2018 Summer Stipend Finalists Announced

Below are the application submissions from our finalists, currently being reviewed by our Summer Stipend Panelists:


Aliya Bonar

Project: Fear Suits


We – myself and my collaborator Eliza Fernand – are creating costumes and installation that embodies and sparks fears: both fears about yourself and fears about others. The piece is a continuation of a body of artwork, “Anti-PowerSuits” which physically manifests negative thoughts into costume form, making it possible to play and address these thoughts outside of your head.

At this moment in time politically and personally I am dealing with constant negative thoughts, resignation, and fears – am I doing this right? Is this worth it? Am I contributing to the solution? Will our planet even survive another generation? These costumes have not only been fun to create but they also give me space to really dig into those fears and share them publicly without just complaining. It’s a productive conversation starter, and a way to connect with fellow artists and casual audience members about their own fears.

This iteration is especially exciting as it will be connected to a “Haunted House” event, directly meshing our public and private fears. What is ok to be afraid about with other people, versus what are fears I need to keep to myself? Additionally, while Eliza and I have worked together in the past as curator/artist, friends, and members of a larger group, this will be one of the first times we are making work together as collaborators.

The project will be installed and performed as part of the Wassaic Project’s Haunted Mill exhibition in October 2018 in Wassaic, NY. While inclusion in this program will allow our work to reach a larger audience, the honorarium provided by the hosting organization are insufficient to cover our travel, materials, and installation assistance. Which is how the Macktez Stipend would provide a huge support.

Project needs

To finish the project we need to design and produce 3-4 costumes as well as the corresponding installation. We will need funding to purchase supplies/materials; specialty fabrics, technical supplies for garment construction, structural components for the installation. We will spend funds on traveling to Wassaic and daily needs/meals during the production/installation time. We are planning on spending a week in Wassaic ahead of time to do finish the costumes and install the piece on site.

Costume Production: $530
– specialty fabrics: $300
– thread, sewing machine needles: $30
– additional (non-fabric) materials (likely sourced from thrift stores and local dollar stores): $200

Installation Construction: $85
– (10) 2×4 braces for creating fabric wall: $3.50 each, $35 total
– wood screws, hanging hooks, fishing line, staple gun staples: $50

Travel/Installation Period: $640
– food/meals: (2 people for 5 days; national per diem rate $64 per day; $640 total) estimated actual cost: $350
– Travel to Wassaic by car from NYC (Aliya): $40
– Travel to Wassaic by plane from MI (Eliza): $250 (already purchased)

Current Project Support:
– housing and studio space for Eliza and Aliya covered at Wassaic Project during installation period (1 week)
– Access/use of Wassaic Project Wood Shop and Print Shop
– Wassaic Project honorarium of $100
– in-kind material donations from Materials for the Arts (including some fabrics, notions, etc)
– Aliya’s NYC studio space (already rented)
– Eliza’s plane trip to NYC (already purchased)
Estimated Remaining Project Needs: $1155

Project description

The Macktez Stipend would be used to develop and produce original costumes embodying personal and public fears. The costumes are part of an interactive community-focused “Haunted Mill” exhibition hosted by the art residency program, the Wassaic Project in Wassaic NY.

Eliza and myself are taking on this project as a way to explore a new context for our work and collaborate in a new way together. While we are forging ahead to make this project with or without the Macktez Stiepend, your support would allow us to delve deeper into the concept, use materials that match the exact needs of each costume/character and produce a fully realized project.

Personally, this work feels very relevant and urgent to this moment. I’m constantly overwhelmed by and the huge political, environmental, global instability I hear about in the news every day; this in turn affects my personal life, bringing out fears that I can’t make a difference, fears that it’s all too much. This piece will create a new – playful and outrageous – space to engage with our intimate fears in a public, productive, and ultimately impactful way.

Victoria Manganiello

Project: Computer 1.0


“Computer 1.0” is an interactive installation artwork created in collaboration by artist Victoria Manganiello and designer Julian Goldman. We have created a textile through which colored liquid is pumped. The liquid is controlled by a computer code which in turn creates patterns along the surface of the textile transforming it into a moving screen. Inspired by the history of the computer and the similarities between the historical universality of textiles and the modern universality of technologies, this installation is meant to be an artwork, design object and also an educational experience for viewers.

Project needs

Our installation is nearly complete. We simply require two high-powered pumps to operate the system we have produced. The pair costs $878.52 before shipping fees and any incidental installation hardware costs. We are in dialogue with an important New York City arts space who is interested in displaying our piece. This space will also accommodate us to conduct supplemental educational and interactive experiences so that the general public could not simply engage but learn more about our concepts.

Project description

Master silk weaver, Joseph Marie Jacquard, developed the first conception of a computer in 1801. It was a mechanical loom that could run what we now understand as a ‘program’ to create detailed and elaborate textiles without painstaking manual labor. This was the first machine capable of automated task production, and the first known use of binary code. Though Jacquard’s loom performed a task we take for granted in it’s simplicity today, the technology eventually led to the groundbreaking work of inventors Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, and Alan Turing.

The Jacquard loom then is not just a relic, but also the first ancestor, the Adam and Eve, to our modern computers. Because this history is all but forgotten in our understanding of humanity’s digital maturation, Computer 1.0 seeks to pay homage to the forbearers of computer history. The representation of this digital ghost is produced with hand-woven cloth and a programmed kinetic surface that brings to mind data, code, and communication infrastructure.

Jacquard’s loom was an enormous driver to the Industrial Revolution, simultaneously fostered the environment for the Luddite revolt as the work of thousands of laborers became increasingly mechanized. Computer 1.0 seeks to function as a historical lens that shows how our relationship to computing technology has always been fraught with juxtaposed promises of utopian and dystopian futures, while the reality consistently finds itself somewhere in between.

This installation reminds it’s onlookers that society has been grappling with a digital existentialism and the question of ‘are we better off?’ since the birth of programming itself. In this way, Computer 1.0 is the physical display of the eternally uncertain potential of technology.

Teresa Meier

Project: What I Know, Remember, and Forgot from Camelia Street


I am working on creating several professional printed portfolios for the current project that I am working on (Please see artist statement for the project below). As a fine artist a printed portfolio is necessary for acquiring gallery representation and a critical component in attending portfolio reviews, which are vital for networking and promoting and sharing your work among industry professionals.

Artist Statement ~ “What I Know, Remember, and Forgot from Camelia Street”

I contemplate the shared truths of the human story–love, fear, home, family, birth, aging, dying–through the lens of the surreal. In a series of autobiographical self-portraits, I examine identity within the context of family history and birthplace. The work tackles the interwoven complexities of past and present and, specifically, how the past shapes and dictates our perception of our present self and relationships. I encourage introspection and inspire awe through journey-like narratives and fantastical landscapes embedded with unexpected juxtapositions of characters and settings.

The images are best printed and viewed 48”x72”

Project needs

I have all the necessary tools, knowledge, and skill to create a portfolio, but I could use help with the cost of materials.

Each portfolio costs approximately $200 in materials to make, so this grant would allow me to make five.

Project description

I’m developing multiple printed and boxed portfolios of the project, “What I Know, Remember, and Forgot from Camelia Street” for the purpose of sending to galleries, prospective clients, and portfolio reviews.

I’m currently planning on attending the Medium San Diego portfolio review in October and am seeking gallery representation beyond the Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery.

More images: http://www.teresameier.com/behind-the-scenes

Colin McMullan

Project: Tree Spa for Urban Forest Healing


My recent creative research involves sharing wild foods, indigeneity, interspecies communication, environmental justice, and decolonization. This stems from a deep connection with the eastern woodlands of North America, based on my conflicted Indigenous/settler heritage. The Indigenous part of my family was assimilated into whiteness due to policies of genocide against Indigenous Peoples, several generations ago. So we have gained our white privilege, but we need to pay attention also to what we have lost. With that background, I am in the midst of a long project involving the aestheticized collection of tree sap, and ways to encourage its wider use. This TREE JUICE, as we prefer to call it, we see as a medium for regaining our spiritual unity with the natural world, and our sense of belonging here, by reclaiming our ancestral indigenous knowledge of this specific land.

Starting in the winter of 2017/2018, our TREE SPA project operates out of the Keney Park Sustainability Project, a Black-led educational/healing urban farm, based in Keney Park. Keney is a neglected Olmsted-designed 700 acre park in the North End of Hartford, a neighborhood with a poverty rate near 50%. We are tapping maple trees in this park, at Hartford public schools, a nearby university, and private residences. This informal situation brings people together for conversation, food, and reconnection with the land. Here participants observe the maple syrup production process, while “taking the waters” of the trees, in a healing process similar to the history of mineral spas. Steam is a necessary byproduct of tree syrup evaporation that is imaginatively utilized in the spa with significant aesthetic impact.

This TREE SPA concept is a variation on the healing traditions of many world cultures, including the Scandinavian sauna, Islamic hammam, Russian banya, sweat lodges and maple sugaring camps of various Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island (a.k.a. America), and the modern Japanese notion of Forest Bathing. In our case, the steam from reducing maple syrup is combined with other wildcrafted substances to create an essence of the forest, which is beneficial to our individual wellbeing, and that of our human and non-human communities. It is important that this experience honors the varied traditional cultural practices mentioned, and yet clearly functions as a contemporary, postcolonial manifestation of our fractured-yet-connected, terrified-yet-hopeful, global society. A transcultural space such as this could provide people of varied backgrounds a unifying experience appropriate to our identity-fluid contemporary moment. This is one excellent reason for the project to inhabit a contemporary art context, as this milieu is inherently transdisciplinary, experimental, unconventional, and risky.

Project needs

I am in the last construction phase of the project, building the steamroom structure, and the ventilation system connecting it to the evaporation room. I have a grant of $2000 from Artspace New Haven to produce the finished system by October to premiere it at an arts festival then. I need more money for materials and labor to finish it, which is why I’m coming to you. I would use the $1000 you are offering to buy roofing, vent pipes, and Stress Skin Panels, which will constitute the framing and insulation for the structure. Any extra money would go towards labor, either my own or that of a helper.

Project description

We started the Hartford Maple Syrup Club in 2017, an off-campus expansion of the maple syrup project that was previously operated by the Sculpture Club at Hartford Art School. HMSC has partnered with Herb Virgo of the Keney Park Sustainability Project, Lauren Little of Knox Parks, and Artspace New Haven‘s CWOS, to build the reach of social-engagement for this project.

In winter of 2017/2018 we built a mobile sugar shack, tapped trees in Keney park and at schools and residences in Hartford, and ran a series of tree-tapping workshops for area kids in collaboration with Knox Parks. We celebrated the maple syrup harvest with our third annual BYOBatter Pancake Festival, at the Keney Park Pond House, on March 10, 2018.

The continually expanding TREE SPA seeks additional uses for the steam generated as a byproduct of the maple syrup evaporation process. Participants will take the healing waters of the trees and discuss important matters affecting our communities, in the relaxing social space of a communal steamroom, while drinking tree juice and eating food steamed in the very same steam! We are now building the steamroom, and connecting it to the evaporation room with a system of ventilation pipes. Both of these structures are built onto trailers, for maximum portability and the element of surprise. Who knows where the TREE SPA will turn up next?!

Candace Thompson

Project: The Collaborative Urban Resilience Banquet (The C.U.R.B.)


The C.U.R.B. is a transmedia social practice project that examines issues of urbanism, food, climate, survival, remediation, interdependence and multi-species ethnography. I am documenting my multi-year process as I learn about/with/from Brooklyn’s various plant and animal species, many of whom have long, complicated relationships with humans. I will present my discoveries through digital storytelling and at a series of seasonal community meals foraged entirely from the Brooklyn streets.

Our city is not a ‘clean’ place, so I’m currently learning to harvest, process and store these foods in collaboration with a creative chef and a soil and plant toxicologist. Why are our neighborhoods polluted, what effect does that have, and what can we do about it? Could pickle brine remove lead from wild spinach? Could pigeon droppings remediate heavy metals from the soil? These culinary experiments will be paired with community ‘curbside’ tastings and web content that engages the digital and IRL community in discussions of decolonization, resilience, healing, legacy, accountability, class privilege and more. For instance, amaranth started its migration to Brooklyn when Cortes burned the Aztec’s grain fields, and pigeons have transformed from a colonial luxury food to the reviled “rats with wings” we all know today. So which is grosser: a large scale chicken farm or a Brooklyn pigeon coop? Which is healthier: big pharma’s sleeping pills or park-foraged mugwort ale? How local is too local? What do we do if our food supply fails? Where does “all natural” stop and start? And in a global society, is anyone ever truly ‘invasive’?

A millennial hybrid of Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield and Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I, “The C.U.R.B.” is a playful, approachable, (non?)humanist look at 21st century entanglement and interdependence. This project will connect community members to the siloed research of scientists, ethnobotanists, community land advocates, park rangers, agro-industry experts and fellow artists from the #weedyresistance to create a complex and multi-disciplinary quilt of humans and their evolving relationship to the ‘urban wilds’. My goal is not to encourage mass foraging, per se, but to ask us all to look at urban space as a place of complexity and value, placing ourselves in direct relationship to our surroundings. If humans want to survive the hot mess we’ve made, perhaps we should take some cues from the beings currently surviving and thriving in our wastelands.

Project needs

My project is a multi-year endeavor with several iterations:

Throughout the 2018 growing season I have been collecting samples of various edible plant (and some animal) species from across Brooklyn and processing them in various ways. For each species I collect two samples: one from a local green space such as a park, and one from a more industrial or ‘curbside’ spot, such as a tree bed or abandoned lot. Mugwort, mulberries, amaranth, Asian shore crabs, Japanese knotweed, wild spinach, peppergrass and more are then being processed in various ways such as fermentation, dehydration, freezing, preserving, and pickling.

Once the harvest season is done I will be submitting my samples to Cornell where soil scientist Murray McBride will allow to me to use their inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer to test the samples for heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic. Each sample I get tested at Cornell costs $30. As of this moment I am estimated to have about 50 samples to submit for testing for a total of $1500.00 worth of expenses.

I am hopeful that down the line I will be able to find ways to test samples for other contaminants such as glyphosates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) and more.

Project description

The $1,000 would go directly to the costs for my 2018 toxicity tests. I am in the process of building foundational relationships and applying for grants to fund everything hereafter!

More images: https://vimeo.com/265933028/baac95cd12

Esteban Valdez

Project: ALONE


At the time of this projects conception, I was going through a very nihilistic period of my life. Things didn’t make sense to me and I questioned the very nature of Being and what it all really, truly authentically meant and, furthermore, why should I care about the very nature of existence. That period of my life was very real, very dark, and very scary to say the least. To question Being, being unable to see the value in it all really made me desperate to find answers that would sustain me from making decisions which would have ultimate consequences to which the word “regret” doesn’t do the scenario any real justice.

As simple as this film is, finding the energy and the mental will to continue moving forward really took a tremendous amount of effort and energy, not so much in terms of physically moving forward through production, but because as I continued to move forward, I continued to ask questions and discovering new ideas and thoughts about this world and Being and that the more I continued to work on this project, I could sense that I was getting closer and closer to an answer. If not the answer, then at least another level of enlightenment that would make sense to me. Through the course of this project, I shared what I was working on with others and their responses really challenged me to stake my claim logically and philosophically. Many people found the short film, while simple in it’s conception, to be rather dark which had a profound impact on their ideology of life and living as a whole. The very idea that maybe there really is nothing else outside of our known experience terrifies them, though through discussion and thinking; we’re all able to come to the idea that in the case that there is nothing after this life, the fact remains that we exist here and now and that we really must do all that we can to preserve ourselves, our world and if anything, really look at our priorities in terms of human progress. But why should we care about human progress if there’s no value or meaning to it all? What’s the point? There is a moment in the film where we’re put face to face with the abyss, in the absolute silence and darkness of the screen. We see nihilism, the darkness, for what it is. Empty, void of all life and meaning and containing no answers. Something that offers no values and doesn’t care either way.

When I came face to face with that, it really got me thinking that no matter what, whether meaning and existence are valuable is up to us. What are we willing to put our Being towards? Are we going to try to point at something that we can actually and realistically contribute too, or are we going to point it towards worlds unknown because we hate what we have before us? In the beginning of the film, we see the explosion of life, the beginning of it all and the formation of the known universe. As we travel through the valley of spacetime, we see our own emergence in time and all that we’ve accomplished from the dawn of civilization to now and come to terms that we’re nothing more than just a blip on the timeline itself. That we still haven’t figured it all out and that we’re still striving. That even though we’ve gone through the ages of empires, and we fall time and time again, we rise like a phoenix to continue on striving to get it right until the moment we’ve decided to leave it all to our own technological arrogance. When we cease to care for each other and our world and instead opt to leave it rather than try to continue to strive to make it better. As we travel through the vacuum of space, in the darkness, we’re putting our hopes in ourselves to some degree, but irresponsibly so, until we come to the conclusion that maybe what we think we want isn’t exactly what we needed but it could be too late. The journey’s over. And because we misplaced our focus to somewhere other than the here and now, in each other, the emptiness of the void showed us what lies beyond.

In a way, I find that ALONE is a very hopeful and grounded story which tells us to look within. To look at each other and to see that we are valuable and that our lives do carry with it meaning. Yes, existence is difficult. It’s not easy. But simply to pack up and leave it, to travel into the darkness which offers no sustainable answers, no honest solutions; how could we possibly think that an answer like this will help us withstand life when all it does is tell us to end it? And who are we to make that make such a judgement?

“One recognizes one’s course by discovering the paths that stray from it.” – Albert Camus

If there is anything that I hope the viewer will get from this is a renewed sense and appreciation of life. To see the emptiness and the vapidness of our own arrogance and maybe to reconsider their current views of Being in a more constructive and positive light.

Project needs

As of this writing, we will have completed post production on animation and will be entering the audio phase of our project. The audio phase consists of generating sound effects, music scoring, music licensing and mixing and mastering which will cost $1,500 USD. The Macktez Summer Stipend will help us offset the cost of audio production, giving us the opportunity to use the additional money for film festival marketing costs and fees.

Project description

World war, natural disasters, famine and disease has set Earth on a crash course with destruction when an Earth-Like planet named “Kepler 186F,” is discovered. With excitement and hope, the greatest minds of a generation come together to plot the course and create the plan to send a robot, Kepler, to deliver life continuing cargo through 560 light years of interstellar space to Earth’s distant cousin in order to rebuild a new home.

“ALONE” explores the concept of what it means to travel through the deepest, darkest, regions of space and the possible realities of what we might find when we get to our destination, hope or fear.

Set to the classical score of Joseph Haydn, “ALONE” tells a subliminal story through the lens of heavy detailed compositions and subtle pacing.

Chihsuan Yang

Project: ESCP


For me, the essence of bing a musician is to act as a bridge between cultural diversities. In doing so, my motivations not only involve a diligent personal drive, but my belief that music contains a power beyond my teachings in school. I began my musical training at age six learning classical violin, piano, and erhu: a Chinese, two-stringed instrument. As I continue to explore how music unites and uplifts others, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for how it has enriched my life. That is why I continue to show my appreciation by sharing my love and knowledge of music in any way possible.

My interest in all types of music revealed opportunities far beyond my imagination: from playing chamber music with a blues legend, to being a member of a world music ensemble with flamenco dancers. In my free time, I enjoy visiting local hospitals to play music for patients with terminal illnesses or cardiovascular diseases, much like the heart defect I was diagnosed with as a child.
I have collaborated with internationally renowned artists from Senegal, India, Syria, Spain, Brazil, Malaysia, Japan, and China. I also lead educational demonstrations in schools ranging from kindergarten classrooms to university lecture halls, focusing on the dynamics of music and showcasing the erhu as a cultural significance within my heritage.

While sharing my knowledge and spreading awareness of my work are important to me, there is a deeper, more profound objective. It lives within the exhilarating exchange of energy between listener and performer and is the driving force behind my creativity and musical appreciation: to witness segregations of language, race, or religion dissolve within a melodic movement; to see a rhythm move young and old alike; or to observe humanity blossom within a song—revealing these beautiful instances is a constant aim and matters most to me when creating my work.

Project needs

The cost of producing/pressing physical albums, photographer for album arts, videographers and basic recording essentials, studio time. mixing/sound engineering. We hope to accomplish all of that within $5000.

Project description

ESCP is a duo consisting of Chihsuan Yang and Bob Garrett. Together we weave a rich soundscape to engage our audience. Refusing to be confined by our instruments and professional stigma or constructs of composition. Our goal is to develop live performances that fuse various mediums of creativity, technology, musical instruments, dance, visual art, musical expansions and improvisations. While it is hard to describe the subtle nuances of the music, it explores the presence of music as soundtracks to our lives.

I have always been drawn to movie soundtracks. To me they can amplify the emotional impact of the overall experience. As a performer, I would like to use a variety of resources to convey, to express and to communicate that emotional content. Dance, visual arts, motion pictures and music throughout history have always been an integral part of communities to unite, to strengthen and to heal. I would like to continue creating those rhythms and melodies that move the young and old alike and to witness our shared humanity blossom within a melodic movement.

I am eager to find out how this project will provide a doorway of inspiration and how it will help mix up my own process of creation. We hope to make a studio album, music videos as well as to present the most innovative performances along with some of the best performing, visual artists, film makers and like minded souls. Through our collaborations, we hope to effectively spread our messages and influences through music, acting as stronger, wider bridge between cultural diversity.