January 25, 2015 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst Fund has announced its 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship Program recipients, giving 10 local artists the opportunity to advance their careers while encouraging civic engagement in San Diego.

Artist fellows each receive a 12-­‐month, $20,000 grant with the impact of that investment reaching beyond the individual. The Creative Catalyst program is grounded in the belief that direct support to artists has a positive and measurable impact on the vitality and vibrancy of our communities and residents.

“Creative Catalyst Fellowships are investments in the creative entrepreneurship of our arts community,” San Diego Foundation CEO Kathlyn Mead explained. “The San Diego Foundation created a vision based on region-­‐wide community feedback that advances four key areas: Work, Enjoy, Learn and Live (WELL). These fellowships link Work, Learn and Enjoy together to give artists and community members who value the arts the opportunity to make that connection.”

Launched in 2011, two rounds of Creative Catalyst Fellowships have been completed and 25 artists have received funds that ranged from $11,000 to $25,000. Already the program has seen artists flourish with the opportunity to take more creative risks and expand their professional growth. The investment has given them a “stamp of legitimacy,” that has opened doors to more work, as well as the opportunity to mentor other artists.

Creative Catalyst alum Wu Man was recently nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best World Music Album. Man has been an important voice for cross-­‐cultural collaboration between her instrument – the pipa – a 3000-­‐year-­‐old Chinese plucking instrument – and musicians, composers and artists around the world. Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. Man used her Creative Catalyst grant to create “When China Meets Latin America,” a series of cross-­‐cultural exchanges between the Chinese Pipa and Latin American plucking instruments, resulting in a musical and cultural dialogue between two diverse communities.

Jill Hall, chair of the Creative Catalyst Fund Fellowship, noted that the 10 artists were chosen from a pool of 57 highly qualified applicants. From January 2015 through December, the artists will implement projects focusing on a broad range of issues, from climate change and the preservation of our natural environment, to immigration and diversity, to the intersection of art, science and innovation.

“San Diego is home to nearly 10,000 artists who represent a substantial and untapped workforce capable of contributing significant value to our communities,” Hall shared. “With each cohort of artists that receive the fellowship, we see multiple opportunities for leveraging their talent and creativity for the benefit of San Diego, our economy, and our culture.”

The 2015 artists selected and their nonprofit sponsors include:

Alicia Baskel
Baskel’s choreographic process fuses her two greatest interests: dance making and creative writing. Her performance work enlivens the space between reality and fiction, movement and language, creating an experience that takes the audience on a visceral journey.
Sponsor: Mojalet
Project: “Process Works” is a touring dance series that brings the experience of dance performance to local science institutions and their employees, encouraging professionals in various fields of science to value their own creative processes.

Todd Blakesley
Actor, producer, director and playwright who is well known for crafting unique theatre experiences. His work in “Dream Immersion” theatre eliminates the separation between actor and audience by engaging them in the same dramatic situation.
Sponsor: Playwrights Project
Project: “Dark Matter” is a script development, workshop production play about the world and what could happen if we all had to escape because of the ravages of extreme weather, water wars, over-­‐consumption and unsustainable population and ideological strife which become too much to bear.

Brian Goeltzenleuchter
Goeltzenleuchter’s artwork and design infuses interdisciplinary research into the creation of participatory environments, scripted and improvised performances, olfactory art, painting and object making.
Sponsor: San Diego Writers, Ink
Project: “Olfactory Memoirs” will work with members of a San Diego community to identify a topic that engages their collective memory and challenges them to approach it using the sense of smell. The artist will design evocative scent-­‐scapes that will be adapted for collaborative performances with writers, media makers, or dancers and document these performances in a scent-­‐infused book.

Matthew Hebert
Creates work that deals with technology and its effects on the environment and our sense of place. His work takes recognizable furniture forms and layers new forms of use and meaning onto them.
Sponsor: Escondido Arts Partnership
Project: “Information Retrieval” will transform used filing cabinets into solar-­‐powered, kinetic dioramas that represent remembered landscapes. It will explore the effects of information technology on our experience of the landscape.

Bhavna Mehta
Engineer-­‐turned-­‐artist who has become a well-­‐known storyteller through her cut paper artistry. Her style is influenced by folk art traditions from India and based on the premise that everything is connected.
Sponsor: Oceanside Museum of Art
Project: In “Paper Pattern Story,” Mehta will collect stories of San Diego’s rich diversity, find common patterns and rhythms, and build a cut paper installation in which a larger overarching narrative will emerge.

Ron Najor
Producer/director whose film credits include “I am Not a Hipster,” which aired at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.
Sponsor: Media Arts Center
Project: “American Babylon” is an in-­‐depth film documentary that profiles three Iraqi refugees trying to assimilate to American culture after being displaced from Iraq due to the war.

Noe Olivas
Sculptor and multimedia artist interested in social practice, the art of collaborating with others—both skilled artists and the general public—to co-­‐create works of art and arts education programs.
Sponsor: New Children’s Museum
Project: “Untitled Space” is a rolling social sculpture using a 1967 Chevy Step Van. The vehicle will serve as an alternative, unconventional, yet utilitarian mobile space for which artists, performers, musicians, etc., to conceive their work within the context of a site specific neighborhood or city.

Roberto Salas
Specializes in public art projects that are inter-­‐generational, crosses economic divisions and speaks to a local audience of similar yet unique life experiences.
Sponsor: Camarada
Project: “The Silent Buzz” is a public art installation to build awareness of the importance of bee pollination on future populations using plasticine (puddy-­‐like modeling clay) cast into rubber molds to create a series of large scale bee shapes.

Mike Sears
Sears is a San Diego-­‐based actor, playwright and teacher. His work has been seen in New York City as well as regionally and throughout San Diego, at such theaters as the Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego rep, and Cygnet theatre, among others.
Sponsor: The Old Globe
Project: “When it Comes” is a metaphorical theatrical tale that uses actors, text, movement, live music and shadow puppetry to share the story of a couple that tries to have a child and the experiences they encounter along the way.

Yale Strom
Violinist, composer and multi-­‐talented artist who is one of the world’s leading scholar-­‐ethnographer-­‐ artists of klezmer music (traditional secular music of Ashkenazi and Hasidic Jews) and history.
Sponsor: San Diego Rep
Project: “Common Chords Extreme!” brings chamber music to two of the newest refugee groups in San Diego – Somali and Chaldean. The artist will compose one string quartet (premiered by the Hausmann String Quartet ) and one jazz quintet (premiered by the Tripp Sprague Jazz Quintet), each based upon Somali and Chaldean folk melodies.

About The San Diego Foundation
Founded in 1975, The San Diego Foundation’s purpose is to promote and increase effective and responsible charitable giving. The Foundation manages more than $668 million in assets, more than half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since its inception, The Foundation has granted more than $900 million to the San Diego region’s nonprofit community. For additional information, please visit The San Diego Foundation at sdfoundation.org.

Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600, vheald@behmedia.com
Theresa Nakata, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300, theresan@sdfoundation.org