2020 Convening Scholarship Award Recipients Announced

March 11, 2020

Common Field is thrilled to announce the recipients of the fourth Convening Scholarship Award. Funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Convening Scholarship Program aims to support a diverse constituency of national arts organizers working independently and with smaller cultural organizations around the U.S.

25 awardees were selected from a competitive pool of more than 130 applicants representing the artist organization field across the country. The Scholarship, valued at approximately $1,000, includes a Convening Pass, a One-Year Common Field Network membership and an $800 stipend for travel and accommodation.

Each proposal was carefully reviewed by a jury of peers and Common Field Board Members including Jackie Clay (Coleman Center for the Arts), Jessica Lynne (ARTS.BLACK) and Sarah Williams (Women’s Center for Creative Work).

This year’s recipients are:

  • Jamie Grace Alexander, Gender Museum (Baltimore, MD)

  • Blake Allen, New Orleans African American Museum, Research Fellow (New Orleans, LA)

  • Jaime Bailon, The Oxnard Plain, Artist and publisher (Oxnard, CA)

  • Rikki Byrd, Artists in the Room (AIR), PhD Student at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL)

  • Lydia Cheshewalla, PostTraditional, (Tulsa, OK)

  • Pamela Council, Artist (Blaxidermy, US)

  • Jenna Crowder, The Chart, Co-Founding Editor (Portland, ME)

  • Axel Daisy, IMMEDIATE Fashion School, Initiator (Seattle, WA)

  • An Duplan, Recess, Program Manager (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Jayeesha Dutta, Co-Founder, Artist, Cultural Organizer; and Yudith Nieto Organizer, Interpreter, Artist. Another Gulf is Possible (New Orleans, LA)

  • Esther Ervin, James and Janie Washington Foundation (Seattle, WA)

  • R. Josiah Golson, 800 Collective, Civic Artist (Chattanooga, TN)

  • Yvonna J, Elsewhere, Communications Manager (Greensboro, NC)

  • t. tran le, Asian American Writers' Workshop, Public Events & Workshops Coordinator (New York City, NY)

  • April Danielle Lewis, Open Works, Membership Manager ( Baltimore, MD)

  • Kristan H. McKinsey, Illinois Women Artists Project, Director (Peoria, IL)

  • Ashley Stull Meyers, Independent Curator, (Portland, OR)

  • Cassie Mira, The Seattle Residency Project, Artist-in-residence (Seattle, WA)

  • Megan Mueller, ECF Art Centers ( Los Angeles, CA)

  • Sarah Myose, Harvester Arts, Community Fellow (Wichita, KS)

  • Jules Rochielle, Artist (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Daniel Totten, Red Hook Community Center, Makerspace Founder and Program Coordinator (Red Hook, NY)

  • Susie Ximenez, Latinx Project , Founder (Hudson Valley, NY)

  • Nina N. Yeboah, Independent Arts Programmer (Stone Mountain, GA)

More about the Awardees:

Jamie Grace Alexander, Gender Museum (Baltimore, MD)
Jamie Grace Alexander (she/her, they/them) is on the cusp of graduating the University of Baltimore for Nonprofit Management & Community Leadership. She applies her studies as the executive director of the Gender Museum; an accessible online archive of marginalized genders & the truths that they, like all art, illuminate. Her own artistic practice has traveled from poetry into street art as she is constantly seeking new platforms to share ideas with her community.

Blake Allen, New Orleans African American Museum, Research Fellow (New Orleans, LA)
Blake Allen graduated from Loyola University in May of 2019 with a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Global Sociology. As a native of New Orleans and a current resident, Blake found their passion and the heart of their research interests in the intersections of food, environmental, and racial justice and memory.

Blake first worked as a Program Assistant and is now on the board for Urban Conservancy, an urban planning aligned non-profit. Blake has been involved in advocacy projects including the experimental racial and economic-justice pop-up restaurant SAARTJ and the Yes on 2 campaign with the Unanimous Jury Coalition. Now, Blake is the Research Fellow for the newly reopened New Orleans African American Museum. Blake is honored to be able to work to help re-establish the Museum as the institution New Orleans and the Treme neighborhood needs as the city undergoes unprecedented changes.

Jaime Bailon, The Oxnard Plain, Artist and publisher (Oxnard, CA)
Jaime Bailon is a Southern California photographer and publisher based out of Oxnard, CA. Bailon's publishing and curatorial project The Oxnard Plain is an artist-run organization fostering the development of emerging lens-based artists. Through dynamic programming, mentorship and access to workspace, The Oxnard Plain is a center for cultural production within the community. Ranging from publications, conversation series and exhibitions, the core mission is to support and activate a vibrant community through a common visual language. With a strong commitment to education and local heritage The Oxnard Plain showcases the works of young local art makers.

Rikki Byrd, Artists in the Room (AIR), PhD Student at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL)
Rikki Byrd is a writer, educator and scholar, with research interests in black studies, performance studies, fashion studies and art history. Her research has been published (or is forthcoming) in various academic journals and books, and exhibition catalogs. She has also written for Teen Vogue, Artsy, Hyperallergic, and Racked, among several other media outlets. She is the co-founder and editor of the Fashion and Race Syllabus and has lectured and participated in panel discussions with Instagram, Google and The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Parsons School of Design, The Barnes Foundation, Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn and Saint Louis Art Museum. She also co-launched Artists in the Room (AIR) in 2017, a collective that supports emerging black artists in St. Louis by connecting them with professional black artists and arts professionals who visit the city. The collective has connected the St. Louis black arts community with people such as Mickalene Thomas, Sanford Biggers, Larry Ossei-Mensah, and more. She is currently a PhD student in African American Studies at Northwestern University.

Lydia Cheshewalla, PostTraditional, (Tulsa, OK)
Lydia Cheshewalla is an Osage artist with a passion for community, social justice, and environmental activism. The past four years she has led women’s circles and co-founded the art collective Holy Mother, which served to connect, encourage, and support femme-identifying creatives in Tulsa, OK. Collaborating with artists, activists, and organizations within her community, Lydia has striven to facilitate meaningful experiences and generate inclusive narratives through thoughtful art events. She has created and taught art curriculum to children ages 4-12 with the purpose of encouraging curiosity and understanding of our unique place within the symbiotic systems of nature. Currently she works as a studio assistant for multiple artists within the Tulsa Artist Fellowship; serves on the board of PostTraditional, an organization raising the visibility of Indigenous contemporary artists; and leads community conversations around art as remediation and responsible activism in a time of climate change.

Pamela Council, Artist (Blaxidermy, US)
Pamela Council is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist creating fountains for Black joy. Guided by material, cultural, and metaphysical quests, Council’s practice embodies a darkly humorous and inventive Afro-Americana camp aesthetic, BLAXIDERMY. Through this lens, Council uses sculpture, architecture, writing, and performance to shed light on under-examined and under-valued narratives.

Council has created commissions, exhibitions, performances or presentations for: New Museum for Contemporary Art, United States Library of Congress, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Studio Museum in Harlem, and MoCADA. Council has been Artist-in-Residence at MacDowell Colony, Red Bull Arts, Bemis, Rush Arts, MANA, Signal Culture, Mass MoCA, and Wassaic Project. A recipient of the 2017 Joan Mitchell Grant, Council holds a BA from Williams College and an MFA from Columbia University.

Jenna Crowder, The Chart, Co-Founding Editor (Portland, ME)
Jenna Crowder is the Co-Founding Editor of The Chart, an art journal that supports slow, critical artistic dialogue from the margins in the forms of online publishing, annual printed anthologies, and visiting critic programming. Jenna is an interdisciplinary artist and writer working in publication, installation, criticism, and curation as modes of public practice. Her writing has appeared in Art Papers, Temporary Art Review, BURNAWAY, The Rib, and Liminalities: a journal of performance studies, among other places.

Axel Daisy, IMMEDIATE Fashion School, Initiator (Seattle, WA)
Axel Daisy was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. A series of magical events involving jackpots & slot machines led them to Austin, TX where they developed a long record of involvement in the art and fashion communities, as well as over 10 years of experience in fashion education & leadership. Troubled by mass production in the fashion industry, they stopped buying new clothes in 2005, published a book, co-hosted a wearable arts TV show on the DIY Network, curated numerous sustainable fashion events and was one of the original pioneers of the handmade revolution which helped inspire a generation of DIY entrepreneurs. In 2017, they initiated IMMEDIATE Fashion School — an open, itinerant & iterative protocol for everyday creatives who want to playfully challenge dominant systems of fashion through study, art and performance. Axel currently lives in Seattle, Washington and plays guitar in a band called Neat Pinks.

An Duplan, Recess, Program Manager (Brooklyn, NY)
Anaïs Duplan is a trans* poet, curator, and artist. He is the author of a forthcoming book of essays, Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture (Black Ocean, 2020), a full-length poetry collection, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016), and a chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus (Monster House Press, 2017).

Duplan is the founding curator for the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color, based in Iowa City. Duplan’s video work has been shown at Daata Editions, the 13th Baltic Triennial in Lithuania, Mathew Gallery, NeueHouse, the Paseo Project, and will be exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in L.A in 2020. He was a 2017-2019 joint Public Programs Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He now works as Program Manager at Recess and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Poetry at Columbia University.

Jayeesha Dutta, Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative, Co-Founder, Artist, Cultural Organizer (New Orleans, LA) and Yudith Nieto, Another Gulf is Possible, Organizer | Interpreter | Artist (New Orleans, LA)
Jayeesha Dutta is a tri-coastal, nearly tri-lingual Bengali-American interdisciplinary artist, cultural organizer and pop-ed facilitator. She is a co-founding seed member for Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative, galvanizing voices and experiences from across the Gulf South to the Global South working towards a ""just transition"" for our people and the planet. She is an emeritus member of 826 New Orleans co-founding board of directors, current voting member of Alternate ROOTs, and serves on the national steering committee of the Climate Justice Alliance. Jayeesha is an avid traveler, home chef, live music lover, and adores being near (or in) any body of water. She was born in Mobile, raised in New York, aged in Oakland and is deeply grateful to call New Orleans home.

Jayeesha Dutta es un artista interdisciplinario, organizador cultural y facilitador de pop-ed bengalí, bilingüe, casi trilingüe. Es socia co-fundadora de Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative, galvanizando voces y experiencias de todo el Sur del Golfo hacia el Sur Global, trabajando hacia una transición justa para nuestra gente y el planeta. Es miembro emiritus de la junta directiva de cofundadores de “826 New Orleans”, miembro de “Alternate ROOTs”, y es miembro del comité directivo nacional de “Climate Justice Alliance”. Jayeesha es un ávido viajero, chef de casa, amante de la música en vivo y adora estar cerca (o en) cualquier cuerpo de agua. Nació en Mobile, se crió en Nueva York, envejeció en Oakland y está profundamente agradecida de llamar hogar a Nueva Orleans.

YUDITH NIETO is a queer Mexican-American artist and organizer originally based in Houston, Texas, where she advocated for the fenceline community of Manchester in collaboration with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s) Now she’s enjoying spending time in the bayous of Louisiana while forming part of the core leadership circle for Another Gulf Is Possible. Where she also co-founded the Language Justice interpreting collective BanchaLenguas in New Orleans.

She’s worked with frontline communities across the country to create,develop and amplify community-led media around just transition stories, artbuilds in solidarity with intersectional movements for a decolonized direct action approach. She has collaborated on initiatives that focus to create youth leadership and art in activism trainings to teach people about environmental issues that affect their communities through arts, media, Language justice and cultural organizing. Yudith has been named one of top 50 Fixers in 2018.

Esther Ervin, James and Janie Washington Foundation (Seattle, WA)
Esther Ervin is a contemporary visual artist, and jeweler, born in Somerville, New Jersey and now residing in Seattle, Washington after a circuitous migration. Esther’s studies at University of California, the American University of Beirut and California State University culminated in an MFA in Illustration with a bio-medical and sculptural emphasis.

After a mediocre career in insurance and securities, and resettling their disabled mother in New Jersey, Esther was awarded a residency and a Gregory M. Robinson scholarship at Pratt Fine Arts Center where they studied jewelry and metalsmithing. Esther was also awarded a residency at the James W. Washington Foundation where they explored sculpture using found materials. Esther continues to explore new techniques and work in several mediums, often focusing on environmental and political subjects and abstract works.

R. Josiah Golson, 800 Collective, Civic Artist (Chattanooga, TN)
Josiah Golson is an artist, lawyer, and the founder of 800 Collective, which uses art as a means of civic engagement. Developing his artistic voice while studying law at the University of Texas, Golson seeks to foster civic dialogue and agency through creative channels and spaces. Golson’s art sessions and projects throughout the country help unpack communities’ complexities and reveal patterns, connections, and ideas one might otherwise overlook. Golson is the author and illustrator of The Souls of Free Folk (Polyphemus Press, 2018), a genre-blending story inspired by the legacy of Black art and activism. His current project, FESTIVAL: An Aquarian Inquiry, is an art series that explores the artist’s use of popular music in the search and assemblage of identity and community.

Yvonna J, Elsewhere, Communications Manager (Greensboro, NC)
Yvonna, also known as Chemo, is a Black Agender Conceptual Artist and Arts Organizer. They explore themes of gender+sexuality, memory, personal responsibility, divination, and poverty by studying trends in beauty, homemaking, and sustainability in an attempt to make direct links with critical race, gender, and art theory.

t. tran le, Asian American Writers' Workshop, Public Events & Workshops Coordinator (New York City, NY)
t. tran le is a poet from Texas now living in New York. Through their work at the Asian American Writers' Workshop, they have overseen 250+ events & panels that exist at the intersection of social justice & art. Their poems can be found at Kweli Journal, the Breakwater Review, 8Poems, and forthcoming in Apogee. They currently live in Brooklyn, NY with their spouse & three cats.

April Danielle Lewis, Open Works, Membership Manager ( Baltimore, MD)
April Danielle Lewis is an artist, visionary, and community cultivator. Her work explores the intersections of history, place, and identity with a social justice and community building lens. Interventions, performances, installations and experiences are vehicles she uses to express these themes. April earned a degree in art and design with a concentration in printmaking from Towson University and an Associate of Arts degree in visual art from Anne Arundel Community College. She currently serves as the Founding Membership Manager at Open Works, a non-profit makerspace that makes tools, technology and the knowledge to use them accessible to all. Additionally, she volunteers as librarian at the Station North Tool Library and serves on the board of directors at Neighborhood Housing Services Baltimore. April lives and works in Baltimore.

Kristan H. McKinsey, Illinois Women Artists Project, Director (Peoria, IL)
Enjoying and stewarding the arts define Kristan McKinsey. Growing up in India and visiting museums with her older sister instilled a strong interest in arts and culture. She holds a BA in Art History with a Concentration in Asian Studies from Swarthmore College and an MA in Early American Culture from the Winterthur Museum Program at the University of Delaware. Between programs she trained as a modern dancer in New York, supporting herself as a financial analyst.

Degrees in hand, McKinsey enjoyed a 32-year professional museum career in the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Evanston Historical Society outside Chicago, and at the Lakeview Museum of Art and Sciences and its successor, the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Peoria, Illinois. She retired in 2016 to take over the Illinois Women Artists Project, a research and documentation project, and to serve on the boards of local arts organizations.

Ashley Stull Meyers, Independent Curator, (Portland, OR)
Ashley Stull Meyers is a writer, editor, and curator. She has curated exhibitions and public programming for a diverse set of arts institutions along the west coast, including those in San Francisco, CA, Oakland, CA, Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR. She has been in academic residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (Omaha, NE) and the Banff Centre (Banff, Alberta). She is currently a contributing editor for Art Practical and has written for Bomb Magazine, Rhizome, Arts.Black and Flood Magazine. In 2017 Stull Meyers was named Director and Curator of The Art Gym and Belluschi Pavilion at Marylhurst University, and was made co-curator of the 2019 Portland Biennial.

Cassie Mira, The Seattle Residency Project, Artist-in-residence (Seattle, WA)
Cassie Mira is an artist based in Seattle, WA. Her interdisciplinary practice is based in new media, poetry, and performance, plays with human interaction and denatures gendered experience. She is co-curator of Failure to Con/Form, a 2018 Idea Fund recipient project that spotlighted national and local trans, genderqueer, intersex, and gender-non-conforming writers, performers, and visual artists in Houston, Texas. She is currently an artist-in-residence at The Seattle Residency Project.

Megan Mueller, ECF Art Centers (Los Angeles, CA)
Since 1968, the ECF Art Centers have provided adults with developmental disabilities a place to explore their creativity and freedom of expression. At ECF's five art studios located across Los Angeles County, ECF artists are encouraged to communicate their point of view via painting drawing, printmaking, digital art, and ceramics.

Sarah Myose, Harvester Arts, Community Fellow (Wichita, KS)
Sarah Myose is a trans non-binary, queer Asian-American artist-activist hailing from Wichita, Kansas. They are a senior pursuing an Honors Baccalaureate degree with concentrations in studio art and sociology at Wichita State University in Wichita, KS with the intention of creating community art projects that create social change. Currently, they have been awarded the position as a Harvester Arts Community Fellow with Harvester Arts, a local non-profit organization that collaborates with artists and arts organizations to create socially engaged art. As a Harvester Fellow, Sarah will create a two-year campaign to increase voter engagement through community arts-making. This campaign will engage marginalized communities in Wichita, KS, with a focus on Asian and Asian-American immigrants. Sarah has exhibited artwork at local galleries and been involved in the creation of several murals throughout Wichita, KS, including a mural on the Clinton Hall steps at Wichita State University.

Jules Rochielle, Artist (Brooklyn, NY)
Jules Rochielle Sievert works at the intersection of art and activism. From 2017-2019, Jules was a Creative Placemaking Policy Fellow at Arizona State University through the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. They are also the Creative Director at NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law, where they are currently working on a project known as Stable Ground. Stable Ground, is focused on addressing the complex relationship among chronic housing insecurity, its psychologically traumatic impact, and municipal housing policy through participatory community-based art and culture programming. Jules also works In New York as an Artistic Coordinator with More Art’s Engaging Artists Fellowship and Residency program. They also provide coaching to the 2020 Art Fellows at Now and There in Boston, Ma.

Daniel Totten, Red Hook Community Center, Makerspace Founder and Program Coordinator (Red Hook, NY)
Daniel Totten was born, raised, and currently resides in Red Hook, NY. He received his Bachelor in Fine Arts from Alfred University in 2015. Since graduating he has been busy farming, doing odd jobs, and making art. For the last two years he has been a volunteer at the Red Hook Community Center where he founded a Makerspace and acts as a program coordinator. He is currently a youth program coordinator for a small community library and an assistant program coordinator for a Drug Free Communities Grant for a local coalition.

Susie Ximenez, Latinx Project, Founder (Hudson Valley, NY)
Raised in the Hudson Valley, Susie grew up watching her parents navigate a new language in order to provide a better life for their family. She earned her MFA in Fine Art at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, and eventually moved back to New York to raise her daughter. Susie found Latinx Project in 2017, to strengthen the Latinx community through art and community. Susie hopes to combat the stigma behind being undocumented while bridging the gap between the Latinx community and the places they live.

In the last year, Latinx Project has worked with Latino Cultural Study, Arts Mid-Hudson, Adelante Student Voices. Susie is now working on organizing the Creative Market for Women of Color and as program cordinator for Adelante Students a summer camp in NY for undocumented students.

Nina N. Yeboah, Independent Arts Programmer (Stone Mountain, GA)
Nina N. Yeboah is a reader, writer, and cultural worker. She was the 2016 Voices Rising Fellow at Vermont Studio Center and is an alum of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. In 2017, she was a finalist for the Leon Forrest Prose Awards in the nonfiction category. In addition to her writing practice, she is an independent arts programmer. As a six-year resident of Chicago, Nina founded and programmed Chicago Reading Africa and served as a programming team member of the inaugural P.O.W.E.R. Project. Now, in her hometown, Nina serves as the founding organizer of The Free Black Women's Library Atlanta, a pop-up trading library and programming platform centering the work of Black women writers.