Meet the Individuals Who Selected the 2014 Kresge Artist Fellows

As we celebrate the 2014 Kresge Artist Fellows, we want to also highlight the essential role of this year’s dance/music and film/theatre panelists. Each year, the fellowship panelists commit to an application review process that spans several months and culminates with multiple days of in-person review in Detroit. It’s an exceptionally competitive process, especially in light of the high-quality work represented across hundreds of applications in each category. This year’s panelists included accomplished musicians, writers, directors, presenters and educators. All panelists brought experiences and perspectives across multiple disciplines.

Dance/Music Panelists 2014 Dance/Music Panelists: Kristy Edmunds, Johnny Evans, Karen Sherman, Carl Craig, George E. Lewis


CARL CRAIG Carl Craig is a cutting-edge electronic musician, an esteemed Grammy-nominated composer and a world class DJ. Craig has released a diverse range of experimental and groundbreaking music under a plethora of aliases including 69, BFC, C2, Innerzone Orchestra and many more. His remix discography includes LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Junior Boys, Gavin Russom & Delia Gonzalez, Theo Parrish, Tori Amos, Can, Goldfrapp, Friendly Fires and more. His Planet-E imprint has given a home to a wide range of Detroit-based artists including Francesco Mora Catlett, Naomi Daniel, Flexitone, Jason Hogans, Kenny Larkin, Monty Luke, Moodyman, Mike Agent X, Oliverwho Factory, Ezana Harris, Recloose, Reference, Kevin Saunderson, Big Tone, Tribe, Urban Tribe and Chaz Vincent. Craig helped launch the Movement Electronic Music Festival in 2000 and remains a strong force at the festival today. He also created and launched his nonprofit Carl Craig Foundation, which provides music education for youth in metropolitan Detroit.

KRISTY EDMUNDS Kristy Edmunds holds a reputation for innovation and depth in the presentation of contemporary art in all disciplines, with a particular emphasis on contemporary performing arts. In her current role at UCLA’s venerated performing arts program (previously known as UCLA Live), Edmunds is shepherding an exciting new era. Under her leadership, the organization has evolved to become the Center for the Art of Performance, a creative habitat for supporting artists and presenting their work. Edmunds was the founding executive and artistic director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and the Time-Based Art Festival in Portland, Oregon. She was the first to serve an unprecedented four-year term as the artistic director for the Melbourne International Arts Festival from 2005 – 2008.

JOHNNY EVANS Through his work as a saxophonist, improviser, bandleader, writer and producer Johnny Evans has played an important role in the Detroit arts and music community since the 1970s. Beginning with a weekly residency at Cobb’s Corner Barr with the II-V-I Orchestra, he went on to perform and tour extensively with popular R&B/ska band The Urbations as a saxophonist and vocalist. Founding the Howling Diablos in 1990, Evans has co-led the band for the past 25 years. Evans has performed and recorded in diverse styles with a wide range of artists including Larval, Sponge/Loudhouse, Luis Resto, Kid Rock, Cary Loren, The Butler Twins, Lyman Woodard, poets Anne Waldman and John Sinclair and his own free jazz collective Mirror Mirror. He continues to celebrate, nurture and believe in the artistic soul of Detroit.

GEORGE E. LEWIS 2002 MacArthur Fellowship recipient George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis’s scholarship on music has been widely published, and his compositions are documented on more than 140 recordings. Most recently, Lewis has served as Ernest Bloch Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley; Fromm Composer in Residence, American Academy in Rome; Resident Scholar, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, University of Chicago. His book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, is a recipient of the American Book Award. Lewis and Benjamin Piekut are co-editors of the forthcoming two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies.

KAREN SHERMAN Karen Sherman is an independent choreographer/performer based in Minneapolis. Her work has been presented nationally by PS 122, Walker Art Center, Fusebox Festival and Time-Based Art Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, among many others. She has received numerous awards for her work as a dancer, choreographer and scenic designer, including a 2007 Bessie Award, multiple McKnight Artist Fellowships, a Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship, as well as residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Movement Research, and the Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship program in Liguria, Italy. She is also a writer, scenic and sound artist, stage electrician and renegade carpenter.

Film/Theatre Panelists 2014 Film/Theatre Panelists: Shaun Nethercott, Brian Rogers, Shay Wafer, Kenneth Cosby, Sue Marx


KENNETH COSBY Kenneth Cosby is a writer, director, actor and theater artist. He has been a screenwriting professor at University of Southern California and has also taught a television writing class at New York University. As a playwright, Cosby was a member of the Blacksmyths Playwriting Fellowship at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and is currently an artist in residence at Towne Street Theatre. He has written for NBC, and acted as managing director of the Jewel Box Theater Company and the associate artistic director of Write Act Repertory, West. Cosby holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in film and a Masters of Fine Arts in dramatic writing, both from New York University.

SUE MARX Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sue Marx received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and her graduate degree from Wayne State University. In the 1970s, she produced Profiles in Black, a weekly award-winning documentary series on WWJ, now WDIV, in Detroit. In 1980, she founded Sue Marx Films and has produced, written and directed educational, political and cultural films.

In 1987, Marx shouted “From Hollywood – hooray for Michigan” as she accepted an Oscar for her documentary short Young at Heart, which won numerous prestigious awards. A Detroit and Michigan booster, she is currently involved in various media projects.

SHAUN NETHERCOTT Dr. Shaun Smith Nethercott co-founded Matrix Theatre Company in 1991. Under her leadership, Matrix has formed partnerships with over 50 community organizations, and developed and produced more than 120 original plays. Individually, she led the development of 32 new plays, eight of which have won awards. She was named a Michigan Green Leader for her work creating plays about the environment. Other awards include the Governor’s Arts Award, Christina Mattin Award for work with at-risk youth, Marygrove College’s Theresa Maxis Award for Social Justice, and Wayne County Council for the Arts, History and Humanities Educator of the Year Award.

BRIAN ROGERS Brian Rogers is a director, video and sound artist, and co-founder and artistic director of The Chocolate Factory Theater, which supports the creation of theater, dance, music and multimedia performances in Long Island City, New York. Since 1997, Rogers has conceived and directed numerous large-scale performances such as Hot Box, the Bessie-nominated Selective Memory, redevelop (death valley), 2 Husbands, Gun Play, Audit and Fundamental at The Chocolate Factory and elsewhere. Rogers has collaborated with numerous dance and theater artists including Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty, Aynsley Vandenbroucke, Tara O’Con, Jillian Sweeney and he participated in the Movement Research Spring 2008 Festival. He recently presented his first solo exhibition of new video works at Ventana244 Gallery in Brooklyn and self-released an album of electronic music. Currently, Rogers is collaborating on a new performance at the Project Arts Center in Dublin, Ireland.

SHAY WAFER Since 2011, Shay Wafer, executive director 651 ARTS, has demonstrated a stalwart dedication to the arts and community development through many years of service to the field. Her passionate vision is balanced with pragmatic experience, as she has held senior level positions at a number of nonprofit arts organizations with a focus on African Diasporic programming, community engagement and arts education. In 2007, Wafer became the founding vice president of programs for the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh. She also served as the managing director of Cornerstone Theater Company and L.A. Theatre Works, both in Los Angeles, and the St. Louis Black Repertory Company. Wafer is a graduate of Howard University and the Yale School of Drama.

This year’s panelists remarked on the central role that Detroit played in many applications. As noted by Kristy Edmunds, “over and over were the expressed interests of artists that not only want to make a difference to their chosen forms through their creative practice (whether long standing or more emergent), but also through an ethos that acknowledges the place and people that make up their communities. I cannot wait to see what the fellows, and their peers will do in the months and years ahead!”

For more information about the 2014 Kresge Artist Fellowship selection process, please visit the FAQ page.