Nothing is more important to the landscape of the arts than the process of art making. Santa Monica’s Artist Fellowship program is among the most robust, city-based individual artist support grants in the U.S. The City of Santa Monica is pleased to announce that this year two Santa Monica artists will receive $20,000 fellowships:  D’Lo Tamil-Sri Lankan queer/transgender performer and writer, and Dan Kwong, Veteran performance artist, writer, and visual artist.

“At a time when artists are being called upon to bring messages of hope, this award makes it easy to address the climate, with the aim of creating more understanding and compassion,” said artist D’Lo.

Additionally, three local artists will receive $4,000 Artist Project Fellowships: Choreographers Christine Suarez and Jacob Jonas, and novelist Mark Sarvas.

Now in its eighth year, the Artist Fellowship program recognizes artistic excellence, nourishes the production of new work from the world-class visions and voices of Santa Monica’s rich diversity, and reinforces our community’s high regard for creativity and innovation.

“Artists are a vital part of the ecosystem that makes Santa Monica a vibrant city. These fellowship awards are a celebration of the artists who enrich our lives and strengthen our community,” said City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Manager Shannon Daut.

The program launched in 2010 as a complement to the City’s arts organizational grant programs, in accordance with Creative Capital, the City’s cultural plan. Award amounts are designed for impact in an arts community that must sustain itself in the context of the City’s high cost of living.

“I am deeply honored, and very excited about the possibilities [the Fellowship] creates for me to continue working on my documentary/art video,” says Kwong.

The 34 (and counting) recipients of the award are among the City’s most creative and innovative artists, and include filmmaker Meena Nanji, visual artists Analia Saban, Alex Donis and Phyllis Green, choreographers Rudy Perez and Lionel Popkin, theatre/film auteur Patrick Kennelly, and novelists Charles Yu and Laila Lalami, among many others.

The year’s award panel included Mecca Vazie Andrews, dancer, choreographer and musician; Tomas Benitez, former Executive Director of Self Help Graphics and L.A. County Arts Commissioner; Irene Borger, author and Director of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts; and Lorne Buchman, President of Art Center College of Design.




D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American writer/performer whose work ranges from stand-up comedy to solo theater, plays, films, music, poetry and spoken word.

Dan Kwong is a veteran performance artist, writer, teacher and visual artist who has been presenting his solo performances since 1989.

Jacob Jonas is a choreographer and director. At 13, he joined the Calypso Tumblers, a street-performing group on the Venice boardwalk, and performed with them around the world

Mark Sarvas is an American novelist, book reviewer, and blogger. He is the host of the literary blog The Elegant Variation and author of the novel Harry, Revised (Bloomsbury, Spring 2008).

Christine Suarez is a choreographer, performer and educator. Born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana, she has created dance-theater works, site-specific events and dances for theater and film.

– Submitted by Constance Farrell, City of Santa Monica Public Information Officer