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2023 Rainin Theatre Fellow Sean San José. (Photo by Joan Osato)

Sean San José Receives Rainin Fellowship for Theatre

The Magic Theatre artistic director is one of 4 fellows awarded an unrestricted grant of $100,000, as well as supplemental support.

OAKLAND, CALIF.: The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has announced the four 2023 recipients of the Rainin Fellowship, an initiative that supports visionary artists working across disciplines in the Bay Area. This year’s Rainin Fellows include Sean San José (theatre), Mohammad Gorjestani (film), Joanna Haigood (dance), and Related Tactics (public space), an artistic collaboration between Michele Carlson, Weston Teruya, and Nathan Watson. Administered by United States Artists, the annual fellowship awards four artists and artist collectives with unrestricted grants of $100,000, as well as supplemental support tailored to address each fellow’s specific needs and goals, including financial planning, coaching and mentorship, and legal services.

“We are beyond excited to announce the third annual cohort of Rainin Fellows, said Ted Russell, director of arts strategy and ventures at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, in a statement. “Their boundary-pushing creative practices, performances, plays, films, and writings illuminate and further enrich the longstanding history of cultural experimentation and innovation in the Bay Area. It is a privilege to honor these remarkable anchor artists and their immense impact. These visionaries are helping other artists thrive and enhancing the quality of life in our shared communities.”

Now in its third year, the Rainin Fellowship was established to recognize and support Bay Area artists deeply committed to the region whose practices influence and inspire others. Recipients push the boundaries of creative expression, anchor local communities, and advance the field. The program aims to support artists holistically by providing a substantial, unrestricted monetary award, as well as a variety of tailored supplemental support, in order to build a more sustainable arts ecosystem and ensure that there remains a home for visionary artists in the Bay Area. This year’s Fellows were nominated by Bay Area artists and cultural leaders and selected through a two-part review process with the help of national reviewers and a panel of four local jurors.

San José is a writer, director, performer, and co-founder of Campo Santo, a performance group for people of color in San Francisco, and he is now in his second year as the artistic director at the Magic Theatre, where he is the first person of color to hold the position in the history of the theatre. Previously, San José was the program director of performance for Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco’s oldest alternative arts space. He co-created Alma Delfina Group-Teatro Contra el SIDA and Pieces of the Quilt, a collection of over 50 short plays on AIDS. Writing commissions and productions include Play On! for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Ictus Productions, Kronos Quartet, KULARTS, and others. 

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