(LEFT) Raja Feather Kelly. Photo credit: Thomas Dunn (RIGHT) eddy kwon. Photo courtesy of eddy kwon
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- Choreographer and director Raja Feather Kelly and musician and interdisciplinary artist eddy kwon have been named Princeton University Arts Fellows for 2023-2025 by the Lewis Center for the Arts and will begin two years of teaching and community collaboration at the University in September.
The Arts Fellows program of the Lewis Center provides support for early-career artists who have demonstrated both extraordinary promise and a record of achievement in their fields with the opportunity to further their work while teaching within a liberal arts context. Funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the David E. Kelley ’79 Society of Fellows Fund, and the Maurice R. Greenberg Scholarship Fund, fellows are selected for a two-year residency to teach a course each semester or, in lieu of a course, to undertake an artistic assignment that deeply engages undergraduate students, such as directing a play, conducting a musical ensemble, or choreographing a dance piece. Fellows are expected to be active members of the University’s intellectual and artistic community while in residence, and in return, they are provided with the resources and spaces necessary for their work.
The two artists were selected by faculty in the Lewis Center for the Arts and Princeton’s Department of Music from a large, diverse, and multi-talented pool of more than 400 applicants in dance, music, creative writing, theater, and the visual arts.
“Coming out of the pandemic, the work of this year's applicants was strikingly innovative and groundbreaking,” notes Stacy Wolf, Director of Fellowships, Professor of Theater and American Studies, and Director of the Program in Music Theater. “Raja and eddy will be phenomenal additions to our community as artists and as teachers, and we’re thrilled to support their work for the next two years.”
Raja Feather Kelly is a choreographer, director, and the founding artistic director of the feath3r theory, a Brooklyn-based dance-theater-media company. Over the past decade he has created 16 critically acclaimed evening-length works with the feath3r theory, most recently UGLY part 3: BLUE; Bunny, Bunny; and Scenes for an Ending, created in collaboration with musician Emily Wells. Kelly choreographed the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical A Strange Loop for which he was a finalist for the 2019 Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s Joe A. Callaway Award and hailed by The New York Times as the choreographer who “can make your play move.” His off-Broadway credits include Macbeth In Stride, We're Gonna Die in his directorial debut, On Sugarland, SUFFS, and Lempicka. His other theater credits include choreography for Skittles Commercial: The Musical, The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente, Everyday Afroplay, Electric Lucifer, The House That Will Not Stand, Fireflies, If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka, The Good Swimmer, Faust, The Listeners, and GURLS, which had its first performance at the opening festival of the Lewis Arts complex at Princeton. Kelly is the recipient of fellowships or grants from the Mellon Foundation, Jerome Hill, New York Live Arts, National Dance Project, Kickstarter, New York University, The Yard, ImPulsTanz Festival, and New York Foundation for the Arts. His awards include an OBIE Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for choreography for A Strange Loop, a New York Dance Performance “Bessie” Award, three Princess Grace Awards, a Creative Capital Award, and Dance Magazine's inaugural Harkness Promise Award, among others. He was featured on the cover of the February 2020 issue of Dance Magazine.
eddy kwon is a violinist, vocalist, and interdisciplinary artist based in Lenapehoking, or New York City. Her practice connects composition, improvisation, movement, and ceremony to explore transformation and transgression, ritual practice as a tool to queer ancestral lineage, and the use of mythology to connect, obscure, and reveal. As a composer-performer and improviser, she is inspired by Korean folk timbres and inflections, textures and movement from natural environments, and American experimentalism as shaped by the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Her work as a choreographer and movement artist embodies an expressive release and reclamation of colonialism’s spiritual imprints, connecting to both Japanese Butoh and a lineage of queer trans practitioners of Korean shamanic ritual. kwon is a United States Artists Ford Fellow, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Robert Rauschenberg Awardee in Music/Sound, Van Lier Fellow and Resident Artist at Roulette Intermedium, Johnson Fellow at Americans for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Artist-in-Residence at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Hermitage Fellow, and a recipient of the National Performance Network Creation Fund Award. She was described as “absolutely stunning” in a feature in Wire Magazine and was listed as one of the Washington Post’s “22 for ’22: Composers and performers to watch this year.” In addition to an evolving, interdisciplinary solo practice, she collaborates with artists of diverse disciplines, including The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Du Yun, Holland Andrews, Tomeka Reid, Kenneth Tam, Isabel Crespo Pardo, Lester St. Louis, Mariah Garnett, International Contemporary Ensemble, and as a member of the artist collective Juni One Set with Senga Nengudi and Degenerate Art Ensemble co-directors Haruko Crow Nishimura and Joshua Kohl. As a violinist, violist, and/or vocalist, she has performed alongside Roscoe Mitchell, Moor Mother, Mary Halvorson, Nicole Mitchell, Cory Smythe, Susan Alcorn, Carla Kihlstedt, Jessika Kenney, and others.
“Raja and eddy are transformative artists who work within and across multiple media and artistic lineages to open new spaces of possibility,” said Judith Hamera, chair of the Lewis Center. “We look forward to the generative conversations and energies their work will inspire during their time with us and are eager to welcome them to our community.”
The next round of Fellowship applications will open in July with a mid-September deadline. Guidelines will be posted on the Lewis Center website.
For questions about the Fellowship program, write to email@example.com.