OAKLAND, CALIF.: The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has announced the recipients of the second annual Rainin Fellowships: Ryan Nicole Austin (theatre), NAKA Dance Theater (Dance), Brett Cook (Public Space), and Maria Victoria Ponce (Film). Administered by United States Artists, the fellowships are awarded to four artists in the disciplines of Dance, Film, Public Space, and Theatre whose work both defines and preserves the uniqueness of the Bay Area arts ecosystem by pushing the boundaries of creative expression, anchoring local communities, and advancing the field. The fellowships include unrestricted grants of $100,000, as well as supplemental support tailored to address each fellow’s specific goals such as financial planning, marketing assistance, and legal services.
“We are thrilled to announce the second cohort of Rainin Fellows,” said Ted Russell, Kenneth Rainin Foundation Director of Arts Strategy & Ventures, in a statement. “As anchor artists, these fellows and their creative practices speak to both the rich history and bright future of the Bay Area arts ecosystem. It is an honor to celebrate these talented artists, their significant contributions to our community, and the enrichment of the ecosystem in the process.”
Ryan Nicole Austin is a Grammy-nominated performer, writer, director, and activist whose work explores the intersection between art and activism. An advocate for housing justice, Austin has led productions at theatre companies throughout the Bay Area, and is a writer and producer on developmental teams for the upcoming musicals Curren$y and CoFounders and the streaming series American (G)race. Austin is a two-time alumnus of New York’s Public Theater Fellowship #BARS Workshop, facilitated by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs. She has been featured on TEDx San Francisco and ESPN’s NBA at Christmas with Daveed Diggs, and has performed for Google, Sony, LinkedIn, Apple, and Barack Obama.
This year’s fellows were nominated by cultural leaders in the Bay Area and selected through a two-part review process with the help of national reviewers and a panel of four local jurors. The reviewers were Carra Martinez, Danielle Burns Wilson, Leonardo Bravo, Beatrice Loayza, Ianeta Le’i, Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Armando Huipe, David J. Roberts, Pia Kishore Agrawal, Ali Rosa-Salas, Rosie Herrera, and Tara Aisha Willis. The jurors were Deena Chalabi, Rebecca Novick, Rosa Morales, and Yayoi Kambara.
The inaugural Rainin Fellowship class, announced in March 2021, included Amara Tabor-Smith (Dance), Margo Hall (Theatre), People’s Kitchen Collective (Public Space), and Rodrigo Reyes (Film).
The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a family foundation based in Oakland, Calif., that funds creative thinkers in the arts, education, and health. The foundation supports artists in the Bay Area, creates opportunities for Oakland’s youngest learners, and funds researchers on the forefront of scientific discoveries. Since 2009, the Foundation has awarded more than $45 million in funding to support Bay Area arts organizations. As of 2019, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation had a budget of around $30.7 million.
United States Artists is a national arts funding nonprofit that supports artists and cultural practitioners around the country. Since its founding in 2006, the organization has awarded more than 750 individuals with over $36 million of direct support. As of 2020, United States Artists had a budget of approximately $5.6 million.
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