November 2010

Print this page ›

November 2010

News & Notices

USITT Grants & Fellowships Encourage Creative Investigation

Rich Dunham Co-Chair Grants & Fellowships Committee

The Art Auctions, held every three years as part of Stage Expo, benefit the USITT Grants & Fellowship program. The next auction is planned for 2012.

Photo/USITT Archive

One of the lesser known member benefits that USITT members can participate in are those associated with the Grants & Fellowships program that are available through USITT. These programs provide funding for individuals who have interests in completing research in an area of specific study that is related to our industry. Deadline for the next round of Fellowships is January 10 and applications are available online here.

Projects may include conducting research into historical or cultural elements of theatrical design and technology, exploration of significant (both known and unknown) theatre artists and crafts people, or research towards the development of a new technology.

USITT is rich in a leadership that has had the vision of providing a mechanism for encouraging research in this relatively small industry that we call entertainment design and technology. Last year, the Grants & Fellowship program marked its 25th year of providing funding for a variety of projects which have been developed by our membership. In the early years of the Institute, Edward F. Kook (one of USITT’s founders) mandated that the organization provide assistance to its members by fostering creativity in technical theatre practice. Through his, and the efforts and financial contributions of a number of other individuals, a special fund (the Kook Fund) was created to provide the monetary resources for funding this type of innovative research.

Over the years, more than $250,000 has been provided to USITT members to support a wide variety of research through individual grants and fellowships. While this funding has primarily provided the means of bringing an individual’s research into reality, it also benefits the rest of our membership and the industry as a whole. As a stipulation of receiving funding from USITT, researchers are expected to share their research with the rest of the USITT community through mechanisms such as writing articles for TD&T or making panel presentations at our annual conferences.

Several notable projects that have been fulfilled through past recipients of USITT funding include: Lance Brockman’s research on historical scene painting and the Twin City Scenic Project, Deborah Bell’s research and continued publications regarding the ancient art of mask making, and Robert Gerlach research into the color rendering abilities in using LED’s as a light source –which became a significant element of the Selador 7-channel LED lighting system.

The funding provided by the USITT Grants & Fellowships program can also act as stimulus to other granting sources by reinforcing the credibility of a researcher’s work. A number of past award winners have had new avenues for research opened and personal development opportunities realized as the funding of these grants provided the seed money that was required to complete these projects.

This program is open to all USITT members and in alternating years offers significant funding to Project Grants or Research Fellowships. The annual awards alternate between Grant Awards on even numbered years and Fellowships on odd numbered years. This year the committee will be considering Fellowship projects. Fellowship applications will be accepted for the 2011 funding cycle beginning in the late fall through the early winter with the deadline for receipt of this year’s applications being January 10, 2011.

Anyone interested in the Fellowship program is encouraged to visit the USITT web site where further information and application materials can be found under the Awards & Grants section of the site. Those individuals and corporate members who are interested in contributing to the Kook Fund and continuing to make this important mission of the Institute possible can make tax deductible contributions to the fund by contacting the national office at 800-938-7488, ext. 102 or making an online contribution.