Lewis Center for the Arts Announces Princeton University Fellows

The selected fellows will teach courses and lead artistic projects with undergraduate students during two-year residencies.

PRINCETON, N.J.: The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University has announced the recipients of the Princeton University Arts Fellows for 2017-19. The fellows were selected from a pool of more than 740 applicants in dance, music, creative writing, theatre, and the visual arts. This year’s theatre recipients are lighting and projection designer David Bengali, performance artist and poet Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, and writer Erika L. Sánchez.

Erika Sánchez. (Photo by Robyn Lindeman)

The selected participants will serve a two-year residency at Princeton University to teach a course each semester or to undertake an artistic assignment that will engage the undergraduate students.

“David, Jaamil, and Erika were selected among a competitive pool of hundreds of applications across artistic fields,” said Stacy Wolf, director of fellowships, professor of theatre, and director of the program in music theatre, in a statement. “After meeting them, we knew that they would be wonderful additions to Princeton’s community over the next two years. We’re eager to welcome them as new colleagues.”

Bengali is a New York City-based lighting and projection designer. His recent design credits include The Temple Bombing at Alliance Theatre, Uncommon Sense at Tectonic Theater Project, and The Tempest at Classic Stage Company, among others. As an associate designer, he worked on the Broadway productions of The Last Ship, Amélie, and Dear Evan Hansen, and La Donna Del Lago at the Metropolitan Opera. He received a B.S.E. in computer science and certificates in theatre and Italian from Princeton, and he received his MFA in design for stage and film at New York University.

Kosoko is a Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist from Detroit.  He is a 2017 Jerome artist-in-residence with Abrons Arts Center, and a 2017 Association of Performing Arts Presenters Leadership Fellow. Past accolades include serving as a 2015 American Express Leadership Fellow, a 2012 Live Arts Brewery Fellow as part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, and a 2011 Fellow as part of the DeVos Institute of Art Management at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is also the recipient of the 2016 U.S. Artists International Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and his newest performance work #negrophobia received a 2016 New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award nomination. He has held producing and curatorial positions at New York Live Arts, 651 Arts, and the Watermill Center. Kosoko was an inaugural graduating member of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.

Sánchez, a poet, essayist, and fiction writer, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She is the author of a young adult novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and the poetry collection Lessons on Expulsion. Her poetry has appeared in Boston Review, Guernica, Paris Review, Poetry, and other publications. She has received a CantoMundo Fellowship, a Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Madrid, Spain, and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Sánchez holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MFA from the University of New Mexico.

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