NEW YORK CITY: The 1/52 Project has selected the first seven early-career designers to receive a total of $100,000 in grants. This year’s inaugural recipients include projection designer Brittany Bland, sound designer Everett Elton Bradman, projection designer Stefania Bulbarella, set designer Jessica Alexandra Cancino, costume designer Frank Cazares, sound designer Jordan McCree, and costume designer Jingyi Johanna Pan. Each of the recipients will receive grants up to $15,000, and some recipients will also receive a year’s subscription to Vectorworks or Lightwright, depending on their area of specialization.
Founded by Tony-winning set designer Beowulf Boritt and partnered with the TheFrontOffice Foundation, the 1/52 Project was created to support rising designers from historically excluded groups with the aim of diversifying and strengthening the Broadway design community. Launched in January, the project is primarily funded by designers with shows running on Broadway who are encouraged to donate one week every year of their weekly royalties to this fund, hence “1 out of 52.”
“I know I am extraordinarily lucky to be able to make a living as a theatre designer, much less to have the opportunity to do it on Broadway,” said Boritt in a statement. “Part of that luck was being born a middle-class white boy. The goal of the 1/52 Project is to give a little encouragement to a talented group of early career designers for whom doors may open less easily. In supporting them, we hope to strengthen and diversify the profession. I’m immensely grateful for the generosity of the Broadway community for funding the idea and the hard work of the 1/52 Grant Committee for the impossible task of choosing from a large group of very talented applicants.”
Applicants were chosen based on talent, creativity, innovation, and potential for future excellence in the professional theatrical field. The grant criteria were created and adjudicated by a committee of BIPOC professional designers, including Tony-nominated costume designer Dede Ayite, projection designer David Bengali, set designer Wilson Chin, lighting designer Alan C. Edwards, Tony-winning sound designer Kai Harada, set designer Kimie Nishikawa, Tony-winning costume designer Paul Tazewell, costume designer Alejo Vietti, and costume designer Anita Yavich. Designers Simon Harding, Jeff Croiter, Elaine J. McCarthy, Nevin Steinberg, and Jeff Sugg also helped manage and organize the 1/52 Project.
Applications will open again in January 2023 for next year’s early career designer grants. Candidates of diverse backgrounds representing the full spectrum of theatrical activity, including those who have worked in non-traditional venues, are encouraged to apply to this program. Anyone is welcome to make a tax-deductible contribution to the 1/52 Project here.
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