CSAW MICROGRANTS FOR U.S. CIRCUS ARTISTS OF COLOR 

Thanks to the circus community we were able to raise over $20,000 in two months! This means $1,000 Grants will be available for circus artists of color every month from now until August 2021. 

Eligibility for a CSAW Microgrant for US Circus Artists of Color is limited to people of color who are citizens, resident aliens, or permanent residents of the United States looking to further their education in circus or fund their circus related projects. All applicants must be 14 years or older to apply for and receive a Microgrant.

For this Microgrant program, CSAW will be following a broad definition of Circus Artists of Color which encompasses all who identify in part or in whole as non-white persons.

A Microgrant may be applied for and used to pay for circus-related expenses, including but not limited to the following: recreational circus classes, travel and housing accommodations for auditions, application fees, tuition payments, equipment, props, private lessons, show creation, venue fees, and other educational or project related fees.

 

PREVIOUS CSAW MICROGRANT RECIPIENTS

January 2021 - Jasmine Gonzalez 

Jasmine Gonzalez is a sixteen year-old and a member of Circesteem's advanced performance troupe! She's been practicing circus for about 6 or 7 years now, and has been a part of this performance troupe for about 5 of those years. Circus is her absolute favorite thing to do; whether it's practicing partner acro with her team, passing juggling clubs with a coach, or just stretching her splits and chin-stand. It's been quite the adjustment these past few months for Jasmine with the pandemic and a recent knee injury, and she's still getting used to not being able to train as much as before.


With that said, Jasmine is hoping to use this grant as a resource to help find ways to train in this unusual time. Hopefully this entails, getting circus equipment that she can use at home, taking a class or two at gyms that are still open, and if her team goes back to meeting in-person (hopefully soon) then using this grant to buy costumes for thier upcoming show! Jasmine says she could not be more thankful to have been selected for this grant, and can't wait to use it to get back to doing what she loves!

 

December 2020 - Lenise Jackson

Lenise is an international Pilates instructor as well as an aerial yoga/fitness instructor. She lives in Los Angeles by way of Dallas, Texas. She has a bachelors from the University of Texas at Arlington in Business, health, and communications. She has been doing aerial arts for the past 4 years and has experience as a professional dancer in the stage play "Diary of Black Men" and Six Flags over Texas.


She has her own boutique studio in LA called Fly Fit Lenise. She is also the founder of the Fly Black Aerialist, a community of men and women of black descent in the circus/aerial arts industry. She has been featured in Voyage LA magazine, a scholarship recipient of the Paper Doll Militia company and AIR Fit aerial fitness Inc. Her sponsors include companies such as Tavi Noir, Club Pilates, and Iconi Leggings. She is also the featured aerialist in singer's Kevin Hawkins music video "The One Thing" as well as produced and performed in a few aerial virtual shows.


Her goal is to continue to give back to her community and increase the exposure of aerial arts to the black community, not to mention, she has always wanted to run away with the circus!  She has completed science prerequisites with inspirations to add nursing to her skill set. She loves to skate, her dog, and her prius!

 

November 2020 Ages 14-21 -  Shekinah Williams

Thanks to the additional funds raised by the circus community, CSAW was able to provide two Microgrants for the month of November. One to ages 21+ and one for youth ages 14-21. 

CSAW is proud to present Shekinah Williams as the youth Microgrant recipent. Here's more about Shekinah:

"My name is Shekinah William's, I started circus without knowing that was my true calling in this world, when I discovered circus arts into my life it made a dramatic change in the person I was and the person that I wanted to be. I started in Trenton circus Squad @trentoncircus and got to travel and meet new people and make marks on their hearts. That's my true passion about circus, giving people hope and a reason to smile.

I've decided to create my circus organization around young African American ladies and guide them through life with circus, my main entry I want to make into their lives is Peace, Love, and positivity regardless of where life takes them, I want to be that strong women that young ladies look up to in life."

 

November 2020 Ages 21+ Cuream Jackson

Cuream Jackson will be using his $1,000 grant to invest in a duo trapeze and here's why:

"I am always wanting to adapt and try new things to improve or better my art. In this case I need to invest in learning a bar apparatus that I can create an act on for the show I would like to create. Investing in a duo trapeze is key because it's an act I intend to create showing the relationship between two men. More often than not, the heteronormative role is the role casted for and portrayed in a circus relationship piece. Man fawns over women and dominates her. The roles reverse in some shows but there's barely any representation of what other people identify with. I think its important to create this number as we need to see more representation and diversity in the circus world. This would hopefully create more acts celebrating queer artist and artists of color."

Whether it's tumbling, dancing, or spinning from the ceiling, you’re bound to find this 29-year old with a smile on his face. Over the past 13 years, Cuream Jackson has dedicated his body to the performing arts. As a former collegiate cheerleader, he adapted quickly and seamlessly to the aerial arts. His love for circus, art, teaching, and people lead him to become a successful aerial straps artist, an admirable teacher, and a creative organizer. Each project he curates or collaborates on promotes the performing arts and creative education. You can find Cuream performing in the Pacific Northwest with the Boise Circus Guild, Red Light Variety Show, The Fox & Beggar Theater, and several other events.

 

October 2020 - Kyran Walton

Kyran Walton will be using the CSAW Microgrant toward his tuition

École nationale de cirque

in Montreal!

Kyran was raised in St. Louis Missouri and has been a very energetic child since he could walk. He played a few sports before the age 8 but none of them were engaging enough for him. Circus Harmony performed at his school around the time that he was 8 and he immediately begged his mom to sign him up for classes. Since then Kyran has been in the circus for 11 years now along with dancing for 6 of those years. Around age 11, Kyran was made a member of the circus Harmony’s advanced troupe : the St. Louis Arches. During the next 7 years, Kyran became fairly advanced in Contortion, Hand-balancing, juggling, Acrobatics, Trapeze, Unicycle, wire, Banquine, hand to hand. Over these 11 years Kyran performed in over 1000 shows from St. Louis to Monte Carlo, Israel, Puerto Rico, New Orleans Jazz fest, Washington D.C, New York and many more.

Ever since he was 13 years old, Kyran dreamt of going to Ecole National De Cirque in Montreal. When he was 18, he auditioned, and luckily got in. Kyran is currently in his second year specializing in Hand to Hand which combines all his favorite disciplines (Hand-balancing, Acrobatics, Contortion). Kyran is very happy to have made it this far thanks to support from his family and his circus family. Outside of Circus, Kyran enjoys Filming, Photography, sleeping, and questioning the unquestioned.

 

September 2020 - Abigail Williams 

Abigail Williams is a Dancer, Aerialist, Aerial Instructor, and Producer based in NYC. She will be using the CSAW Microgrants for training and travel expenses as well as for her production company SHOWTIME! We'll be keeping up with Abigail and how she uses the grant and you can too! Follow @superflybrowngirl on Instagram. 

Born in Miami, Florida, Abigail begun her performing arts training and took an active role within the community at a young age. After graduating in the spring of 2014 from Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Fl with a B.A. in Theatre Performance and a minor in Dance, she relocated to New York City where she worked as a studio apprentice at the Ailey Extension Department of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Body & Pole. Living in NYC afforded Abigail many opportunities to connect, collaborate, and create with various local artists and choreographers. Through her time as an apprentice at Body and Pole, Abigail developed a deep love and passion for the circus, specifically Aerial. She trained on various apparatuses and became proficient on Lyra (Aerial Hoop) and Single Point Hammock. It wasn’t long before she was performing Aerial all over the city.

Along with gracing more than a few stages within the city, Abigail has also produced several small stage productions. Showtime: An Urban Circus, done in partnership with her team members of Showtime NYC (Donna Carnow and Mariangela Ciccone), is production featuring local performers with skills varying from vocalists and musicians, to contortion, aerialists, pole performers, dancers etc. “Showtime” features the best talent that the city has to offer, all the while telling the stories that are indicative of New York and the people who live there and ride the subway.

Abigail is working on a few artistic projects and collaborations that will be taking shape in the near future.

 

FINANCIAL BARRIES SURVEY - NOW CLOSED

CSAW (Connecting Circus Students Around the World) is working toward making more scholarships and financial aid availabe for circus schools. Research is the first step toward making that happen. Please read the description below and fill out the survey if it applies to you: 

CSAW (Connecting Circus Students Around the World) is committed to taking action against racism to ensure equality and inclusion in the future of circus arts. To aid in future projects, we are collecting data and ask you to take a moment to fill out the following survey.


This survey is for circus artists in the United States who are currently enrolled in or are planning to enroll in a professional or higher education circus program. This includes circus artists enrolling in or planning to enroll in preparatory programs, and circus schools outside of the United States. Please only fill out this form once.

 

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