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Choreographer Kathy Westwater Wins Lumberyard's 2017 Solange MacArthur Award

By: Feb. 01, 2017
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Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts (formerly American Dance Institute) is pleased to announce that its Artistic Advisory Board has selected New York City-based choreographer and dancer Kathy Westwater, whose work The Brooklyn Rail has described as "at the limits of the human," as the winner of the 2017 Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography.

The organization will provide Westwater with $10,000 in commissioning funds, fee-free fiscal sponsorship, strategic marketing and development support, and a presentation of the commissioned work in the 2018-19 season.

The annual Solange MacArthur Award reflects Lumberyard's vital role in supporting the creation of new work by American performing artists. Lumberyard's Artistic Advisory Board-including Brian Brooks, Jane Comfort, David Dorfman, Doug Elkins, Dan Hurlin, Jodi Melnick, David Neumann and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar-selects the winner following a closed nomination process. Previous recipients include Raja Feather Kelly (2016), Steven Reker (2015) and Chris Schlichting (2014).

Lumberyard Executive & Artistic Director Adrienne Willis said, "Lumberyard is dedicated to supporting artists as they challenge themselves, audiences and their art form, and the SolangeMacArthur Award serves our core mission to enable performing artists to make the work they have imagined."

Westwater said, "I am honored and grateful to receive this award, especially because it was recommended by a group of artists I admire and respect. The commitment that Lumberyard makes to the creation of new work is felt. This will enable me to realize a project I've imagined and I can't wait to begin. There are many who make what I do possible-dancers, colleagues, collaborators, family, teachers, students, arts workers and audience-and to them I am also deeply grateful."

About Kathy Westwater

Kathy Westwater's work responds to contemporary experience and the societal landscape in which it manifests by reimagining the body's movement potential. Her major works have explored the built environments of monuments (Anywhere) and landfills and parks (PARK); the phenomena of war and pain (Macho); human and animal culture (twisted, tack, broken); the psycho-physical states of fear (Dark Matter); and interactive virtual environments (The Fortune Cookie Dance). Her work The Fortune Cookie Dance is cited in The Drama Review as an early example of online interactive dance and is archived in the Walker Art Center's Mediatheque Archive. She is currently creating a solo for the revered dancer Wendy Whelan that will premiere at the Met Breuer.

In addition to her own work, Westwater has danced in reconstructions of Forti's groundbreaking works Slant Board and Huddle at Lincoln Center and Steve Paxton's influential Satisfyin' Loverand State at the Museum of Modern Art. She originated roles in Historias and Familias, both by choreographer Merián Soto and visual artist Pepón Osorio, and performed them nationally and internationally. Westwater has also performed in works by Sally Silvers and K.J. Holmes.

Westwater has received commissions from New York Live Arts and Danspace Project; and awards from Puffin Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, Meet the Composer and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is the recipient of numerous residencies: New York Live Arts, Djerassi, Movement Research, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, iLAND, The Field, Rockbridge Artist Exchange, Millay Colony for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Pratt Institute; and was named a Mellon Anchor Tenant Artist by the Joyce Theater Foundation. Early support included space grants from 92nd Street Y Harkness Center and Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and a fellowship from Summer Stages Dance Festival.

Since 2001, Westwater has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, where she previously received her MFA and was awarded the Bessie Schönberg Scholarship. She is also on the faculty of Movement Research, and serves on its Artist Advisory Council. Dedicated to advancing the working conditions of artists, as a founding member of Dancers Forum she co-authored The Compact.

About Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts

Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts, based in New York City and led by Executive and Artistic Director Adrienne Willis, is a national non-profit organization that evaluates the needs of artists throughout their creation process and fills gaps in the structures that exist to support them. Lumberyard welcomes audiences of all experience levels into the inner world of the contemporary performing arts, giving them opportunities to witness the creation, as well as the performance, of new work.

Among Lumberyard's varied and ever-expanding offerings are an acclaimed residency program that gives artists and companies from across the U.S. housing, space, time and other resources to develop new work before a New York or national premiere; a now-annual New York City season of premieres, inaugurated in 2016 at-and returning in 2017 to-The Kitchen; and theSolange MacArthur Award for New Choreography.

Lumberyard has broken ground on a state-of-the-art facility in Catskill, New York. When it opens in the spring of 2018, the four-building facility on the Hudson River waterfront will allow the organization to drastically expand its activities, especially its residency program. Lumberyard will make a significant contribution to the village's revitalization efforts. The complex consists of a main lumberyard building in Catskill and three large adjacent barns along Catskill Creek. There will be a large, column-free, flexible theater, a lobby, administrative offices, housing for up to 20 resident artists, a chef's kitchen, an artist lounge and a public courtyard. Phase II of the project, for which a start date has not been set, encompasses the three adjacent structures, which Lumberyard will develop in collaboration with the Village of Catskill and in line with the Village's Downtown and Waterfront Revitalization Strategy.

Each year in Catskill, Lumberyard will present a summer season consisting of premiere and work-in-progress performances by celebrated professional artists and companies, serving local residents and attracting tourists from across New York and beyond. From October through April, the facility will be available for collaborative residencies, subsidized and commercial rentals, and community programming.

Connect with Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts at, or find them on Facebook:, Twitter: @Lumberyard, and Instagram: