Support Artists / Meet the Artists

Meet the artists we support

Read about some of the emerging and established musicians, visual artists, writers, dancers, craft artists, filmmakers and cross-disciplinary artists that we support.

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Artist Name

Michael Kleven, 2017

Michael Kleven and Elke Hautala

  • 2017 Grants for Artist Projects
About the Artist

Michael Kleven and Elke Hautala met documenting the work of glass blowing artist Preston Singletary four years ago. They realized an almost immediate creative synergy and passion for the filmmaking process. Both Michael and Elke began their professional careers as performing artists and decided to return to film school as a mid-career change. Elke brings an academic eye from her work and connections with University of Washington. Michael is the technical guru having worked on a multitude of local sets from commercial to documentary with the sound and camera departments. Their work at Heartstone is truly a collaborative process from pre-production through post with Elke specializing in producing and story editing while Michael focuses on directing and polish editing. They both possess a love of telling stories with important messages such as public history or cultural education -- sharing a view of the world through someone else's eyes.

Michael and Elke received 2017 GAP Award funding to share a love of music and Native American culture with Seattle and beyond. Their production company Heartstone has been documenting Preston Singletary's passion for music over the course of several years now. They have many hours of compelling footage from interviews to performances to supporting b-roll. Their work illustrates the creative intersection of musical luminaries such as the late Bernie Worrell and renowned saxophonist Skerik with Native American cultural leaders such as Gene Tagaban and the late Clarissa Rizal.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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Artist Name

photo: Blanca Santander

Monica Rojas-Stewart

  • 2012 Grants for Artist Projects
  • 2017 Fellowship
About the Artist

Born in Lima, Peru, Monica Rojas (Seattle) became a Peruvian national dance champion at the age of 17. She has a doctorate degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Washington and has collaborated as choreographer, cultural consultant, music and dance instructor, and guest artist with various college and community youth and adult educational programs throughout the Pacific Northwest. Monica is the founder and director of DE CAJóN Project and Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle (MÁS), two community arts organizations dedicated to educating about and raising awareness of the cultural contributions of people of African descent in Peru and Latin America respectively. A wife and a mother of two, she currently holds a position as the Assistant Director of the African Studies and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies programs at the University of Washington. Monica recently received The Tumi USA Award, the maximum recognition granted by the Peruvian community in the US for having excelled in her career, community service, and her contributions to the betterment of society.

Monica received a 2012 GAP to cover artist fees, teaching and performance fees and other expenses such as costumes and printing marketing materials for the Seattle Atajo de Negritos. The Atajo de Negritos is an ancestral tradition particular to a small rural area in the southern coast of and practiced mostly by Afro-Peruvians.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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Artist Name

Gary Hill, Guilt (detail), mixed media, 2006. Photo: David Regen

Gary Hill

  • 2011 Arts Innovator Special Recognition Award
About the Artist

Gary Hill (Seattle) works with a broad range of media including sculpture, sound, video, writing, installation, and performance. He had solo exhibitions in major museums throughout the world and received numerous awards and honors including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim Foundations, the Leone d’Oro Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award, the Kurt-Schwitters-Prize and The Stranger’s Genius Award in film. Gary has received honorary doctorates from The Academy of Fine Arts Poznan, Poland (2005) and Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle (2011). He also received Artist Trust Fellowships in 1988 and 2002.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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Artist Name

Pat Graney

  • 2003 Grants for Artist Projects
  • 2011 Arts Innovator Award
About the Artist

Choreographer Pat Graney (Seattle) began showing work at the (then) new entity On The Boards in 1979. Since then Graney has developed and performed a wide range of works that bridge disciplines and communities. Pat has received Choreography Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts for 11 consecutive years, as well as from Artist Trust, the Washington State Arts Commission, the NEA International Program, and National Corporate Fund for Dance and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2008, she was awarded both the Alpert Award and a US Artists Award in Dance. She is a 2013 recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award and a National Dance Project grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been featured in Showcase and CityArts magazines.

Pat received a 2003 GAP to pay rehearsal fees for The Vivian Girls. Artist Henry Darger inspired the proposed new work. Darger’s work was discovered in his apartment after his death and consisted of many large-scale watercolor paintings and a 15,000 page text describing the trials and tribulations of “the Vivian girls” in the Realms of the Unreal. As in Tattoo, Pat's full-length performance, she hoped to create with The Vivian Girls “an entirely new movement vocabulary.”

Pat also received a Fellowships in 1994 and 2002, GAPs in 1991 and 1994, and a 1997 President’s Award.

Read a special letter from Pat about the impact of supporting art at its source.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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Artist Name

Claire Cowie

  • 2009 Grants for Artist Projects
  • 2004 Fellowship
About the Artist

Claire Cowie (Seattle) received her BFA in drawing and printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997, and her MFA in printmaking from the University of Washington in 1999. She is locally represented by James Harris Gallery. Recent work includes an exhibition of sculpture at Cherry de los Reyes Gallery, a residency and exhibition at Henry Art Gallery, and a solo show of collage work at James Harris Gallery (as reviewed in Art Forum). Claire was also awarded the 2004 Neddy Artist Fellowship from the Behnke Foundation and her work was featured in a 2004 exhibition at Tacoma Art Museum that highlighted work from Neddy Fellowship recipients over the prior ten years. Her work was chosen to be in the King County Public Art Collection for their portable arts collection.

Claire received 2009 GAP Award funding to cover materials and print studio fees required for producing a series of etchings. She intends on creating Panorama War, a series of six etchings that thematically and visually connect to each another as one panoramic scene. She wants to produce a small edition of prints that depict a narrative structure that is tied by a continuous horizon and repeated elements that incorporate as subject matter the perceived confusion of boundaries and the chaos of personal identity resulting from war. Inspired by Goya’s set of aquatint prints Los Desastres De la Guerra and the nation’s current relationship with various global conflicts, Claire has returned to her original media of printmaking to achieve this new body of work.

Claire also received a 2000 GAP Award.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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Artist Name

Harold Taw

  • 2007 Grants for Artist Projects
  • 2009 EDGE Professional Development Program
About the Artist

Harold Taw (Seattle) is a writer whose debut novel, Adventures of the Karaoke King (Amazon Encore 2011), is a karaoke grail quest about people who keep falling just short of their dreams. A participant in the 2009 Artist Trust EDGE Program for Writers and the 2011 Jack Straw Writers Program, he received an Artist Trust GAP Award to research his second novel Saturday’s Child, garnered accolades for his screenplay Dog Park, and had his work featured on National Public Radio and in a New York Times bestselling anthology. Harold graduated from Yale Law School and as a Fulbright Scholar studied prostitution and the AIDS epidemic in rural Thailand.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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Artist Name

Miho Takekawa

  • 2005 Fellowship
  • 2008 Centrum Residency
About the Artist

Miho Takekawa (Spokane) is an accomplished marimba performer and arranger playing Japanese folk music mixed with jazz and Latin rhythms. Her unusual style has taken her all over the world as a performer and arranger and provided her the opportunity to play with some of the best musical talent in the Northwest. While completing her MA at the University of Washington, Takekawa received the Boeing Scholarship for excellence in percussion performance three years in a row. Originally from Tokyo, she received her BA in percussion performance and music education at Kunitachi School of Music in Tokyo and has been playing percussion for operas, musicals, symphonies, percussion ensembles, ethnic music ensembles, and jazz bands in both Japan and the United States for many years. In addition to her own releases, Takekawa has performed with various groups, including Orchestra Seattle, Philharmonia Orchestra Northwest, Contemporary Chamber Composer and Player, Seattle Creative Orchestra, and Akoma, a West African drum ensemble.

As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Miho held a CD release concert at the Ethnic Cultural Theater in Seattle with her band, the Miho & Diego Duo. The 30 audience members (who braved a major snowstorm to attend) were treated to a program featuring original compositions as well as covers, combining Japanese folk music with Andean and other South American music.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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Artist Name

Photo: Chase Jarvis

Lynn Shelton

  • 2005 Paul Goode Ireland Residency
About the Artist

Lynn Shelton (Seattle) got her start as an experimental and documentary filmmaker before writing and directing her first feature-length film, We Go Way Back, which surprised everyone (herself included) by winning the Grand Jury Award at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival. Her second feature film, My Effortless Brilliance, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Atlanta Film Festival. Humpday, her third feature, premiered to critical acclaim at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and has been distributed internationally by Magnolia Pictures.

In 2008 she received a Seattle Magazine Spotlight Award, and in 2009 the magazine flattered her as one of the Most Influential People of the Year. In 2009 she was also featured on the front page of The New York Times’ Arts & Leisure section. In 2010, she was honored with the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, and wrapped the MTV series, $5 cover, showcasing Seattle’s hottest up-and-coming bands. Most recently, her film Your Sister’s Sister won Best Ensemble Performance at the Gotham Independent Film Awards (2012).

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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Artist Name

Photo: Marc Von Borstel

Olivier Wevers

  • 2008 Fellowship
About the Artist

Olivier Wevers (Seattle) spent the past 17 years of his life as a classical ballet dancer performing in Columbia City Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. As a choreographer, he seeks to transform established traditional vocabulary and present ballet in a new perspective. Olivier’s Shindig expands the manipulation of classic choreography to other elements of the performance including interpretations of the tutu and eliminating performance structure in favor of series vignettes that played out in front of an audience like flipping through a photo album.

Olivier was the recepient of a 2012 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award, and in 2013 he was featured on the Seattle Channel's Art Zone and voted Best Freelance Choreographer in the Seattle Weekly Readers' Poll.

Read a special letter from Olivier about being a creative catalyst.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.

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