Mellon Foundation grants $750,000 to fund performing arts research

The Andrew A. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Washington a three-year $750,000 grant to pilot a new Creative Fellowships Initiative that will explore the nature of creative research at a top public research university. The interdisciplinary initiative will advance the field of performing arts by supporting artists in the development of new work and by integrating the performing arts disciplines into the broader curriculum.

"We see these research-directed creative residencies as a way forward, both to serve our fields and to champion the values of art in the culture at large.” —Todd London

The initiative marks the first time the performing arts units on campus—the UW World Series, School of Drama, School of Music, Dance Program and Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXArts)—have collaborated on an experiment of this scale. Todd London, executive director of the School of Drama, and Michelle Witt, executive and artistic director of UW World Series, will serve as lead investigators.

The initiative will support exploration by guest artists in the fields of dance, theater and music through one- to three-year residencies, commissions, collaborations and performances. Guest artist Fellows will be recruited from individual artists and ensembles from around the world that are at the leading edge of contemporary performing arts and have significant experience in creative development and education. The initiative will encourage creative inquiry between the fellows and counterparts among scholars and researchers in other fields and disciplines.

“In the STEM world we inhabit, research and innovation are seen as the domain of the sciences and technology, even as the values of art—creativity, collaboration and imaginative engagement with the unknown—are prized,” states Todd London. “This culture is both our challenge and opportunity, and we see these research-directed creative residencies as a way forward, both to serve our fields and to champion the values of art in the culture at large.”

Read the full press release from the UW World Series.