Monday, December 12, 2016

Lao American selected for 2017 VERVE Spoken Word Grant

Congratulations to Lao American writer Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay who just announced that she's been selected as the recipient of the 2017 VERVE Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts.

This is a significant achievement for one of our leading writers in our community and victory for Lao American writers everywhere. We look forward to her creative outcomes in the months ahead!

The first grant for spoken word poets nationwide, Intermedia Arts’ VERVE grant program provides funding for emerging Minnesota spoken word poets who are interested in artistic advancement and leadership in their communities. Through financial assistance, professional development, and recognition within a culturally and socio-economically diverse group of literary artists, this program strengthens and supports Minnesota's literary community.

Intermedia Arts is Minnesota's premier multidisciplinary, multicultural arts organization. They work to build understanding among people by catalyzing and inspiring artists to make changes in their lives and communities. They provide creative people of all ages with the opportunities, tools, and support to come together across disciplines, sectors, and boundaries to connect, create, share, collaborate, innovate, think big, and act as catalysts for positive community-driven and community-defined change. They are a nationally recognized leader in empowering artists and community leaders to used arts-based approaches to solve community issues.

By stimulating deeper community engagement and providing a platform for the stories and experiences of underrepresented communities locally, nationally, and internationally, they contribute to a stronger, healthier society.

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay was born in a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1984. Because of her unique background, her work is focused on creating tools and spaces for the amplification of refugee voices through poetry, theater, and experimental cultural production.

She is a teaching artist with COMPAS, Success Beyond the Classroom, East Metro Integration District, and the East Side Arts Council. Her writings can be found in such publications as Saint Paul Almanac (Arcata Press), Lessons For Our Time (MN Center for Book Arts), Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement (Purdue University Press), and The Asian American Literary Review (Binghamton University).

Her work has been possible due to support from the Jerome Foundation, Bush Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the MN State Arts Board. She is best known for her award-winning play KUNG FU ZOMBIES VS CANNIBALS (Theater Mu) and is developing two more plays for the KUNG FU ZOMBIEVERSE anthology of stage works.

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