We are proud of our writers, and we are not alone in our estimation. Herewith, news from five critics about recent achievements:
ArtsATL lead dance writer Cynthia Bond Perry has been admitted into a low-residency graduate program at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications. She’ll join a group of experienced writers in a Master of Fine Arts degree program in Narrative Media Writing.
Program co-directors are Valerie Boyd, an award-winning author and journalist, and Nate Kohn, an award-winning producer. Boyd will lead students, including Perry, who concentrate on narrative nonfiction writing.
Perry’s project is a biography of Dorothy Alexander, founder of Atlanta Ballet and founder and consultant for the National Association for Regional Ballet. She aims to complete a publishable manuscript within two to three years.
Andrew Alexander and Kelundra Smith, both ArtsATL theater critics, were awarded scholarships to attend the 47th annual workshop of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. The intense, two-week boot camp comprises labs and lectures delivered by seasoned professionals and writing many, many reviews.
The 14 critic fellows were chosen from more than 30 applicants. ArtsATL is one of only two publications sending two critics. “Multiple critics from one publication is rare indeed,” says associate director Mark Charney. “I’ve worked with the Institute since 2002, and this was the most competitive that the pool has been since then.
“We have a pretty amazing group. Both Andrew and Kelundra were exceptional, and I know that they will love the experience,” he says.
“There are few prizes or residencies of any kind specifically for arts journalists, so it’s pretty special,” Alexander says. “I’m especially excited and curious to meet Chris Jones, chief theater critic of the Chicago Tribune [and the institute’s director], but everyone on the faculty sounds terrific.”
ArtsATL music critic Mark Gresham‘s VocalEasy, a trio for wordless soprano, clarinet and piano, was given its official premiere by the Atlanta Chamber Players on May 5 at the New American Shakespeare Tavern. The work was co-commissioned by Laura Ardan, principal clarinetist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Chamber Players.
The three performers were Ardan, soprano Ann Marie McPhail and pianist Elizabeth Pridgen. The title is a whimsical play on the term “vocalize,” and Gresham has described the 12-minute work as “a not entirely serious rhapsody” — in contrast to a cycle of songs.
ArtsATL dance critic George Staib, director of Staibdance, was invited to Stockholm, Sweden, to teach at Södra Latins College. While there, he choreographed for Stockholm’s Saraceno Dance Company and premiered excerpts from Staibdance’s latest work, attic, to a sold-out audience at the Stage 4 Scene Theater.