Photo: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko (Philadelphia, PA)

Franconia Sculpture Park announces selected writers

(Shafer, MN)  Five accomplished writers will join the inaugural Writers-in-Residence program at Franconia Sculpture Park in 2021. Nominated and selected by Franconia staff, the chosen writers span a range of arts-focused disciplines and will receive a stipend, full room & board, and a two- to three- week residency at the 50-acre outdoor sculpture park. The writers-in-residence in this pilot program will immerse themselves in the new environment and embrace the time and space to move forward in their work.

Director of Residency Programs, Ellina Kevorkian, says, “Winter is an ideal time at the park for writers to find focus and quiet away from familiar day-to-day distractions. Snow covers the landscape, bringing stillness and contemplation instead of the bustling of Franconia’s summer months. We are thrilled to welcome these notable professionals who each bring a unique perspective and commitment to their work and their established careers.”

Franconia Sculpture Park is adjusting to and conceiving new ways to support a collaborative artist environment during the COVID-19 pandemic when so many artists have lost personal and professional opportunities to thrive. Some have lost income and the potential to earn, while some have lost access to housing. In the spirit of our mission to support artists with our wide, open spaces (50 acres of trails, prairie, and sculpture park), Franconia has been able to safely resume its residency programs since June 2020 with strict sanitation and social-distancing protocols. Franconia remains free and open to the public during the COVID-pandemic.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko (Philadelphia, PA) is a Nigerian American performance artist, poet, and curator originally from Detroit, MI. His creative practice draws from Black study and queer theories of the body, weaving together visual performance, lecture, ritual, and spiritual practice. Recent awards include: 2020 Pew Fellowship, 2020-21 Resident Artist at the Wexner Center for the Arts, 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography, 2019 NPN Development Fund Award, 2019-21 Movement Research Artist in Residence, 2018-20 Live Feed Artist at New York Live Arts, 2017-19 Princeton Arts Fellow, 2019 Red Bull Writing Fellow, 2017 MAP Fund recipient, and a 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow. His works have toured internationally to South Africa, Europe, Canada, and throughout the US while appearing in festivals and venues such as, The Centre for the Less Good Idea (Johannesburg), Fusebox Festival (Austin), PICA | Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Tanz im August (Berlin), Moving in November (Finland), Within Practice (Sweden), TakeMeSomewhere (UK), Brighton Festival (UK), Oslo Teaterfestival (Norway), and Zürich MOVES! (Switzerland) among others. He is the author of two chapbooks: Animal in Cyberspace and Notes on An Urban Killfloor. His poems and essays have been included in The American Poetry Review, The Dunes Review, and The Broad Street Review, among others. Season 1 of his interview-based podcast, American Chameleon, can be found on all podcast platforms. In Fall 2020, he will be the Alma Hawkins Visiting Chair in the World Arts and Cultures Department at UCLA (Los Angeles, CA). Visit or follow @chameleon_coalition on Instagram for more information. Photo by Erik Carter.

Storm Large (Portland, OR) musician, actor, playwright, author, awesome. In 2009, Large’s autobiographical musical memoir, Crazy Enough, played to packed houses during its unprecedented 21-week sold-out run in Portland. A cabaret version of the show went on to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival (Australia), and Joe’s Pub (NY). Her memoir, Crazy Enough (2012), was released by Simon and Schuster, then named Oprah’s Book of the Week, and was awarded the 2013 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. Large made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013, singing Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with the Detroit Symphony as part of the Spring for Music festival – her performance was called “sensational” by The NY Times. Large’s musical debuts have included performances with the San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and RTÉ National Symphonies and return engagements with the Houston Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and the Toledo Symphony.

Recent highlights include engagements with the New York Pops, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, and the Knights, as well as performances at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. She’s been a special guest at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Popular Song series alongside Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, and the Pasadena Pops.

Television appearances include as a series regular on Rockstar Supernova, the Ellen Degeneres Show, the Rosie O’Donnell show, among others. Large also sings as a guest vocalist with the band Pink Martini performing with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and North America, including four sold-out concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Large has collaborated with a wide range of singers such as Rita Moreno; Grammy Award winner k.d. lang; Ari Shapiro, NPR’s host of All Things Considered; pianist Kirill Gerstein, punk rocker John Doe, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Legend George Clinton. Large continues to write with her band, Le Bonheur, who has debuted with the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and BBC Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and has had return engagements with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Amanda Yates Garcia (Los Angeles, CA) is a writer, art witch, and the Oracle of Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The LA Times, The SF Chronicle, The London Times, The Millions, The Believer, O Magazine, CNN, Salon, Bust, Bravo, and a viral appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight. She has led rituals, classes, and workshops on magic and witchcraft at UCLA, UC Irvine, MOCA Los Angeles, The Hammer Museum, LACMA, The Getty, Human Resources, MOCA Tucson, and many other venues. Amanda hosts the popular Between the Worlds podcast. Her first book, Initiated: Memoir of a Witch, came out in October 2019 through Grand Central/Hachette and is translated into six languages. ©2019 Amanda Yates Garcia by Sarah Soquel Morhaim.

Maymanah Farhat (Santa Cruz, CA) Maymanah Farhat is an art historian who has written widely on twentieth and twenty-first century art. Since 2005, she has contributed to edited volumes, artist monographs, and museum and gallery catalogs. Her writing has also appeared in Art Journal, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Art + Auction, and Apollo. Farhat has curated exhibitions throughout the U.S. and abroad, notably at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, San Francisco Center for the Book, Center for Book Arts, Manhattan, Arab American National Museum, Virginia Commonwealth University Gallery (Doha, Qatar), Art Dubai, and Beirut Exhibition Center. In 2014, she was included among Foreign Policy’s annual list of 100 Leading Global Thinkers to recognize her scholarship on Syrian art after the uprising. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Museum Administration from St. John’s University, New York.

Natalia Mount (Oakland, CA) is a dynamic cultural organizer, curator, publisher, author, and sociologist of art with extensive experience in the expanded field of art, law, economics, and nonprofit leadership. Originally from Bulgaria, Natalia lived in New York, where in early 2000, she co-founded FLUX Art Space – a pioneering art organization that commissioned and produced long-term art projects, claiming the intersection of art, technology, and civic engagement. At the beginning of her career, Natalia worked at MoMA PS1 and Clocktower, both in NYC. Ivanova is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards in recognition of her contributions to the art and culture field. Her essay, “Reframing the Value of Art and Fair Labor in the Context of a Sharing Economy” was published by the Journal for Aesthetics, Protest,, and Project Kalahati. She holds a BA in Criminal Justice, an MA in Art Market, and an MBA in Media Management.

About Franconia Sculpture Park

Franconia Sculpture Park is the pre-eminent, artist-centered sculpture park in the Midwest. Founded in 1996, Franconia provides physically and intellectually wide-open spaces that inspire new ways of thinking through access to contemporary sculpture, installation and land art. Located in the scenic St. Croix River Valley, Franconia operates a 43-acre outdoor museum, active artist residency program, and a depth and breadth of arts programming for a diverse and engaged public.

Franconia is located at 29836 St. Croix Trail in Shafer, Minnesota, and is free and open to the public 365 days a year from 8am to 8pm.

Find Franconia Sculpture Park on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @franconiamn