Plain View Fellowship

The 2021 Plain View Fellowship was a pilot program to help deepen SFA’s ethnographic work in the region. Five documentarians and artist-researchers were selected from a competitive pool of applicants to carry out a project that elevates and illuminate a slice of folklife, culture, or heritage in the region that may otherwise be misunderstood, overlooked, or forgotten. The program takes its name from folklorist Mary Hufford’s notion that the study of folklife reveals beauty “hidden in plain view.”

Fellows were chosen by five panelists: Estevan Azcona, Ethnomusicologist, San José State University, San José, CA; Karen Falkenstrom, Director, Odaiko Sonora Taiko Drummers, Tucson, AZ; Bryan Falcón, Director, Scoundrel & Scamp Theater, Tucson, AZ; Mele Martinez, Writer & Flamenco Artist, Tucson, AZ; and Selina Morales, Folklorist, Philadelphia, PA.

Each fellow was awarded $5,000 and to carry out their research over the nine months. Fellows participated in monthly learning and support sessions with each other and shared perspectives about their work in BorderLore.

The 2021 fellows and their work:

Sakya Calsoyas, a filmmaker from Flagstaff/Navajo Nation, documented the impact the loss of Indigenous elders to Covid-19 on the Navajo Nation and culture.

Yvonne Montoya, a Tucson-based dancer/choreographer, studied and documented the Sonoran Bronco, a traditional Mexican folkloric dance form, in collaboration with digital artist Ammi Robles and Maestro Juan Luis Ángeles González through a cross-border dance exchange in Agua Prieta, Sonora.

Marc David Pinate, a theater artist in Tucson, worked with a team of apprentice artist-ethnographers to research and document through oral history significant sites to Mexican American communities along the Santa Cruz River and in Tucson’s west side barrios. Read Marc’s BorderLore essay on elevating folklife and heritage through theatricality.

Nolan Veneklasen, a Tucson-based filmmaker, documented the Tucson Chinese Lion Dance Troupe and its role in creating cultural identity among Chinese American adoptees.

Karen Vargas, a poet in Taos, NM, documented the work traditional agriculturalists within Native and Indo-Hispano communities of the upper Rio Grande Valley through interviews and inter-generational creative writing workshop.

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