2021 SPROUT FUND RECIPIENTS
Ahn Lee (b: 1993, Los Angeles, CA) is a nonbinary, queer Cantonese artist and researcher. Their interdisciplinary practice of ceramics, media and performance relies on a combined methodology of autobiographical re-making and research on the Cantonese diaspora. As a person of Sunwui (Xinhui) descent, Ahn explores their ancestral roots to this contested site of capitalism and imperialism through leveraging archival research historiography, critical race and gender theory.
Previously, Ahn studied at UCLA as a Eugene V. Cota Robles Graduate Fellow. Her work has been shown at the Root Division, SOMArts, The SF International Asian American Film Festival (CAAMFEST), TranScreen Amsterdam Transgender Film Festival, and as an Emerging Artist with Disabilities Grant recipient and a Creative Capital Artist Training Grant recipient at The Kennedy Center.
Collaboration, education, and community building are central to her creative practice. Blanka Amezkua is a New York City artist, cultural promoter, educator, and project creator. Her work is greatly influenced and informed by folk art and popular culture. Formally trained as a painter, for many years her multidisciplinary practice employed techniques often considered traditional or domestic – primarily embroidery and crochet – to address timely cultural, political, and gender issues.
Blanka currently operates AAA3A(Alexander Avenue Apartment 3A) an artist run project which offers food, dialogue, workshops, and art in her living room in Mott Haven, South Bronx. Mentions of her work and projects can be found in various notable publications including The New York Times, ART NEWS, HYPERALLERGIC, HuffPost Arts, ARTSY, The International Review of African American Art, TimeOut New York, among others. She is an active member and supporter of Running for Ayotzinapa 43, an international community of athletes based in NYC. They run for truth and justice for the Ayotzinapa 43, for the tens of thousands that disappeared in Mexico, and to promote a dialogue and consciousness concerning human rights violations worldwide.
Migguel Anggelo is a Venezuelan-born and Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist. His work explores the intersections of queer, Latino and immigration identities, as well as the role of the artist in contemporary society. Anggelo is a 2020/2021 Resident Artist of the NY Presenters Consortium and was previously a Joe’s Pub Working Group resident in 2019. As a musician, Migguel Anggelo has released two albums (Dónde Estara Matisse and La Casa Azul); as a theater artist, has been awarded residencies to develop new works at MASS MoCA, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, PA and BRIC in Brooklyn, NY. He has been a feature artist in such festivals as Greenwich House Music School’s Uncharted, LPAC’s Rough Draft and Provincetown’s Afterglow and has served as a cultural attaché, under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, in two separate ten-city tours of Russia.
In 2020, Migguel Anggelo released the short film Maid in America as part of National Queer Theater’s Criminal Queerness Festival. He has also personally developed and toured LatinXoxo (2018-2019), a piece which peels back onion layers of personas, “Latin lover” clichés and reckons with the tragic death of his homophobic father. Other work developed by Anggelo includes So Close: Love and Hate (2017), Another Son of Venezuela (2016-2015) and Welcome to La Misa, Baby (2016-2019). His newest work, English with an Accent, is currently in workshop and will preview in Washington D.C. in April of 2022, co-presented by Washington Performing Arts and Gala Hispanic Theatre, with commissioning support from the Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College.
Clifford Bunn was born in Oakland California in 1961. He attended and graduated from Castlemont High School (Oakland). Early in Clifford’s college academic career he studied architecture at Laney Community College and California Polytechnic University in Pomona (California). Of his accomplishments, becoming a father to Marissa, Alicia, and Tyler were his greatest. In 1996 Clifford joined the Oakland Police Department in California where he was awarded numerous awards including “Officer of the Year – Runner Up” in 2007. Clifford retired from the Oakland Police Department in 2014 after a distinguished career.
In June of 2011, he experienced a parent’s worst nightmare with the loss of his beloved 16 year old son Tyler to suicide. Loosing Tyler was a devastating experience to say the least. Out of the loss, Clifford rediscovered art initially as a form of therapy and healing. In 2014 Clifford relocated to the Austin metropolitan area, and in 2017 was accepted into the Studio Art program at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Bachelor of Fine degree in Studio Art in December of 2020, with an emphasis in painting and sculpture. Today Clifford’s art practice focuses on trauma, loss, healing and draws on the experiences of losing a child, but also systemic racism he experienced and observed in his career as an African American police officer in Oakland California.
Clifford’s other passions includes hiking, gardening, and visiting museums.
Iris Lune is a musician and producer living in NYC. She has three EPs and a full length LP under her belt, as well as multiple music videos. Billboard has called her music “a microcosm of swirling, authentic stories […] with a tinge of electro-pop to tie everything together.” Iris Lune’s music is unflinchingly honest and dedicated to a kaleidoscopic vision of the world. By engaging with raw sound objects, the artist brings a unique vision that melds an electronic sound palette and an organic sonic experience.
“Is home a place? A feeling? Can it have the same meaning to different people? What happens when you don’t feel comfortable in your own body — does it feel more like a cage than a home? What happens when you’re far away from the physical place you consider to be home? How do you rebuild your sensation of embrace, of safety, of one of the most fundamental things a human needs to survive? These are all questions I’d like to explore, both personally and within a wider community realm.”
Home is Where is a collaborative project between Lune and ten additional artists (mostly dancers and visual artists) from around the globe. It is a visual album consisting of ten songs that all explore the above ideas on individual, communal and collaborative levels.
Each collaboration will begin with each artist recording sounds from their homes (either a geographical location or objects that give them a sensation of home). Lune will then use these recordings as part of her music. Once the track is completed she will begin the process of creating the visual element. The visuals will be mainly derived from the collaborator’s perspective.
Proceeds from this album will be donated to organizations that are helping people who have been displaced because of Covid-19 and other natural disasters or that work with unhoused communities in NYC.
June Sanregret is a multi-interdisciplinary artist currently living in Southern California. She received her BFA in Sculpture from the University of Oregon. During her undergrad, she explored various textile and sculptural techniques, furthering her interest in soft-sculptures and fiber art. In the summer of 2014, she was awarded a scholarship for the Jacquard Weaving program at the Lisio Foundation in Florence, Italy. June continued her practice at the Vermont Studio Center, and in 2017, was awarded a fellowship to expand her studio practice there.
In the past her work has been a collection of large scale installations and sculptures referencing over-consumption, repetition, material desire and excess. With the onset of the pandemic her work has shifted to a more domestic scale with a focus on punch-needled textiles.
These pieces continue to highlight repetition and sameness; however, a recent diagnosis of stage 3 Breast Cancer has heightened the emphasis in her work on the passing of time. With a year of cancer treatments, and playing the waiting game, these calendar-like forms represent patience and offer a meditative experience for both the maker and viewer.
Sage Love is an award winning filmmaker, photographer and entrepreneur. He has produced numerous films that have gone to film festivals and his photographs have been published on numerous indie magazines. When not making movies Sage is teaching. He teaches at Trey Whitfield Middle School and Goddard Riverside Community center. Representation is a big part to why he makes films and it’s important that the next generation see themselves being represented in the most honest way.
His passion for telling stories was ignited by the death of Trayvon Martin, who was murdered by George Zimmerman. Love’s whole perspective of the system he lives in changed when Zimmerman was found not guilty. That frustration and rage motivated Love to write his first film, and one year later he produced a film entitled HOODY: The Trayvon Martin Experience. The film was released on Trayvon’s birthday, February 5th, 2015, and it has since gone on to screen at 14 film festivals (including one in Finland) and won two awards.
“As a filmmaker, I understand that in order to make a difference, you first have to embody the difference you wish to see.”
Elise Dodeles began her professional artistic career in the seminal group exhibit Part Fantasy at Nicola Tyson’s project space in New York. Dodeles has been a National Artist member of the A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. She received a 2013 Artist’s Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for her series of paintings of Olympic Club boxers and her early work is included in Harmony Hammond’s groundbreaking 2000 survey Lesbian Art in America, published by Rizzoli.
Notable exhibitions have included a solo show as part of the New Jersey Artist series at Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters and the prestigious Aljira National Five. Raised in New York, she did her undergraduate work at Carnegie-Mellon and New York Universities, and obtained her Masters in Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art. In addition to making her art, in 2007 she obtained a Masters in Library and Information Science and worked for many years in University Archives and Special Collections Departments. She is included in the 20th edition of Who’s Who of American Women, and her artwork can be found in personal and institutional collections.
MONSTER FURNITURE (GABE SMOLLER)
Monster Furniture is the moniker of Brooklyn-based recording artist Gabe Smoller. A lifelong multi-instrumentalist, Smoller writes music that spans a multitude of styles. Monster Furniture albums see delicate folk ballads sitting beside fuzzy garage rock, patchworks of disparate styles unified by strong commitments to melody and lyrical concepts. Smoller’s DIY home-recording ethos has allowed him to keep a prolific pace: he has recorded six albums and two EPs as Monster Furniture since 2016.
The new Monster Furniture album is tentatively titled Giant Egg, and it employs a loose (and fantastical) narrative structure. Set within an enormous floating terrarium in outer space, the songs detail a restless power plant technician haunted by the ghost of a childhood friend, his determination to find evidence of animal life within his community, and the inexplicable appearance of a giant egg in his backyard. Inspired in many respects by the sense of containment and self-reflection brought on by the pandemic, these songs are concerned with restlessness, isolation, and companionship.
Unlike his previous work, this album will foreground acoustic instruments and vocal harmonies and minimize amplified instruments. Smoller will zero in on a singular sound and style and avoid some of the genre-hopping, grab-bag quality that has defined earlier Monster Furniture albums. Instead, this album should feel more cohesive, more focused, and more mature.
Partnering with the Russel J. Efros Foundation will allow me to expand on my DIY approach to recording. While I still intend to track the bulk of the album’s instruments and vocals at home and in my practice space, the Sprout Fund will make it possible for me to record drums in a proper studio environment and hire session players to perform some of the album’s more intricate arrangements.
Rachel Linsky is a Boston-based dance artist. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance from Elon University where she graduated summa cum laude. Rachel directs and choreographs ZACHOR, an ongoing project series that seeks to preserve the words of WWII Holocaust survivors through dance. Rachel’s choreography has been presented in national and international dance festivals. She has been awarded funding by Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the City of Boston, and the Russell J. Efros Foundation. Rachel is currently being commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Jewish Arts Collaborative to choreograph a new work for their 2021 Hanukkah celebration. Rachel dances with KAIROS Dance Theater and teaches with Urbanity Dance, Chelsea Theatre Works, and Velocity Dance Company.
Michelle Ekizian’s (American composer/writer/orchestrator/cultural evangelist) catalogue features large-scale musical theater opera/symphonic hybrids of an East/West axis crossing borders for performers of high and popular cultures. Her music has been commissioned for orchestras and ensembles at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the San Francisco Opera House, the Aspen Music Festival and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The Interfaith Committee of Remembrance at New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine (for which she is resident composer since 1995) commissioned her over three-hour “Remembrance” Collection. Honoring victims of the Armenian Genocide and The Holocaust for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation, the music has touched audiences of thousands from all walks of life.
She holds a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University (where she taught core music for ten years), a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Prix de Rome from the American Academy in Rome (where she subsequently served as Vice President of its Society of Fellows), and has received grants and honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mary Flagler Charitable Trust, Soros Foundation and Commerce Bank. She is the recipient of the Lili Boulanger Award from San Francisco’s Women’s Philharmonic, and the IBLA Master Composer’s Award from the Greek Republic.
In fall of 2019, the 90-minute chamber redux—LOVE SONGS SHOWSCAPE—of her forthcoming opera GORKY’S DREAM GARDEN was presented by Newark Museum of Art. Its documentary filming was selected for screening on the 2020 Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival and received its Grand Finale Award.