Quick Center Receives $300K Mellon Foundation Grant

Quick Center Receives $300K Mellon Foundation Grant

Image of nora chipaumire

In March, dance artist nora chipaumire will begin a three-month "bubble" residency at the Quick Center.

The award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was made in response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and will fund a three-month “bubble” residency at the Quick for nora chipaumire and her dance company.

Thanks to generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts will host artist nora chipaumire and 15 dance company members for a “bubble” residency from March 15 to June 15, 2021.

As the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities, the Mellon Foundation has awarded this $300,000.00 grant to the Quick Center as part of a $4 million distribution to help more than 360 dance artists and collaborators return to work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Quick’s Executive Director Peter Van Heerden said, “It is an honor to receive this support from the Mellon Foundation, especially in this challenging moment. The opportunity provided by this support is monumental in that it brings artists back to the stage and provides opportunity for the creation of work in a moment when spaces are closed and artists are waiting to work.” 

During this new “bubble” residency, stringent safety protocols will protect the artists and community members through testing, temperature checks, and health surveys, while ensuring safe studio and theatre space for nora chipaurmire and her company to work as artists-in-residence at the Quick Center.

Covid, with its lockdowns, limited engagements, and social distance, has forced arts organizations to reimagine themselves,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Richard Greenwald, PhD. I am so very proud that Mellon has the faith in our creative community to house an important pivot towards the reemergence of the arts, ensuring that on our reawakening from Covid the arts are not just present, but speak the full human story powerfully.” 

A longtime supporter of nora chipaumire, the Quick Center previously hosted her for a residency and performance in 2018, and a subsequent two-week residency in fall 2019, during which she began the research phase for NEHANDA, her largest project to date.

Conceived as a radical pedagogical opera, NEHANDA investigates the myth of the legendary female spirit, Nehanda, who was venerated by the Shona people and demonized by the British empire in the late 19th century. The opera is designed as an immersive and durational spectacle that will investigate the process of law-making and its crucial role in the European colonial project.

"The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is proud to support nora's powerful artistic voice and those of her talented collaborators through this extraordinary opportunity at the Quick Center," said Emil Kang, the foundation’s program director for Arts and Culture.

The human body — for chipaumire and for those born without property, name, or class — can be a means of self-invention and self-determination. For her work, which critiques colonialism and complicated notions of spectatorship and power, chipaumire has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a 2018 Guggenheim fellowship, a 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award, and three New York Dance and Performance (aka “Bessie”) Awards.

In addition to creating this new opera which will go on tour in 2022, chipaumire serves as a senior fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences and will engage in virtual educational conversations and programs on campus and in the larger Fairfield and Bridgeport communities, focusing on the themes of NEHANDA.

(Ed. Note: The artist nora chipaumire’s name is intentionally presented above in lowercase, by request.)

Tags:  Top Stories,  College of Arts & Sciences


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