Evelyn Serrano and Kim Ye Selected for California Creative Corps Artist Fellowship

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School of Theater faculty Evelyn Serrano (Art MFA 04) and School of Art faculty Kim Ye recently received the California Creative Corps Artist and Culture Bearer Fellowship. Funded by the California Arts Council, Community Partners announced the 33 recipients for the fellowship that spans from July 7, 2023, through July 31, 2024.

The fellowship was created to uplift the work of artists and culture bearers who live in and/or work in relationship to communities that are part of the lowest quartile of the California Healthy Places Index. All selected artists will receive a grant of between $50,000 and $100,000 to support living costs and $50,000 to support their projects.

Serrano teaches a class. | Courtesy of Serrano

Serrano is a Cuban-born, LA-based experimental multimedia and performance artist, educator, and community volunteer. A CalArts’ alum with an MFA in Studio Art and Integrated Media, she teaches classes such as Art and Community Engagement and Arts and Activism. She also holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, a Master’s in Education with Alliant International University, and a teaching credential from UCSD. 

She works at the intersection of creative placemaking, memory, community engagement, activism, and land stewardship. Serrano’s work has been exhibited and performed worldwide at venues like the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City; Riverside Museum of Art in Riverside, CA; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Centro Cultural Español Miami; Ludwig Foundation in La Habana; CUNY Center Arts Gallery; Fábrica de Arte Cubano in La Habana; and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. 

Honored by Congressman Adam Schiff as one of the 30th Congressional District’s 2023 Woman of the Year, Serrano’s work has been recognized by Art Place America, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Surdna Foundation, and the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, among others. 

A founding member of the group Sunland-Tujunga Forward, she has led volunteers to create spaces for anti-racism, civic engagement, and diverse community input. Serrano also founded the nonprofit arts organization Nomad Lab and is the Director of Arts Integration and Visual Arts Specialist at California Creative Learning Academy. Serrano also serves as Co-ArEsEc Director of Nuestro Lugar: North Shore, is an Arts for LA Advocacy Fellow, and a lead artist of CalArts Center for New Performance’s El Acercamiento/The Approach.

A still from Ye’s 2020 performance Tall Dark and Handsome. Photo by Filip Kwiatkowski

Ye is a Chinese American interdisciplinary artist who uses performance, sculpture, video, installation, text, and community organizing to explore gendered constructions of power, taboo, desire, and privacy. With a BA from Pomona College and an MFA from UCLA, Ye has taught at CalArts in the photo and media department as a full-time visiting faculty artist. 

Their work uses the artist/viewer dynamic to create situations of intimacy and exchange to treat the body and its surroundings as a site of resistance and aspiration. Their practice draws from queer, sex worker, and first-generation community frameworks. Ye’s project Lady Scumbag tackles and reclaims the stereotype of the Lady Scumbag, using the idea of a stiletto heel to break glass ceilings and patriarchal ways. 

For their fellowship project, Ye will be collaborating with Sex Workers’ Outreach Project Los Angeles (SWOPLA) to create A Sex Workers’ Guide to Parenting, “media made by and for parents who engage in erotic labor.”

Along with working as a professional dominatrix, Ye has screened, exhibited, and performed work internationally at venues including The Getty and Hammer museums in Los Angeles; Wattis Institute in San Francisco; Banff Center for Arts in Banff, Canada; The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA Los Angeles; and Frieze Film Seoul. They also serve as a board member for SWOPLA.

Ye has many grants and accolades including the Interlude Artist Residency in New York, the Vibrant Cities Arts Grant, the Teaching Artist Fellowship at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, the Digital Diasporas Residency for the Asian Arts Initiative in Pennsylvania, and the Bridge Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Art in New York.

Other recipients of the fellowship also include Fabian Debora, who was a guest artist in Serranos’ Art and Community Engagement class at CalArts, and a former CalArts School of Theater teaching artist Jasmine Orpilla

— Ishika Muchhal

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