ST. PAUL, MINN.: Penumbra Theatre Company co-artistic Sarah Bellamy has been named a 2015 Bush Fellow, presented by the Bush Foundation. The fellowship will provide $100,000 over two years to help her develop her leadership skills; Bellamy was the only fellow recognized in the field of theatre.
The fellowship recognized 23 leaders in a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds who live in one of the 23 Native nations in Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota. Bellamy currently leads the Minneapolis-based Penumbra theatre alongside her father, Penumbra founder Lou Bellamy.
“The Bush Fellowship really allows you space for discovery,” Bellamy told American Theatre. “And it gives you a financial platform to do that exploration. It’s afforded me the opportunity to do something I want to do, but I wouldn’t be able to do as broadly without the support. It brings some of my goals closer within reach.”
As a Bush Fellow, Bellamy will focus on social and economic equity, and how to incorporate that within Penumbra’s work. Penumbra is one of the leading African-American theatres in the country.
“I’m very interested in talking with leaders outside the theatre field about how to put advocacy and activism front and center in Penumbra’s mission,” Bellamy explained. “I plan to draw on a wide swath of very talented people from across the country to glean the best thinking there. Social justice and equity has always been at the core of Penumbra’s mission, but 40 years after its founding, I’m able to step out on that in a lot more of a bold way than my father was able to when the company was founded. So we’re going to be focusing hard on racial equity.”
Playwright August Wilson is also a former Bush fellow. The 2015 fellows were chosen from a pool of 600 applicants. The Bush Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth.
“We are thrilled to invest in this extraordinary group of leaders,” said Bush Foundation president Jennifer Ford Reedy in a statement. “Bush Fellows have a unique opportunity to pursue the knowledge, connections and experiences that they believe are necessary to become more effective leaders. Investing in individual leadership is investing in the future well-being of our region. The extraordinary accomplishments of Fellows over the last 50 years are a testament to that.”