The CSAW Tuition Grant Program for U.S. Circus Artists of Color launched in January 2022. Originally, CSAW planned to award one grant of $5K to a circus artist in need. However, at the discretion of the CSAW Selection Committee, three Tuition Grant recipients were chosen instead, each receiving grants of $5K, $1K and $500 respectively!
In September 2022, during our most recent round of Tuition Grants, CSAW was able to award two grants of $5K, one for adults (21+) and one for youth (under 21)!
A HUGE thank you to Andrew Dunn for making this possible!
Check out our Tuition Grant recipients below!
TUITION GRANT RECIPIENTS
Asom Snow Hayman-Jones - Youth Tuition Grant Recipient (Under 21)
Asom is a life-long athlete turned circus performer who loves nothing more than throwing and catching his friends on stage. Asom went from collegiate sports to clown class and could not be happier. He was raised in a small town in Northern Vermont and has now moved to California to pursue his circus dreams at the San Diego Circus Center. There he will be training hand to hand, banquine, Russian bar, and columns. He aims to entertain and create art through his own form of expression and movement. This winter he will be auditioning for Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montreal in attempt to put him closer to his ultimate goal of Performing with Cirque du Soleil.
Asom will be using his tuition grant to fund his 2022-23 academy year at San Diego Circus Center and for his circus auditions this winter!
Damian Stuchko - Adult Tuition Grant Recipient (21 & Up)
Damian is a queer circus artist in the Memphis metro area, fusing Mongolian contortion, handbalancing, neo-burlesque, and drag into their performances. They began their circus training as a stilt walker with Weightless Aerial Company (Memphis, TN), before moving to Chicago and attending The Actor's Gymnasium's Professional Training Program (Class of 2019-2020), majoring in Contortion at the urging of their coach, Oyunchimeg "Oyuna" Yadamjav. Their background includes working as an assistant stage manager for The Actor's Gymnasium 2018-2019 season, backstage managing the inaugural show at the Teatro ZinZanni Chicago Speigeltent, co-creating an aerial adaptation of "Edward Albee's The Zoo Story" with Rhodes College, and co-creating "ANARCHY Americana: a queer virtual cabaret" during the pandemic. They can be seen performing around Memphis and the MidSouth as "Dandy, the Modern Lizard Boy".
Dan will be using their grant to fund their advanced contortion training with Gunnar Fields (Minneapolis, MN) and working with Rosa Yagaantsetseg of Circus Harmony (St. Louis, MO) to create a traditional Mongolian contortion act using a custom contortion table and canes created by Nicole Comito (NYC, NY). They will also be using this grant to fund classes and training at Bendy Beast Fitness and High Expectations Aerial Arts, two women-owned and operated fitness studios in Memphis, TN.
TUITION GRANT RECIPIENTS
Sophia Layos-Wagaman is an aspiring circus arts performer from Fairbanks, Alaska.
A competitive gymnast since 2013, Sophia has competed at U.S. Gymnastics invitationals in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska. She has spent the last four years adding circus skills to her repertoire including straps, lyra, wire and partner acrobatics.
She performed with the Golden Heart Performing Arts Studio in the 2021 Solstice Soiree.
Sophia will use her grant to further her skills by attending Circus Smirkus Camp this summer and investing in additional circus skills training. She hopes to pursue post-secondary circus arts training after she graduates from high school in 2023.
Roux Haile is a transdisciplinary artist, community organizer and educator. In addition to being a dancer and tattoo practitioner, they are the cofounder of Ori Gallery in Portland Oregon: an art space committed to redefining the white cube and making a home for marginalized artists. In their work, Haile centers the creation of collaborative and intentional spaces specifically for Black folks infusing healing and liberation into every aspect of their practice. They cultivate an intimacy in their dedication to artistic labor which affirms Black Queer and Trans people particularly through their tattoo and dance practice. With knowledge of how misogynior, transphobia, ablism and white supremacy inform dominant culture and practices, Haile calls upon kinship and collectivism to reimagine these processes and relationships.
Haile will use their tuition grant for classes with a pole instructor and a basic acrobatics course, as well as some adaptive gear they can use for accessibility purposes.
Lyla Lawless is an 11-year-old student at Circus Harmony located in St. Louis, Missouri. She specializes in contortion, hand balancing, and partner acrobatics. She works extremely hard inside and outside the circus ring. She's a straight A student at Gotsch Intermediate School and she’s very passionate about everything she does.
Lyla will be using her tuition grant for handstand and balance private lessons with former CSAW Microgrant recipient, Kyran Walton.