MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 9, 2014) — The Loft Literary Center is excited to announce recipients of the 2014 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowships: Nimo Farah (Minneapolis), Nikki Patin (Chicago), and Christy Namee Eriksen (Juneau). Alternate Tria Andrews was also named.
The three recipients were selected from a pool of many qualified applications from all over the United States. They will receive up to $7,000 in support of a self-defined project and will perform at the Loft as part of its Equilibrium Spoken Word series.
The winning projects include:
• Nimo Farah, Minneapolis, who will foster artistic growth, develop mentorships, and create a bilingual spoken word CD for the Somali community.
• Nikki Patin, Chicago, will develop a spoken word project to create space for testimonies about sexual violence, build skills to elevate those testimonials to art, help survivors access and augment the confidence to perform their pieces to live audiences, and support them in the aftermath of coming out as survivors.
• Christy Namee Eriksen, Juneau, Alaska, will produce a multi-city workshop and performance project working with Korean Adoptee populations to network, create space, and enact social and public policy change.
The Immersion Fellowships and Spoken Word
From Native storytelling to kwv kxhiaj (traditional Hmong poetry chanting), from rap to hip hop, spoken word lies at the intersection of community, individual life experience, and art. This art form has long been misunderstood, misrepresented, and pushed to the margins of the literary world.
Defined by dynamic, interactive literary performance rich with cultural commentary, the Loft recognizes spoken word as its own genre. For a decade, the Loft has presented Equilibrium, a spoken word performance series in which artists of color engage audiences in provocative issues. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits honored Equilibrium with its Nonprofit Mission Award for Anti-Racism.
The Immersion Fellowships will support artists of color or indigenous descent in self-designed projects that help them better understand the communities and issues that inform their work. Examples of projects might include a month-long mentorship with elders on a reservation or a series of performances and discussion in a neighborhood market. The goal is to buy artists time to work, to advance and catalyze their artistic development, and to increase exposure to the art of spoken word.
This program is made possible by a major grant from the Surdna Foundation and by the generous support of Loft members. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster just and sustainable communities in the United States—communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.
For five generations, since 1917, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity. More information is available at www.surdna.org.
Incorporated in 1975, The Loft Literary Center is one of the nation’s leading independent literary centers. The Loft advances the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature.