is a Texas-born video artist currently based in Brooklyn. Hir work uses humor, narrative, and characters with aberrant bodies to navigate identity, social and geographical borders, and history. Mendez has been featured in group shows in New York City and Austin. Ze received hir MFA from Parsons The New School for Design. Mendez will be working with Mentor, filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris on a film about the intersection of trans and punk identities and communities in New York City.

Eva Peskin & Justine Williams are interdisciplinary artists, performers and culture producers. Joint project, Nothing to See Here is perfect example of their use of civic multi-media performance engaging audience-participants dystopia (co-created with Vanessa Gilbert). Peskin is a member of ANIMALS Performance Group and teaches critical media literacy with The Learning About Multimedia Project while Williams is working on New Mystical Readers, a series of queer vision quests incorporating Jungian archetype theories, quizzes, collage, and stop-motion video. Peskin and Williams will be working with Mentor, playwright, director and dramaturg Talvin Wilks on a performance that rethinks the oath of the first Boy Scout Handbook, questioning accountability, community service and self development with an ethical lens rooted in queer, feminist and anti-racist thought.

Hugh Ryan is a writer and curator in New York City, whose work focuses on queer politics, culture, and history. He is the Founding Director of the  Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, sits on the Board of QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, and has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Bennington. Ryan will be working with Mentor, curator Shannon Michael Cane on a forthcoming show of outsider art at La MaMa Galleria.

Brendan Williams-Childs is a short-story writer from Wyoming. His work has appeared on NPR and in Midwestern Gothic Issue Literary Journal. In 2013, he was awarded the Larry Neal Writers’ Award. He co-edits the very small zine and chapbook press Cheap Dates Press. Williams-Childs will be working with Mentor, author Sarah Schulman on an anthology of speculative short stories.

Founded in 2011 by filmmaker Ira Sachs and Pilobolus Co-Executive Director Lily Binns, the program has established itself as an ongoing force within the city’s LGBTQI and arts communities, with an expanding series of public events and exhibitions. The program is a year in length and is largely driven by the unique character of each of the mentor/fellow pairs according to their respective needs and habits of communication, although once-a-month meeting commitments will be suggested. The program coordinators engage in an ongoing dialogue with the mentors and fellows in an effort to ensure that the program best serve its participants.

The entire group of mentor/fellow pairs will also convene for three short meetings throughout the cycle. The goal of the limited group-wide meetings is to encourage dialogues between all levels of participants and between all disciplines. It has been shown in a variety of fields that implement mentor programs that the mentor-to-mentor dialogue that occurs in mentor programs is as significant to the program’s success in developing the field as any that occurs directly between mentor and mentee.

Fellows apply to Queer/Art/Mentorship with a specific project that they would like to undertake during the course of the mentorship. Projects may be in-progress, and they do not need to be “finished” by the end of the program. Proposing a project is a way to introduce oneself to potential mentors, and working on that project in dialogue with a mentor is a way to focus the development of the relationship. Keeping Queer/Art/Mentorship project-based will also provide a manner by which to assess, and modify if necessary, the program’s long-term effectiveness in facilitating and supporting the actual creation of new work.

Queer/Art/Mentorship is one of several ongoing programs run by the larger Queer/Art organization that includes the popular Queer/Art/Film series held monthly at the IFC Film Center in New York. For more information about this and past years’ Fellows and Mentors, visit the program’s website at Queer/Art/Mentorship.