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2013 Alex Adam '07 Award Winners

Casey Brown ’14, Sean Drohan ’14, and Cara Michell ’14 have been selected by Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts faculty as the 2013 recipients of the Alex Adam ’07 Award. Established in memory of Alexander Jay Adam ’07 and made possible by a generous gift from his family, the award provides support to Princeton undergraduates who will spend a summer pursuing a project that will result in the creation of new artistic work.

Princeton University freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are eligible to apply for this prestigious award, which annually provides $7,000 in funding to each of three students.  The award can be used to support a variety of activities, such as interning at theater or dance festivals; directing, designing, or acting in a show; composing poetry or prose; making short films; or mastering a photographic technique, as long as the activity culminates in the creation or production of an original work.

Casey BrownCasey Brown is a junior in the Department of English pursuing a certificate in the Program in Dance and Creative Writing at the Lewis Center.  She has explored her interests in poetry and dance at Princeton through courses with Silas Riener, a Princeton alumnus and former member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; Tina Fehlandt a former member of the Mark Morris Dance Company; Claudia Lo Rocco, poet, arts writer and contributor to the New York Times; and Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; as well as working with the student dance collective FUSE.

She plans to use her award for a varied and intensive summer in New York City.  She plans to volunteer with inner-city charter school programs to learn more about community-based engagement in dance and to gain a better understanding of nonprofit arts management.  She will take daily dance classes with a variety of teachers in the city to further hone her technique.  From daily journaling she will draw inspiration to draft a new poem each week.  In particular, she hopes to further explore the intersections of dance and poetry.  “I am interested in the way that poetry and movement are so remote from one another in form,” notes Brown, “and yet so powerful when brought into conversation with one another.”

Sean DrohanSean Drohan is a junior in the Department of English working toward a certificate in Theater at the Lewis Center.  He has studied acting, playwriting, and criticism and enrolled in seminar courses ranging from Shakespeare to the performing arts of Australia.  Last summer he participated in a Princeton Global Seminar in Greece to study the classical works and sites of ancient Greek theater.  He has also performed in Lewis Center productions of Strange Faces and Elephants Graveyard, and is a member of The Triangle Club.

He will be spending part of his summer in Norway conducting research for a senior thesis production of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.  He will attend the International Summer School program at the University of Oslo to take courses in Norwegian literature, elementary Norwegian language, and Norwegian life and culture, as well as attend theater performances.   In January 2014, Drohan will tackle the title role of Hedda Gabler, a female character usually played by a woman, and which some scholars of Ibsen, and Ibsen himself, have framed as something of a woman trying to be a man.  “What I am interested in exploring,” explains Drohan, “is what the play says about what it means to be a woman, about Hedda’s relationship to her own femininity (as well as my relationship with mine), and how that tension motivates her across the play.”

Cara MichellCara Michell is pursuing a degree that combines the study of art history with studio art courses through the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Lewis Center.  Her studio courses have included work in photography, sculpture and painting.  With her award, she plans to build on work she made last summer with funding from the Lewis Center to research skateboarding culture in the urban spaces of Paris, London, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.  Her project also relates to course work in “Theories of Housing and Urbanism.”

Through her prior research, she learned that skateboarders tended to re-appropriate architecture and public spaces in cities in ways that break through race and class stratification.  She plans to return to Paris for more in-depth interviews with skateboarders and to explore the phenomenon in Rio de Janeiro as well.  “I would like to use skateboarders to reveal how current practices in city planning promote segregation in supposedly public spaces and the isolation of certain groups,” explains Michell.  She will create a documentary about skateboarders’ opposition to citywide stratification, as well as sculptural works and an interactive installation piece that encourage people to subvert the obvious uses of its architecture in a game that mirrors the practice of street-skating.

While a student at Princeton, Alex Adam pursued artistic interests in creative writing and theater.   Joyce Carol Oates, his creative writing professor, praised his work as “sharp-edged, unexpectedly corrosive and very funny.”  He was also an actor, and performed with the Princeton Shakespeare Company, Theatre Intime, and the Program in Theater.  “Friends, classmates and faculty remember Adam as a kind and gentle spirit, with a genuine interest in others,” recalls Michael Cadden, Acting Chair of the Lewis Center.  “It is so very fitting that these awards created in his memory enable other students to take artistic risks and, if they’re lucky, to move to the next level of achievement.”

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Photo caption 1: Casey Brown, Princeton Class of 2014, received an Alex Adam ’07 Award from the Lewis Center for the Arts to explore the interrelationships between dance and poetry.
Photo credit 1: Courtesy of Casey Brown
Photo caption 2:  Sean Drohan, Princeton Class of 2014, received an Alex Adam ’07 Award from the Lewis Center for the Arts to travel to Norway to research a role for a January 2014 production of Henrik Ibsen’s play Hedda Gabler.
Photo credit 2:  Courtesy of Sean Drohan
Photo caption 3:  Cara Michell, Princeton Class of 2014, received an Alex Adam ’07 Award from the Lewis Center for the Arts to research and document how skateboarders in urban environments break through the class stratification of spaces within cities.
Photo credit 3: Courtesy of Cara Michell

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