Shuchat Arts Fellowship Program

The objective of the Shuchat Arts Fellowship Program (SAFP) is to provide students in the arts an opportunity to develop their expertise through significant independent summer projects, working under the guidance of close faculty mentors.

Fellowships are available for students majoring in art, music, or theatre. While first- and second-year students are not excluded from consideration, recipients of the Shuchat Fellowship should be sufficiently advanced in their craft to do high-level, independent work. Fellows are expected to use this opportunity to build their portfolios, have professional experiences, or otherwise prepare for career or graduate school success in the arts.

The SAFP will provide six annual student awards of $5,500. Funding is made possible through a generous, multi-year pledge from Mr. Terry N. Shuchat.

2022 Shuchat Arts Fellows

apodaca_miaMia Apodaca is a junior at Willamette currently pursuing majors in Theatre (Directing Emphasis) and Global Cultural Studies. Growing up away from extended family members was difficult, and often caused them to feel a disconnect from their Mexican heritage. Recently, driving between California and Oregon has brought up a lot of memories of disconnectedness and intersectionality, which they hope to explore more thoroughly in this fellowship. As an artist, Mia fell in love with directing their senior year of high school and hopes to instill this same love for theatre in as many hearts as possible.

Project Description

During the summer of 2020, they (like most people) were doing a lot of reflecting and created the idea for a play written by a Latine individual for Latine readers and theatergoers. Mia revisited this idea in the fall of 2021, and Ladybug was created. Throughout this process, Mia hopes to create a space for queer Latine directors, designers, audiences, and actors -- even if it’s only for the duration of this play. In preparation for this fellowship, they embarked on a journey to read at least 50 plays written by Latine playwrights and gathered all sorts of knowledge about storytelling, life, Latin American history, and plot structure.

Mia will reflect on what it means to be a queer person of color in our society steeped in white supremacy through their play, Ladybug: What More Can I Be? They will explore identity, fears, mental health, and growing up through the eyes of the protagonist, a young person named Ladybug. This play will focus on the experiences of Latine youth while also sharing what it’s like to reconnect to a culture that feels so far away. While this idea started out as an autobiographical project, it has morphed into a platform for the voices of all Latine students, individuals, parents, and friends to take center stage

Final Project: Ladybug: What More Can I Be? 

Danny Davis is a rising senior from Seattle, Washington. They spent much of middle and high school imagining that they would go into computer science, but attempted acting in their senior year of high school and discovered a love for it. A writer and singer as well, little is more important to her than her voice. She is now a theatre major with dreams of acting professionally who, having enjoyed a few years on stage and occasionally screen, wants to branch out into the world of voiceover.

Project Description

Danny’s project for the Shuchat Arts Fellowship will be to create a series of three voiceover reels. The first is for commercial work such as ad reads, the second for character work in animation and games, and the third for the narration of audiobooks, corporate training, and descriptive audio for film and television. This project will allow her to supplement her theatre education with practical work in voiceover and sound design. These demos will be woven into a viable artistic presence that she can use following graduation.

For Danny, making art has always been a collaborative process, being one of many in a much larger production. Voiceover requires a more holistic approach, requiring technical knowledge of sound design in addition to acting and presentation skills. To retain a collaborative aspect, she will include the creative writing of other students, creating a short audiobook of the work and including part of it in the narration demo. While developing new skills, she will also be honing her voice for all avenues of acting, making it a foundational part of her identity as an artist.

Final Project: Commercial, Animation, & Narration Reels: Developing Skills for Voiceover Work. 

jones_parkerParker S. Jones is a twenty-one-year-old Salem-based artist and student; born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Studio Art and Psychology, and is versed in several mediums including video art, painting, performance art, printmaking, drawing, photography, and installation. Concept and process are very important in his work, which deals with a number of topics including gender, sexuality, capitalism, technology, psychology, and anthropocentrism. Absurdity and humor are frequently employed to get the message across in his practice.

Project Description

My current project, new methods of emotion research: an empirical study in six parts features a series of six works of art. Each part coinciding with one of the six basic emotions as defined by Paul Ekman: fear, anger, happiness, sadness, surprise, and disgust. The idea of studying something as enigmatic as human emotion may seem contradictory. However, artists often do the same thing, attempting to understand oneself and one's emotions. In this way art and science are very connected; both seeking a greater understanding. I myself have often been perplexed by the complexity of emotion. However, there are some things the scientific alone cannot explain, which I believe art may be able to. This is what I intend to explore over the course of this summer as I focus on these six emotions and what they each entail.

Final Project: A Series of Emotional Experiments

phoenix_oakleyOakley “Oak” Phoenix is an artist, author, and advocate. As a rising senior at Willamette University with majors in Studio Art and Women’s & Gender Studies and minors in English and Sociology, Oak never exactly narrowed down their interests. As a Black, queer, trans nonbinary, and neurodivergent student leader in the States, Oak knows that he needs to gain an intimate understanding of the ways in which he and others like him have been subjugated, in order to uncover new modes of passionately fighting back. Raised in the Bay Area by their tambourinist-gospel-singer-softball-player-extraordinaire Black lesbian mother, Oak learned the value of creating art with a more compassionate and informed tomorrow in mind at a young age.

Oak says, "to create, for me, is to claim space. To walk into a studio, to grab a tool, to take a seat on a banged-up stool is to proclaim that I belong there. To assert to the room, to the material, to the surrounding bodies that I am not to be ignored. I do not imply pride nor prejudice; I imply that I deserve the space that I am – for the first time – being given. That I am making up for lost time. Making up for what my mother gave up. Making up for what my grandmother can’t remember. Making up for what my nanny, may she rest in peace, couldn't dream of as a maid in the heat and hate of Ohio. I am the wildest dream and the worst nightmare of those who have come before me. I straddle the many worlds and bend them to my will, and nothing, absolutely nothing, is off limits. I ask whose voice can be amplified? Whose story can be told for the first time, or be given new life? How can I make memorable waves in the ephemeral?"

Project Description

The Bottom of a Cocktail will be a collaborative mixed-media project focusing on themes of recovery from (mis)informed sexual educations, the power held in transformative solo and grouped intimacies, and the responsibility young adults have to help out in supporting the sexual safety and growth of their peers. Oak, having attended a Catholic high school, learned nothing of sex beyond the wonders (read: horrors) of abstinence-only education, and realized part way through their first semester at Willamette that they’d missed out on plenty of crucial knowledge that should’ve informed their college sex-scapades.

While flying through episode after episode of Spotify’s Fruitbowl: an Oral History of Queer Sex, Oak began to dream of hosting similar sex-positive, educational conversations with their peers. And that brings us to today. For The Bottom of a Cocktail, Oak will be sitting down to interview dozens of young adults to learn about their experiences with sex and sexual education and to identify common experiences, knowledge gaps, horror stories, and highlight moments. From these conversations, Oak will find ways to creatively illustrate and weave together the most common and striking themes, and build up a 3-dimensional form(s) that will carry a synthesized memory of the shared (im)plausible history we’ll soon come to know.

Final Project: The Bottom of a Cocktail

quirarte-valencia_matthewMatthew Quirarte Valencia is a Senior from Salem, Oregon. He is working towards a B.A. degree in Music and Economics. Matthew’s musical  journey began in the fourth grade when he joined his school’s orchestra. He would continue to participate in the orchestra throughout his public-school career, and he ultimately become familiarized with various works across all musical periods. Beginning in high school, Matthew would transcribe and arrange music from his favorite video games for string orchestra, some of which he was even able to perform. When he arrived at Willamette, Matthew discovered a newfound love of music as he worked his way through the first class of the musicianship series. He found this aspect of his favorite art form so engaging that he chose to make his music major official, taking classes in music theory, music history, as well as modern music technology and production. 

Project Description

Through this project, Matthew’s goal is to compose and record a mock soundtrack for a video game, using all of his education from the classroom, his prior experience with string instruments, and all of the technology the Ford multimedia studios have to offer. To prepare for this project, Matthew went back and played games of all different genres and styles, with the intention of analyzing different archetypes found in gaming to figure out what kind of music fits any given situation. One core aspect of gaming music that is absent from other forms of entertainment is the interactivity, and that has a great influence on the music of games, the mood and ambiance of events taking place on screen. How does instrumentation change during a battle? When will this leitmotif be used again? When will the music loop so that it doesn't’t sound repetitive? From an early age, Matthew found his escape in the world of gaming and the music that accompanied it. When done correctly, a game’s score has the potential to elevate a game beyond what is shown on screen. A great score can help envelope the player in the world of the game, as well as motivating them to continue playing.

As a first-generation college student of Hispanic descent, Matthew recognized that an opportunity like this would have been unheard of when he was growing up. This generous Shuchat grant will help make Matthew’s ambition of composing professionally for a wider audience a possibility. This project will also be Matthew’s first foray into composing long-form pieces of music as most of his prior experience was in transcription and arranging. Matthew hopes that his music will take his listeners on a journey, with a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end.

Final Project: The M.I.D.I. String Quartet

russell_emeraldEmerald Russell is a junior at Willamette University, receiving a BA in Communications, a minor in music, and an MBA in management. From a young age, Emerald had a passion for singing. Emerald sang in front of large audiences for her local church from the early age of three. Throughout the development of her music career, she joined a choir in the seventh grade, performed with the Oregon Ambassadors of Music in Europe, won Districts for the OSAA Vocal Competition three times, and placed second at State in 2019. On top of her academics, Emerald engages with the community on campus by participating in the Chamber Choir and serves as the Vice President of the Black Student Union at Willamette University.

Project Description

Emerald's project will be a concert that sheds light on artists who have used their music to ignite activism and influence social change. She will highlight Black voices from the 1940s to the present day, showing how they overcame adversity through their music. The chosen songs will be connected to historical events and performed in a way that gives the audience knowledge of the music's history and how it has changed American society. We live through times reminiscent of mirrored acts comparable to those of the Civil Rights Era. Social transformation still needs to be done.

Throughout time, music has been used to fight against racism and bring awareness to inequities. Creating a performance that acknowledges a dark past but a progressive and better future will be an excellent reminder that change will come. This concert will take the audience on a journey with music through monumental movements to discover unity in the end.

Final Project: What Moves Your Soul

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