Three Triad Area Artists Receive NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship Awards

Raleigh, N.C. (October 12, 2016) — Sheryl Oring, Helen Simoneau, and Robin Gee, artists working and living in the Triad area, have received a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship Award in the category of visual art or choreography.

The three artists are among 17 from across the state to receive the 2016 – 2017 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award. Artists receive a fellowship to support creative development and the creation of new work. Recipients were selected by panels comprised of artists and arts professionals with expertise in each discipline.

The N.C. Arts Council’s Artist Fellowship program operates on a two-year rotating cycle by discipline. Songwriters, Composers, and Writers are eligible to apply for the Tuesday, November 1, 2016 deadline.

About Sheryl Oring (Visual art)

Sheryl Oring is a public artist, in every sense. Her work is activated and shaped through her interactions with people in public settings, giving a voice to the man or woman on the street and documenting their views and reactions in an unfiltered way.

“Citizenship and issues of civic responsibility, on the local and global levels, are interests that I have been exploring in my work for the past several decades,” she said. “I strive to create platforms for discussion and exchange, engaging a diverse public audience as participants.”

Her work often takes the form of performance. One such work is I Wish to Say, a project she began more than ten years ago, in which passers-by are encouraged to write their thoughts to the next President, as dictated to a typist dressed in 1960s-era secretarial attire.  Initially, Oring was the lone typist, but the performance has gradually grown to feature an office-size secretarial pool of workers, each gathering the thoughts, hopes, and opinions of people walking by.

As SECCA curator Cora Fisher describes it: “I Wish to Say exercises art’s muscles in the social practice of democracy. In the midst of America’s fractured body politic, the project delivers thoughtful, pluralistic participation. It invites us to talk back to power with the power of the wish, to express our concern.”

Oring has a long history of commissions, exhibitions, and performances, both in the U.S. and abroad, and has won a number of awards, including a Creative Capital Foundation grant and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. For more information about her work visit www.sheryloring.org

About Helen Simoneau (Choreography)

Winston-Salem artist Helen Simoneau sees dance as a way of exploring how individuals interact and relate within a larger group. In her choreography, she plays with proximity, intimacy, and personal space to create tensions that resonate among the performers, and between the stage and audience.

“The work I create is inspired and informed by a fascination with the intricacies of relationships and the vast spectrum of human dynamics,” she said.

Simoneau’s work is typically set on ensembles from as small as three performers to as many as twelve or more. She views her dancers as collaborators in the generation of each piece, taking the original idea and molding it as they work through the movements and gestures into a finished form. She herself participates in this process, frequently dancing in her own solos and duets, which allows her to see the work from the inside. The process is both democratic and physical, producing work that is memorable for its craftsmanship and striking imagery.

“Simoneau codes her choreography like an athlete with a soft exterior, a fist inside a glove,” wrote Martha Sherman in Dance View Times.

Since graduating from Hollins University in 2009 with an M.F.A., Simoneau has enjoyed considerable success. In addition to numerous performances and residencies in the U.S. and abroad, she was one of three winners of the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s North American Search “Choreography XX” and will create a new piece for the company in June 2017. In 2015, she was commissioned by The Julliard School for “New Dances,” a program that was presented at Lincoln Center and the Guggenheim Museum.  This is her second N.C. Arts Council Fellowship Award. Her first award came in 2010-2011. For more information about her work visit www.helensimoneau.com

About Robin Gee (Choreography)

Greensboro-based choreographer Robin Gee finds power and inspiration in the living traditions of African dance and music that she weaves into her own work, uncovering rhythms that resonate with contemporary American culture. Through her study and documentation of Africanist aesthetics and performance, she mines cultural practices that have developed over generations within communities. But her own work goes far beyond a simple re-staging of observed choreographic presentations, drawing upon her own personal, cultural, and artistic histories to create work in an American context and situate these traditional forms within the larger and ongoing discourse on race, place, and belonging.

Gee’s research has taken her to Africa many times. In 2012, she won a Fulbright Scholarship to go to Burkina Faso for eight months. Other trips have taken her to Guinea, Senegal, and Mali for teaching and research. Among her many other professional activities and achievements, she was commissioned by the Maimouna Keita Dance Company in 2009 to create a new dance entitled A Walk to Beautiful, which premiered at the Skirball Performing Arts Center in New York the following year.

Gee received her M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is currently Associate Professor of Dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. For more information about her work visit http://greensborodancefilms.org.

For more information about the North Carolina Arts Council and the Artist Fellowship program visit http://www.ncarts.org/grants/grants-artists/artist-fellowships.

About The North Carolina Arts Council

North Carolina has long been recognized for rich traditions in crafts, literature, historical drama, and music. Since 1964, the N.C. Arts Council has worked to strengthen North Carolina’s creativity, invention, and prosperity through its four core functions: creating a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; planning and implementing economic development initiatives; educating our young people; and researching the impact of the arts on our state. NCArts.org

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov