Art prize finalists, grants for a dancemaker and a new musical, and Mother Ginger
• Congratulations to choreographer Deborah Hay on receiving a USA fellowship grant from the national artists' advocacy organization United States Artists. Only 50 artists are selected annually for these unrestricted grants. Hay was among six dancemakers chosen by the five-member dance panel chaired by Sixto Wagan of DiverseWorks in Houston. She was not, however, the only Austin resident to receive a 2010 fellowship: Documentary filmmaker Anne Lewis was awarded one as well from the media panel, which was chaired by Austin Film Society Programming Director Chale Nafus. For more information, visit www.unitedstatesartists.org, where you can also learn about USA Projects, through which artists are seeking funding online. Bastrop-based jazz trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe, a 2009 USA Fellow and member of the 2010 music panel, has fully funded his Music Liberation project for inmates at the Youth Detention Center, Bastrop County Jail, and the federal prison near Bastrop at the $10,000 level, but Katie Pearl and Lisa D'Amour, present and past Austin theatre artists, are still in need of $7,255 to fund their How To Build a Forest project with visual artist Shawn Hall in New York City and New Orleans. Wouldn't you like to make a holiday gift in support of these gifted artists?
• Vortex Repertory Company has just scored its second grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for an original musical. Following up on the $15,000 grant in 2009 for its adaptation of Sleeping Beauty by Content Love Knowles and Vortex Artistic Director Bonnie Cullum, the company will receive $20,000 to support Sarah Silver Hands, an original all-ages musical inspired by the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale The Girl Without Hands. Chad Salvata, who composed Vampyress, The Dragonfly Princess, Pythia Dust, and The X&Y Trilogy for Vortex, will create the adaptation, and Cullum will direct. In the story, Sarah, Princess of the Autumn Kingdom, loses her hands but finds her destiny and creates peace between the Autumn and Winter kingdoms. For more information, visit www.vortexrep.org.
• Arthouse has named the three finalists for the 2011 Arthouse Texas Prize, the biennial honor recognizing an innovative talent on the Lone Star art scene. Houston artists Jamal Cyrus and Will Henry and Austin's Jeff Williams beat out more than 140 of their peers nominated by 64 art world professionals. They were selected by a jury composed of Arthouse Executive Director Sue Graze; Bill Arning, director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Gary Carrion-Murayari, senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Philipp Kaiser, senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, director and chief curator at the Aspen Art Museum; and 2007 Arthouse Texas Prize recipient Katrina Moorhead. Each finalist receives a stipend to create new work that will be shown at Arthouse Aug. 25-Oct. 30, 2011, in an exhibition organized by Arthouse curator and Associate Director Elizabeth Dunbar. The recipient of the prize, which comes with a $30,000 check, will be announced at Arthouse's annual fundraiser gala in October 2011. For more information, visit www.arthousetexas.org.
• So who won the honor of playing Mother Ginger in Ballet Austin's big vote this season? Jeanne Goka, that's who. The principal of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders received 21,179 votes during the 15-day contest, beating out 20 other community leaders and local celebs, including runners-up Mary Ann Laverty of Silicon Labs and County Line restaurants owner Don A. "Skeeter" Miller, as well as Vortex Repertory Company Artistic Director Bonnie Cullum. Guess those students of Goka's were desperate to see her camping it up in that outsized satin bosom and releasing 16 Bon Bon dancers from under her tent-sized skirt. Well, at least the principal gets a celebrity dressing room and a gift basket for her troubles, plus eight box-seat tickets for the show, a discount code for other friends' and family members' tickets, and a photo and video of herself in costume. Goka takes the stage for the final performance of Ballet Austin's 48th production of The Nutcracker, which happens Thursday, Dec. 23, at 2pm. The Mother Gingers for the other remaining performances are: KVUE Sports Director Mike Barnes (Friday, Dec. 17, 7:30pm), Austin Fire Department Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr (Saturday, Dec. 18, 2pm), JB & Sandy Morning Show personality Cassiday Proctor (Saturday, Dec. 18, 7:30pm), Susan G. Komen for the Cure Austin Executive Director Christy Casey (Sunday, Dec. 19, 2pm), video-game developer and astronaut Richard Garriott (Tuesday, Dec. 21, 7:30pm), and community volunteer and philanthropist Lorrie Garcia (Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2pm). All performances are in Dell Hall at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside. For more information, call 476-2163 or visit www.balletaustin.org.