Announcing the Spring 2024 Development Fund Awardees

May 16, 2024  •  5 minute read

Original photo by Jonathan Hsu, edited by Kate Speer.

The National Performance Network (NPN) is pleased to award $70,000 and leverage $258,000 through the Spring 2024 Development Fund to further support seven Creation Fund projects that advance racial and cultural justice.

The Development Fund is the second phase of NPN’s Creation & Development Fund (CDF) and assists in offsetting managerial, artistic, or technical needs when developing projects. These needs can include supporting technical residencies, deepening community engagement, relationship building, expanding storytelling, or studio time to prepare a project for travel.

NPN’s approach to artistic support is built on the notions of partnership and long-term relationship building. NPN actively strives to expand the capacities and connectivity of its constituents. The Development Fund is structured to maximize these goals. Artists can apply independently or as a team with a co-commissioning partner of their choosing, depending on the needs of the project.

“The Development Fund is part of a supportive ecosystem of awards that help artists move more easily from conception to development, and finally to production. This process will encourage deeper post-production reflections that will help me grow as an artist and collaborator. NPN provides more than financial backing, it also encourages community building that encourages artists to develop sustainable creative and financial practices.”

—NPN Creation & Development Fund Artist, Lisa B. Thompson

The Creation and Development Fund is made possible with support from the Doris Duke Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency).

Spring 2024 Development Fund Recipients

Autumn Knight

New York, NY


Co-commissioning partner: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) (Portland, OR)

Autumn Knight’s NOTHING series is an investigation into the Italian concept of “dolce far niente,” the sweetness of doing nothing, including performances of A Bar, A Bed and A Bluff as part of an exhibition in Fall 2024. The PICA version of the project will be expanded into a larger space and longer time period than past iterations. The Development Fund will be used for technical, design, and production staff planning time, plus site visits, construction, and shipping costs.

Group of people sitting, standing, and walking around a room that is colorfully lit. There is a square in the middle with audience interaction. Screens suspended in the air show a live feed. People are talking, drinking, and chatting.
Autumn Knight at Performance Space New York, 2023. Photo by Rachel Papo.

Kate Speer & Kayla Hamilton

Denver, CO


Co-commissioning partner: RedLine Contemporary Art Center (Denver, CO)

PlaceHolder, a collaboratively made experience that exposes how perception actualizes and strips identities, draws upon disability aesthetics, centering access as both a creative process and collaborator within the work. The Development Fund will support the integration of two Audio Describers into the performance cast. These Audio Describers will create new content that describes the movement and physical space as well as perform in the work.

Image of Kate ( a white woman with brown hair) and Kayla (a Black woman with long locs) are squatting and looking at a computer. There is handwritten journal text overlaid on the left-side of the photo.
Original photo by Jonathan Hsu, edited by Kate Speer.


Durham, NC

terrestrial: The Sprout

Developmental partner: Radical Healing (Durham, NC)

terrestrial: The Sprout is the opening performance project in the terrestrial body of work. The creators will be in residence at Durham, North Carolina’s Radical Healing campus during the development of the work to conduct rehearsals, community conversations, workshops, and cultural events. In conversation and collaboration with the healing community of Radical Healing, the creative team will also engage in conversations around what is involved and nurtured in creating new economies together that reflect the interdependent needs and desires of creative teams.

A light brown-skinned Black woman leans back, her midback length locs dangling in the space behind her. She is wearing a rumpled, paper-thin plastic set. Large scattered and scrunched panels of canvas are beneath her and projected images of a fold or crevice in a body of similar complexion are behind her.
Photo Credit: Mame Diarra Speis (pictured), visual installation by Makini, terrestrial (pre-research). Photo by Scott Shaw.

Princess Lockerooo and The Fabulous Waack Dancers with Music by Harold O’Neal

New York City, NY

The Fabulous Waack Dancers’ Big Show

Co-commissioning partner: Works & Process, Inc. (New York, NY)

Princess Lockerooo and The Fabulous Waack Dancers, with music by Harold O’Neal, will build upon learning from Works & Process LaunchPAD residency and in-process sharings at Guggenheim, NYPL for the Performing Arts, and Underground Uptown Dance Festival at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. With six main and six supporting characters, The Big Show will push boundaries, cross-pollinating dance and theater. Like the silent films that inspired waacking, the Fabulous Waack dancers will use their bodies to communicate intertwining narratives. The Development Fund will support studio time and artist fees as the team cleans up choreography through rehearsals, refines character development, and expands the show by an additional 15 minutes.

An olive-skinned, multiracial woman with dark hair and hazel eyes is shown from the shoulders up. She has tight curls pulled up high on her head with bangs and is wearing a black strapless top with rhinestones lining her neck area. She has a silver, sequined choker that drips several strips of silver beads past her top. She wears a dangling, disco ball earring in one ear and the other ear is lined with silver rhinestones that cover the entire ear and drip down into a single strand from the earlobe.
Princess Lockerooo. Photo by Kate Singh.

Raven Chacon + Guillermo Galindo

Red Hook, NY & Berkeley, CA


Co-commissioning partner: Ogden First Inc. (Ogden, UT)

In a collaborative endeavor, Caesura unites Mexican experimental composer Guillermo Galindo and Pulitzer Prize-winning Diné composer Raven Chacon. Complementing the “The Other Side of the Tracks” exhibition, their site-specific composition draws inspiration from the sensory history of 19th-century rail expansion, addressing social, economic, and environmental impacts and challenges historical omissions, offering a critical lens on the railroad’s complex role in shaping the nation. The musical score unfolds through a call-and-response process, enriched by a research expedition to historical sites. This dynamic performance, featuring local percussionists, adapts to diverse venues, engaging with the multifaceted impact of railways on their local communities.

The photo depicts a black and white photo of the “Plainnsong” musical score.
Photo by Raven Chacon.

Rosy Simas

Minneapolis, MN

O’nigöëiyosde: Mind Of Peace

Co-commissioning partner: Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)

O’nigöëiyosde: Mind of Peace is a project of healing, generating, and rest, centering Haudenosaunee’s contemporary views of what it means to cultivate a mind of peace. The Development Fund will support a 10-day production residency for Rosy Simas at the Walker Art Center, to prepare the work for its premiere.

Against a vast, gradient mauve background, Sam Mitchell raises his bare arm high, his hand saturated in warm reddish-orange light. He looks downward with concentration, his profile and long wavy brown hair saturated by a bright blue light. Sam is a lean, middle-aged Indigenous man and wears a sleeveless mottled shirt.
Sam Aros-Mitchell in “she who lives on the road to war.” Photo by Valerie Oliveiro.

Ximena Garnica & Shige Moriya | LEIMAY

New York, NY


Co-commissioning partner: Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art, Ltd. (New York, NY)

Artistic collective LEIMAY, consisting of Ximena Garncia and Shige Moriya, will produce a workshop of A MEAL with co-commissioner HERE at North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL) from June 17 to 22, 2024. The Development Fund will support LEIMAY as they develop and refine A MEAL’s video and sound installation with choreography. This workshop also includes one public sharing and a cooking workshop, ahead of the world premiere of A MEAL in September 2024.

A medium-skinned masked man stands opposite a light-skinned masked woman, with a table between them holding food preparation materials. Both wear aprons and have on face paint. The man holds up one end of a large green banana leaf, while the woman holds the other, stretching it across the table.
LEIMAY’s A MEAL at HERE, New York, NY, work-in-progress (2022). Photo by Hunter Canning.