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Sarah Jane Lapp

County: Snohomish County




Grants for Artist Projects 2004
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Fellowship Awards 2007
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Sarah Jane Lapp has worked with film and visual art for the last two decades. Her experimental non-fiction films and hand-drawn animations often connect labor, comic personae, and the religious imagination. She is currently in residence in Boston where she has been teaching at Wellesley and Harvard and simultaneously cutting a film that evolved from her production of 1,000 sugar packets by hand. Her work has been supported by Fulbright Commission, Rockefeller Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Artslink, Jerome Foundation, Alpert Award in the Arts, Ucross, Washington State, and the City of Seattle.

Sarah began her education at Brown University where she earned a BA in playwriting. She then moved to Prague and studied film production at Filmova a Televizni Fakulta Academie Muzickych Umeni in addition to being an animation apprentice at Studio Bratri v Triku. Lastly, she received her MFA from the Department of Filmmaking at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sarah received 2004 GAP Award funding to cover the purchase of ergonomically correct drafting and animation equipment she used to complete the thousands of drawings necessary for Chronicles of A Professional Eulogist. The film’s animation was hand-drawn using India ink, gouache, and wax in combination with live action photography and audio interviews. The interviews, conducted with real life members of the clergy “explore the efficacy of social nostalgia and the role of those who care for the soul. Structured as a journey, the film follows a fictitious ‘dying eulogist’ as he seeks the perfect place to rest his own head, while also collecting a community of prospective protégés and establishing the University of Eulogy along the way.”

As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Sarah presented her 25-minute, hand-drawn animation, Chronicles of a Professional Eulogist, to Evergreen State College’s students and greater community. Her presentation, which included a PowerPoint description of the film’s decade-long process, served as the first chapter in Evergreen’s Spring Artist Lecture Series. Of the 300 attendees, most identified as visual artists, as well as a few animators. Students of all ages immediately engaged Sarah in a series of process-oriented questions, ranging from “What brand of black paper did you use?” to “What suggestions do you have for balancing work and life and art?” A few of the students approached Sarah after the presentation to praise the film; one said that the film had special utility for him as his neighbor had just been murdered.

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Image: Peggy Piacenza, 2024 Fellowship Recipient

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