2023/24 City of Los Angeles Independent Master Artist Project Grant Recipients

City of Los Angeles Independent Master Artist Project (COLA-IMAP) provides independent artists the opportunity to create new works to be premiered by the City of Los Angeles in one or more group presentations (catalog, exhibition, or performance showcase).

The 2023/24 COLA Independent Master Artist Project recipients in the performing, literary, design, and visual arts are: 

Performing and Literary Artists

Jay Carlon (he/they) is a queer dance artist, choreographer and community organizer whose work is grounded in a collective journey toward decolonization and sustainability. Carlon grew up the youngest of twelve in a Filipino Catholic migrant family, on the Central Coast of California. His work facilitates collective healing and the exploration of post-colonial identity, ancestry, and the complex experience of queer and Filipinx communities in relationship to site and space. As a teacher and facilitator, he also leads workshops and gatherings investigating these themes. Choreographic residencies, community conversation, and movement-based workshops like queering technique and Body as Site explore decolonizing the body, reclaiming space, and their relationship to each other. Investigating this work has included teaching engagements at Johns Hopkins University, UCLA, University of the Arts, Oberlin College; and speaking engagements at Purdue University, USC, School of the Art Institute Chicago, and Asians @ Google. For more information, please visit www.jaycarlon.com.

Of African American, Eastern European Jewish and Muscogee Creek Native American descent, Dr. Gina Loring is a poet, vocalist, scholar, activist, and teaching artist. She has served as the Poet-in-Residence at UC Berkeley Law School and is the current Poet Laureate of the African American Policy Forum. She has facilitated writing workshops and performed in over ten countries, and toured with Norman Lear’s Declare Yourself project. Her personal essays and poetry have been featured in As If Magazine, The Root, Chime for Change, Angels Flight/Literary West, Thrive Global, and For Harriet. With a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College, and a Master of Fine Arts from Antioch University Los Angeles, and a Doctorate in Education for which she studied at the University of Southern California and Clark Atlanta University, she teaches in the Los Angeles Community College district. She has provided curriculum development and cultural event planning for youth-centered organizations, including incarcerated teens and youth transitioning out of trafficking. For more information, please visit www.ginaloring.com.

Sehba Sarwar is a transnational writer, workshop leader, artist and community activist tackling gender, displacement and border issues. She has been writing and organizing in the community for more than twenty-five years, and has taught high school, university, and community courses, given talks and offered readings. Her work tackles immigration and border issues and has appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Creative Time Reports, ASIA: Magazine of Asian Literature and elsewhere. A second edition of her novel, Black Wings (Veliz Books, 2019), was released in the US for the first time, and she has been on tour. On Belonging, through which she explores her family’s roots and migration pattern is a project through which she engages with the community with site-specific installations and workshops. In 2000, while living in Houston, she founded Voices Breaking Boundaries (VBB), an alternative arts organization that tackled social justice issues at a local and global level. For more information, please visit https://sehbasarwar.com.

Chris Wabich (he, him) is a 23-year resident of Echo Park, 33-year Los Angeles resident, volunteer board member for LA HPOZ 1, full time artistic musician, and otherwise exotic instrument maker.  His solo concerts are moments of respite and solace from working in the industry. Often, his work is the backbone for other events to occur. What’s often missing in industry life is the opportunity to express subtlety and emotion through a wider range of dynamics and phrasing against the standard. The latest period of his personal life has influenced his works deeply. For reasons being revealed daily, he retains a never ending optimism, constantly moving forward despite the many losses of important people in his life due to Muscular Dystrophy, Cancer, Suicide from sexual orientation, drug addiction, dementia (and more). His own cancer survival served as a process of “joining them” as opposed to “playing for them” and his understanding of writing and “playing for all of us” has become so much greater. For more information, please visit www.nocheeto.wixsite.com/monkeydrummer.

Dorian Wood (she/her/they/them) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. Her intent of “infecting” spaces and ideologies with her artistic practice is born from a desire to challenge traditions and systems that have contributed to the marginalization of people. Wood has performed at institutions that include The Broad, Los Angeles, CA (2018), REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA (2019), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, CA (2010), Museo Nacional Del Prado, Madrid, Spain (2019), the City Hall of Madrid, Spain (2015), Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris, Mexico City, Mexico (2019), Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2017), Mousonturm, Frankfurt, Germany (2014), Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany (2014) and Moods, Zurich, Switzerland (2019), and at festivals that include Pacific Standard Time, Los Angeles, CA (2011). From 2019 to 2020, Wood completed several successful international tours with their chamber orchestra tribute to Chavela Vargas, XAVELA LUX AETERNA. In 2022, Wood debuted their tribute to the singer Lhasa De Sela, entitled LHASA, at the Festival Internacional de Arte Sacro in Madrid. For more information, please visit www.dorianwood.com.

Design and Visual Artists

Jane Brucker uses installation and performance to engage the viewer through contemplation, movement and ritual activity. In large installations and intimate, small-scale sculpture, she touches on the poetry of existence by examining memory, fragility, and death. Combining found objects and heirlooms with other materials—textiles, wood, glass, and cast metals—she reveals her strong tactile sensibility while simultaneously exploring the visceral and the spiritual. Her work has been featured at venues throughout the United States and internationally, in Nepal, Germany, Scotland, France, Japan, Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Time spent alone as an artist-in-residence at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop Winter Residency in Darkness and Isolation; DRAWinternational in Caylus, France; and Künstlerhaus Schloss Plüschow, Germany contributed to her ongoing interest in contemplation. Her education includes a Master of Fine Arts from The Claremont Graduate University; a Master of Arts in Religion and the Arts from The Claremont School of Theology; and in 1987 she attended Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting, For more information, please visit www.janebrucker.com.

Yasmine Nasser Diaz is a visual artist whose work frequently occupies the domestic sphere to explore the boundaries of cultural identity. Staging familial memories in nostalgic recreations of home, her work nods to both tradition and technological change and is often deftly punctured by powerful feminist and social critique. Using a variety of media from collage and fiber etching to video and immersive installation, she mines personal archives to probe the nuances of third-culture identity, often drawing upon the frictions experienced between the individual and the collective. Diaz’s work has been featured at the Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Station Beirut in Lebanon, and the Poetry Project Space in Berlin. Her works are included in the collections of LACMA, the Arab American National Museum, and the University of California. She is the recipient of the Harpo Visual Artists Grant, the California Community Foundation Visual Artist Fellowship, and the University of Michigan Efroymson Visiting Artist Residency in Ann Arbor. For more information, please visit www.yasminediaz.com.

Mariah Garnett’s films and installations deconstructs the conventional hierarchy between filmmaker and subject, a mode that has historically been the purview of directors who possess economic, racial and gender privilege. Garnett is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow in Film/Video and holds a Master of Fine Arts from CalArts and a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University. Recent solo exhibitions include Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Commonwealth + Council, a 10-year survey of her work at the LA Municipal Art Gallery, and Sundance Film Festival, 2021. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art Forum, Bomb among others and has screened and exhibited internationally at The New Museum, Brooklyn Academy Of Music (BAM), REDCAT, Made in LA (Hammer Museum Biennial), The Metropolitan Arts Centre (Tate Belfast), CPH:DOX, Hot Docs, NY Film Festival, and BFI London. Garnett is an Assistant Professor of Media at University of California San Diego, and lives and works in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit www.mariahgarnett.com.

Janna Ireland was born in Philadelphia, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, sons, cat, and dog. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Occidental College. For the past 6 years, she has been photographing buildings designed by architect Paul Revere Williams. The photographs were the subject of a book (Regarding Paul R. Williams, Angel City Press 2020). In 2020, she was awarded a Peter E. Pool Fellowship by the Nevada Museum of Art to produce a new body of work about Williams’ output in the state of Nevada. This newer work was the subject of a 2022 exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art, which will travel to the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas later this year. In addition to leading to her first book and my first solo museum exhibitions, her work has been the subject of articles in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times, and Harvard Design Magazine, among other publications. For more information, please visit www.jannaireland.com/.

Debra Scacco’s research-based practice spans the creation of studio works, installations, public art, curating, teaching, writing, community engagement and oral history. Rooted in personal experiences of immigration, she re-envisions the visible and invisible lines that seek to establish boundaries of access and understanding. Her work has been exhibited at galleries, institutions and public sites including MOAH (Museum of Art and History), Lancaster; Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles; LAX Airport, Los Angeles; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Viper Basel, Switzerland; Los Angeles State Historic Park, Los Angeles; Royale Projects, Los Angeles; James Cohen Gallery, New York and Patrick Heide Gallery, London. Scacco’s projects have been supported by National Endowment for the Arts, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, The Durfee Foundation, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, The Wilhelm Foundation, and The Mellon Foundation. She is an organizing member of Artists Commit, an artist-led collective committed to a climate-conscious, resilient, and equitable future. For more information, please visit www.debrascacco.com.

Bari Ziperstein is an artist based in Los Angeles, working in mixed media sculpture with a primary focus in ceramics. Her plural and fluid practice includes discrete objects, large-scale installation, site-specific public sculpture, and her line of functional ceramics, BZIPPY. Materially experimental but conceptual at its core, Ziperstein’s practice engages ideas of consumerism, propaganda, and the built environment. Her objects and sculptural tableaux reflect her interest in the political dimensions of capitalist economies and challenge the construction of desire and aspiration in contemporary American culture through a historical lens. Ziperstein received a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Ohio University. One-person exhibitions of her work have been presented at Bethel University; Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design; Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art; Long Beach City College Project Space; The Harris Art Gallery, University of La Verne; and the San Francisco Arts Commission. For more information, please visit www.bariziperstein.com.

Each of these COLA-IMAP recipients demonstrates an exemplary career-trajectory of more than 15 years of professional public presentations in the LA region. In addition, their ongoing creative endeavors and contributions to the community have earned these artists the highest respect from their peers.

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