Bard Fisher Center Receives Major Funding To Support Fellowships Through Live Arts Bard Program

Bard Fisher Center Receives Major Funding To Support Fellowships Through Live Arts Bard Program

The second season of Live Arts Bard (LAB), a program of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, provides residencies for six American artists and ensembles making work that spans and transcends the fields of theater, performance, dance, music, film, and live art. Spring 2014 resident artists are Sarah Michelson, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Geoff Sobelle, and Nilaja Sun. John Kelly and RoBert Woodruff were LAB resident artists in fall 2013.

In support of integrating artists in to the liberal arts college environment, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to support residencies for six choreographers over four years as part of LAB. The grant significantly expands the program's capacity to integrate choreographers into the life of the College, with opportunities for choreographers to work with students in a variety of arts and non-arts disciplines. Sarah Michelson will be the first choreographer to benefit as she begins a four-year fellowship to develop a commissioned work through a long-term co-creation process with Bard students and professional dancers. The project will premiere at the Fisher Center in summer 2017. Additional semester-long choreographic fellowships will begin in the 2014-15 season with Jack Ferver and Ralph Lemon.

"We're deeply grateful for this generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation," said Bard College President Leon Botstein. "It will enable Bard to expand on its commitment to offering rigorous programs in the performing arts for our undergraduates, while also supporting working artists through fellowships and the creative interactions that take place in a liberal arts setting." Gideon Lester, Bard's Director of Theater Programs and LAB's curator added: "It's gratifying that a new model for combining pedagogy and professional art-making has received such a vote of confidence from one of this country's leading philanthropies."

LAB was created in September 2012 and is unique among campus-based residency initiatives in creating sustained engagement and mentorship at the intersection of student learning and contemporary professional practice, unrestricted by the bounds of traditional performing arts genres. Through LAB, a community of visiting artists and students work side by side to generate projects and new creative methodologies. In addition to developing new work, LAB visiting artists teach (or co-teach) undergraduate courses in a variety of disciplines, mentor Bard students, and share their process with the College and surrounding community through discussions, workshops, showings, and performances of prior work. The artists of LAB's 2012-13 pilot season included Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, Annie Dorsen and Scott Shepherd, Jack Ferver, Kyle DeCamp, and The Music Tapes.

For the 2014 season, LAB has commissioned Episode 7 of Nature Theater of Oklahoma's lauded multi-disciplinary serial Life and Times. Episode 7 will take the form of a full-length film. Envisioned as a playful homage to the structure and form of Citizen Kane, the work will be developed and shot on location at Bard in the summer of 2014. The company will perform its Romeo & Juliet at the Fisher Center on Feb. 21-23, 2014 and company member Anne Gridley (a 2002 Bard alumna) will teach an undergraduate course in spring 2014.

Theater maker and performer Geoff Sobelle is teaching three undergraduate courses and developed a new touring version of the acclaimed work Elephant Room with collaborators Steve Cuiffo, Trey Lyford, and director Paul Lazar. The new version of Elephant Room premiered at the Fisher Center in December 2013.

Nilaja Sun will teach a course in solo performance in spring 2014 and work with Ron Russell (Epic Theater Ensemble) to develop Pike Street, a new theater work about a Lower East Side family during the 'storm of the century.' Sun performed her Obie Award-winning solo piece No Child... at the Fisher Center in October 2013.

John Kelly taught two undergraduate courses in fall 2013 and used his residency to develop a new installation version of his 2010 Ethyl Eichelberger Award-winning piece The Escape Artist.

In collaboration with Bard's Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities, RoBert Woodruff taught two courses in fall 2013 and developed an original production with students investigating Arendt's writing.

LAB is curated by Gideon Lester (Director of Theater Programs, Bard College) and managed by Bob Bursey (Senior Producer, Fisher Center) and Caleb Hammons (Associate Producer, Fisher Center). A report on the first year of LAB is available at: http://issuu.com/fishercenter/docs/liveartsbard2012-13.

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