Monday, January 21, 2019

Delaware Division of the Arts Announces 2019 Individual Artist Fellowships

This post content originated from a press release by the Delaware Division of the Arts...

Twenty Delaware artists are being recognized by the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA) for the high quality of their work. Samples from 136 Delaware choreographers, composers, musicians, writers, folk and visual artists were reviewed by out-of-state arts professionals, considering demonstrated creativity and skill in the art forms. The 20 selected fellows reside throughout Delaware including Bear, Bridgeville, Claymont, Dover, Frankford, Lewes, Middletown, Newark and Wilmington.

Awards are given in three categories: $10,000 for the Masters Award; $6,000 for the Established Professional Award; and $3,000 for the Emerging Professional Award. Fellows are required to offer at least one exhibit or performance during the upcoming year, providing an opportunity for the public to experience their work.

"Individual Artist Fellowship grants provide the recognition and exposure that artists need to successfully promote their work," said Paul Weagraff, DDOA Director. "The financial award allows them to pursue advanced training, purchase equipment and materials, or fulfill other needs to advance their careers." 

The work of the Fellows will be featured in a group exhibition, Award Winners XIX, at the Biggs Museum in Dover from June 7 to July 21, 2019. Selections from Award Winners will travel to CAMP Rehoboth in August and early September and then Cab Calloway School of the Arts during September and October. 

A photo from last year’s Award Winners' exhibition
at the Biggs. 
The painting is from Thomas del Porte,
2018 Established Professional, Visual Arts: Painting.
"It’s a very diverse cohort this year," notes Leeann Wallett, DDOA's Program Officer of Communications and Marketing. "I'm excited to see what they bring to the annual Award Winners' exhibition at the Biggs."

The Masters Fellowship is open to differing artistic disciplines each year. In Fiscal Year 2019, Masters Fellowship applications were accepted in Literary and Media Arts from artists who had previously received an Established Professional Fellowship. In addition to exemplifying high artistic quality, Masters Fellowship applicants must demonstrate their involvement and commitment to the arts in Delaware and beyond. Listed below are the Delaware Division of the Arts 2019 Individual Artist Fellows as well as three Honorable Mentions.

Billie Travalini has been awarded this year's Masters Fellowship in Literature: Fiction. Travalini, an internationally award-winning writer and educator, teaches English and creative writing at Wilmington University. She has taught creative writing to encourage critical thinking at youth detention centers statewide, which led to Teaching Troubled Youth: A Practical Pedagogical Guide, an award-winning book with an important message on the human condition. In addition, she has taught poetry and playwriting at various Boys and Girls Clubs. 

In 2014, Travalini received the Governor's Award for the Arts for her extensive career and work in education. Travalini, co-founder and coordinator of the Lewes Creative Writers' Conference, is currently working with Fort DuPont to have the children of Governor Bacon remembered by serving the children of today. Her passion for creative writing has led her to "promote the need to include everyone in the conversation."

2019 Individual Artist Fellows
Masters Award — $10,000 
  • Billie Travalini (Wilmington), Literature: Fiction 
Established Professional Award — $6,000
  • Susan Benarcik (Wilmington), Visual Arts: Works on Paper 
  • Shawn Faust (Bear), Visual Arts: Painting 
  • Don Foster (Dover), Literature: Fiction 
  • Daniel Jackson (Claymont), Visual Arts: Photography 
  • Shelley Kelley (Newark), Folk Art: Music 
  • Leslie Hsu Oh (Middletown), Literature: Creative Nonfiction 
  • Chet'la Sebree (Middletown), Literature: Poetry 
  • IVA (Wilmington), Music: Solo Recital 
Emerging Professional Award — $3,000
  • Jenifer Adams-Mitchell (Frankford), Literature: Fiction 
  • Kevin J. Cope (Newark), Music: Solo Recital 
  • Kaitlyn Evans (Lewes), Visual Arts: Crafts 
  • Matthew Glick (Claymont), Visual Arts: Works on Paper 
  • Geraldo Gonzalez (Wilmington), Folk Arts: Visual Arts 
  • Karen Hurley-Heyman (Newark), Literature: Poetry 
  • Mary-Margaret Pauer (Bridgeville), Literature: Creative Nonfiction 
  • D.H. Regnier (Newark), Music: Composition 
  • Gregg Silvis (Newark), Visual Arts: Sculpture 
  • G.W. Thompson (Lewes), Visual Arts: Painting 
  • Shannon Woodloe (Wilmington), Visual Arts: Photography 
Honorable Mention
  • Howard Eberle (Lewes), Visual Arts: Works on Paper 
  • Jane Miller (Wilmington), Literature: Poetry 
  • Jim Salt (Newark), Literature: Fiction 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Finding Her Voice: A Visit with Young Author Megan Chen

Fifteen-year-old author,
Megan Chen.
Megan Chen is a 15-year-old author who attends Newark Charter School in Newark, Delaware. Delaware Arts Info connected with her for a quick Q&A on her new book, Finding Tiger, which is currently available on Amazon and Kindle.

How long have been writing and what was your initial inspiration?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I loved to make up my own stories and poems, and it gradually became something that I fell in love with and wanted to take more seriously. 

The inspiration for Finding Tiger stemmed from problems of cultural identity, implicit bias and stereotyping that I have struggled with in my life, and I often see others struggle with in my community.

Can you give us a summary of the Finding Tiger story? Who is your book's intended demographic?
Finding Tiger is a heartwarming yet adventurous story for students in early grades (Kindergarten to 4th Grade). The story centers on a yo
ung tiger who has no sense of self-identity. Through interactions with other animals including Blaire the Bear, Lu the Snake, and Elphie the Elephant, Tiger has to conquer assumptions and biases. Through the unknown jungle, she goes on a journey of self-discovery to find her true colors in the end.
Chen's book, Finding Tiger, is available now on Amazon and Kindle.

What message would you like readers to take away from the story?
I’d like all readers to learn that the journey to self-acceptance is not easy, but it is really rewarding in the end. Many people struggle with problems of fitting in, trying to be someone that they are not. I want to let them know that it is okay to be different. Even though this sounds cliché — it really is our differences that make us unique. Don’t be afraid to be there for someone who is struggling with these problems, and always share a little love, kindness and acceptance every day.

Do you have any book signings or promotional appearances planned to promote the book?

I am working on scheduling several appearances in schools across the area, and I will be at several author events at local libraries in Newark and Bear. I am also planning an event at Barnes & Noble soon that will be a book signing and meet-the-author event.

I would also love to visit area schools to read Finding Tiger live, so if there are teachers who may be interested, please connect with me!

What authors/books are you currently reading or who/what are your favorites?

I have recently been in a phase of reading books that have been turned into shows or movies. I just finished the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, and I’m currently reading the Crazy Rich Asians book series. I’m also reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini — which is an amazing, heart-wrenching novel — and I’ve just started A Thousand Splendid Suns, which is also an incredible work.

If you could host a 'literary roundtable' of famous authors (living or dead), who would you invite and why?
I really would choose an eclectic group of authors. As I am also very into poetry, I would invite Maya Angelou and Emily Dickinson. They are some of my favorite poets, and I know they would bring an amazing perspective [to the group].

From some of my favorite books growing up, I would have to invite J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl. I am a huge Harry Potter fan, and I think everyone probably has a favorite book that is written by Roald Dahl. They are some of the most creative authors that I’ve read, and I’m inspired by them every day. Lastly, to finish off the group I would invite Khaled Hosseini and Kristin Hannah. I enjoy just about any realistic or historical fiction novel, and I’d love to learn more about their lives and the inspiration that led them to creating some of my favorite books.

What's next for you? What are you writing now or what are your literary goals for 2019?

I’ve just been inundated with things related to school lately, but I definitely am still working on many new things! I think 2019 is the year that I want to get back into writing poetry, as I have previously taken a break from it.

I’m also hoping to write some short stories, and I've been working on articles for several online news publications. I am absolutely using this year to express myself through my writing, and my goal is to write at least one new thing every month.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

DSO Welcomes the Holiday with Chamber Music Duo

By Christine Facciolo

Chamber music continued Tuesday, December 11, at the Gold Ballroom at the Hotel du Pont, featuring Delaware Symphony Orchestra principals David Southorn, violin and Lura Johnson, piano. Southern prefaced the performance by saying that he and Johnson had been looking forward to the concert for more than a year.

The fruits of their partnership were abundantly evident in the program featuring works by Beethoven, Britten and Franck.

The duo opened the program with Beethoven’s Violin Sonata in G minor, No. 8, Op. 30, No. 3 which they played with such panache that it’s doubtful whether anyone in the audience questioned why they didn’t choose between the more famous Kreutzer and Spring sonatas.

This sonata, the last in the set, has a gorgeous inner movement that gave Southorn a beautiful melody which he rendered with a generous but light vibrato. Johnson teased our rhythms, finding every opportunity to every so slightly delay a beat. The final movement is like a folk dance, which the musicians cheerily performed.

There was an abrupt gear shift with the wit and quick-fire kaleidoscope of styles in Britten’s Suite, Op. 6, for Violin and Piano. The March, which was played twice in place of the Moto perpetuo, was fearless, vigorous and playful. Southorn squeezed every bit of expression out of the sparse music of the Lullaby, giving a moving and personal performance. The Waltz was remarkably wild yet controlled with the playing always in sync.

The second half of the program was devoted to Franck’s Sonata in A major. Composed in 1886 as a wedding present to violinist Eugene Ysaye, Southorn rendered it with all the warm lyricism the composer intended. The Allegretto ben moderato had the audience spellbound in a pastoral serenity.

A restless energy marked the second movement (Allegro) featuring biting attacks by Southorn. The virtuoso piano part, with its swirling arpeggios, was played with an equal measure of energy. After the recitative of the Recitativo-Fantasia, ben moderato, Southorn and Johnson showed their shared understanding of the beautiful Fantasia.

The final movement, the Allegretto poco mosso, had the violin and piano driving forward with ever mounting excitement, starting in canon and spiraling up to zealous heights of impassioned dialogue. Johnson’s hands flew over the merciless chords, and as in the earlier selections, the two players seemed fearless and impetuous but always in control. This was a full-blooded rendering with conviction that earned them a well-deserved standing ovation.