WAA Announces Inaugural Native Launchpad Artists & AIP Fellows

Western Arts Alliance (WAA) is pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of the Native Launchpad Program: Christopher K. Morgan, Allison Akootchook Warden, and Anthony Hudson.

Native Launchpad is the cornerstone program of Advancing Indigenous Performance, Western Arts Alliance’s new national initiative to create new touring and presentation opportunities for Indigenous performing artists.

Native Launchpad provides Indigenous artists with tools and resources needed to further their careers and introduce them to the world of arts presenting and management. The Native Launchpad will help create opportunity and sustainability for individual Native artists and groups through financial support, professional development opportunities, strategic promotions, and networking. Each artist will receive direct support totaling $40,000 including project grants, travel, mentoring/coaching, professional development and promotional benefits.

Christopher K. Morgan (Native Hawaiian) is a contemporary dance choreographer, performer, and programmer based in Washington DC. Christopher’s performing career has been expansive, dancing for the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Kevin Wynn and the Collection, Shapiro & Smith, Selfish Shellfish (Germany), Hernando Cortez, and Pilobolus Creative Services, among many others. He is currently working on a two-part work, Native Intelligence/Innate Intelligence, co-commissioned by the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, that will incorporate modern dance, hula, Hawaiian chant, and original live music.

Allison Akootchook Warden (Iñupiaq) is an artist now living in Anchorage, AK who uses music, hip-hop, spoken word, video, and installations to create a healing, transcendent experience for her audiences. Among her recent awards, she is the recipient 2018 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship in Music, and a 2018 Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship in New Genres. She has performed around the United States, but more often in Europe. Allison is the co-leader of a traditional Iñupiaq dance group, the Kisaġvigmiut Traditional Dancers, based in Anchorage.

Anthony Hudson (Grand Ronde) is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, performer, and filmmaker. Anthony lives in Portland, OR among lush greenery, sprawling gentrification, and a not-mutually-exclusive fear of bridges and earthquakes. Anthony is perhaps best known as Portland’s premier drag clown CARLA ROSSI, an immortal trickster whose attempts at realness almost always result in fantastic failure. His 2016 work, Looking for Tiger Lilly, was recently performed to acclaim at The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College.

The artists were selected by a panel of six Indigenous performing arts professionals from across the country.

In addition to Native Launchpad, nine artists were named AIP Fellows, each receiving scholarships to attend the 2018 AIP Artist Symposium and WAA Conference in Las Vegas. The 2018 Fellows are: Maura Garcia (non-enrolled Cherokee/ Mattamuskeet), Lawrence, KS, Delbert Anderson (Navajo), Farmington, NM, Thea Hopkins (Wampanoag), Somerville, MA, Dawn Avery (Mohawk), Alexandria, VA, Autumn Star Chacon (Navajo), Albuquerque, NM, DeLanna Studi (Cherokee), Winston-Salem, NC, Moses W. Goods (Native Hawaiian), Honolulu, HI, Herman H. Villiarimo Jr. (Native Hawaiian), Kahului, HI, and Ed Bourgeois (French/Mohawk), Aiea, HI.

The Advancing Indigenous Performance program is made possible by a lead grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation.

Sponsor logos: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Native Arts and Cultures Foundation

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