The Alliance for Young Artist & Writers is proud to introduce Erica Berry, Trace DePass, Erick A. Hernandez, Kira Keck, Lynn Kim, and Grace Sachi Troxell as its 2019 Alumni Microgrant recipients, selected by judge Kenseth Armstead. Currently in its fourth year, the Alumni Microgrant Program awards up to $1,000 to support the projects of past Scholastic Art & Writing Awards recipients in any and all creative fields. Read on to learn more about the inspired projects of these artists and writers.

Erica Berry (’09): Light Years: 2040
Website: www.ericaberry.com
Erica Berry is a writer and journalist born in Portland, OR. Berry will use her Alumni Microgrant to continue work on Light Years: 2040, a project that combines fragments of images and text to capture the uncanny anxiety of growing up in the Anthropocene. The project’s title refers to a 2018 IPCC report that listed 2040 as a likely tipping point for intensified climate catastrophe, and Berry’s work interrogates how we relate to our awareness of this pending future. With the Microgrant funds, Berry will travel to Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument—one of the only “dark sky sanctuaries” unaffected by light pollution in America.

Organization and book by Trace DePass

Organization and book by Trace DePass

Trace DePass (’15): SouthSide Thrives in solidarity with SouthSide
Trace DePass is the author of Self-portrait as the space between us (PANK Books, 2018), editor of the 2017 edition of the Scholastic Awards’ annual anthology, The Best Teen Writing, and a 2018 Poets House & Teaching Artist Project Fellow. He served as the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens, NY. DePass will use his Alumni Microgrant funds to complete a number of projects connected to the start-up SouthSide Thrives (of which he is a co-founder) and his debut book, Self-portrait as the space between us. He will be developing a curriculum for Southeast Queens teachers and teachings artists, continue leading “Let’s Talk” town meetings, and developing programming for SouthSide Thrives, as well as submitting his book to various literary awards for consideration.

Artwork by Erick A. Hernandez

Artwork by Erick A. Hernandez

Erick A. Hernandez (’12): Large painting-installation at Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program
Website: www.erickalejandrohernandez.com
Erick A. Hernandez was born in Matanzas, Cuba. He immigrated to Peru at an early age, and later moved to Miami, FL. In 2017 he received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he majored in painting. Currently, Hernandez is a resident in the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in Brooklyn, NY. As a recipient of an Alumni Microgrant, he plans to create a large multimedia installation inspired by his recent trip to Cuba. Integrating his feelings on the country’s current political situation, and methods of storytelling observed in medieval frescoes, Hernandez’s immersive project will bring into question the topics of physical and emotional dislocation, exile, mental health, cultural heritage, and the experience of loss.

Detail of plaid woven by Kira Keck

Detail of plaid woven by Kira Keck

Kira Keck (’12): FLAGGING: Lesbian Flannel
Website: www.kirakeck.com
Kira Keck is a queer artist-weaver currently based in Columbus, OH. In 2016 they earned a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and were awarded a Windgate Fellowship administered through The Center for Craft, Creativity, & Design. Keck’s Alumni Microgrant project, “FLAGGING: Lesbian Flannel,” will focus on flannel as a cliché and symbol of pride of women loving women. They plan to design a tartan-style plaid to represent the stereotypical lesbian identity as solidified in the second half of the 20th century; the design will then be handwoven into cloth for garments such as flannel shirts and kilts.

Drawing for animation sequence test by Lynn Kim

Drawing for animation sequence test by Lynn Kim

Lynn Kim (’09): yellow
Website: www.lynn-kim.com
Lynn Kim is a queer Korean-American filmmaker. She utilizes experimental animation and live-action techniques to create films that explore themes of gender, sexuality, and race. Kim’s Alumni Microgrant will support the creation of her experimental film yellow over the summer this year. yellow will explore the color yellow through a racial lens, and interrogate the many meanings of the color through its evocation and prevalence in nature, psychology, food, geography, and language. Kim also plans for yellow to draw upon her experience as a member of the Korean diaspora and living as a “yellow” person.

Sculptures by Grace Sachi Troxell

Sculptures by Grace Sachi Troxell

Grace Sachi Troxell (’07): Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi & Willapa Bay AiR
Website: www.gracesachitroxell.com
Grace Sachi Troxell is a Brooklyn, NY-based artist. She received her BS from Skidmore College in Studio Art and a postgraduate certificate from the Glasgow School of Art in Painting. With funding from the Alumni Microgrant Program, Troxell will travel to and from her upcoming residencies at Willapa Bay AiR and Djerassi, and purchase materials. While in residence, she will explore the possibility and poetic potential of mooring rope, clay, handmade paper, textiles, and steel as a warp and weft in space; she envisions creating a series of three large scale sculptural drawings in space exploring the notion of where a line can go.

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