Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces Winners of Spring 2024 Residency Fellowships

Knoxville, TN– The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce our Spring 2024 fellowship and support grant winners: Danielle Emerson, recipient of the Black and/or Indigenous Identifying Writers Fellowship and support grant; Dania Bowie and Emdash, winners of the Spring 2024 LGBTQIA fellowships; and Grisel Y. Acosta, recipient of a support grant for Black and/or Indigenous writers.

These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to explore their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment at our home at Firefly Farms in Knoxville, TN.

Danielle Shandiin Emerson is a Diné writer from Shiprock, New Mexico on the Navajo Nation. Her clans are Tłaashchi’i (Red Cheek People Clan), born for Ta’neezaahníí (Tangled People Clan). She has a B.A. in Education Studies and a B.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University. Danielle writes fiction, poetry, plays, and creative essays. Her work centers Diné culture, perspectives, and personal narratives.

Dania Bowie (she/they) is an artist, as well as a resource and community organizer who works to move resources and people power to address systems-level change through civic and political education in Maine. They are first-generation Filipinx American, queer, and a learning abolitionist. Their art—from fiction writing to painting—seeks to connect people, but also complicate the narrative of resilience in immigrant families. Their focus is on the Filipinx diaspora and the consequences of living global lives as previously colonized people.

Emdash AKA Emily Lu Gao (高璐璐)is a poet, performer, bookseller, open mic host, and the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Her poetry proudly propagates from Spoken Word & Ethnic Studies—writing in order to heal, grow and decolonize. She has received funding from Jersey City Arts Council, Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, and Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference. For full publication and performance history, see Her work primarily unpacks her bipolar diagnosis, Chinese Americanness, queerness, intergenerational healing/harm, the U.S medical system, and bilingualism. She holds a MFA in Poetry from Rutgers-Newark University and resides on Munsee Lenape Land (Jersey City, NJ). When not writing, she is most likely telling one too many jokes. Any/all pronouns.

Dr. Grisel Y. Acosta (she/they) is the author of Things to Pack on the Way to Everywhere (Get Fresh Books, 2021), which was a 2020 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize finalist. She is also editor of the anthology, Latina Outsiders Remaking Latina Identity (Routledge, 2019), and currently the Creative Writing Editor at Chicana/Latina Studies Journal. Select work by Dr. Acosta is in Limp WristPlatform ReviewBest American PoetryAcentos ReviewKweli JournalGathering of the Tribes MagazineSpeculative Fiction for Dreamers; and The Future of Black. Recent work includes oral history interviews of Latine/x folks from Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, a project that is funded by the Mellon Foundation/Black, Race, and Ethnic Studies Initiative at the City University of New York (CUNY). They are a full professor at the CUNY-BCC, a Macondo fellow, a VONA alum, and a Geraldine Dodge Foundation Poet. Her work focuses on her Afro-Latinx and indigenous ancestry, queer identity, mental health, the punk and house music subcultures, her birthplace of Chicago, and the destruction of post-colonial neoliberalism in educational environments.

Finalists for this year’s fellowships include Caprice Gray, Les James, Sacha Bissonnette, Shara Chaves, Bleah Patterson, Angela Abiodun, and Tsahai Makeda Wright.


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