Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang, Laura Poitras, Amitav Ghosh, Deeyah Khan, Bill Rauch, Robert Battle, Carrie Mae Weems named among 13 Ford Foundation “Art of Change” Fellows

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

The Ford Foundation has announced a new effort centered on the roles art and culture play in illuminating and addressing urgent issues of equity, opportunity, and justice in the U.S. and around the globe. The yearlong exploration, The Art of Change, which builds on the foundation’s decades-long commitment to advancing freedom of expression, reaffirms the central importance of creativity and cultural expression to healthy societies at a time when they are increasingly under threat.

“Changes in the world around us demand, more than ever, that we recognize and celebrate art, creativity, and freedom of expression as the revolutionary forces they are,” said Darren Walker, president of Ford Foundation. “Widening inequality, growing extremism, evolving technology, and volatile markets render art—and its unique role in effecting social change—more important, not less, for societies today.”

Bill Rauch, Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Lia Chang

Bill Rauch, Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Lia Chang

Over the next 12 months, the Ford Foundation will bring together leading thinkers, artists, cultural leaders, and activists from around the world for a series of provocative conversations to better understand the interplay of art, creativity, equality, and justice. The initiative will help determine how the foundation can most effectively advance the arts—and by, extension, drive social change—in an increasingly diverse and evolving world.

To help prompt and inform fresh thinking, the foundation is awarding a series of fellowships to exemplary artists and cultural leaders, each distinguished in their field, whose work touches on issues of equity and justice. The fellowships seek to inspire innovation and encourage civic dialogue, giving fellows the opportunity to study issues that intersect with the foundation’s work and reflect the cultural richness of diverse communities around the world.

Each of the 13 fellows will study a thought-provoking issue or question during the course of the fellowship, ranging from the role of artists and artwork to challenge rising extremism, to literature’s ability to elucidate the impact of climate change, to the importance of increasing diversity in leadership roles in the cultural institutions.

The 2015 visiting fellows include:
Robert Battle, artistic director, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York, NY
Amitav Ghosh, author, Brooklyn, NY
Thelma Golden, director and chief curator, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
David Henry Hwang, dramatist, Brooklyn, NY
Deeyah Khan music producer and filmmaker, London, U.K.
Arnold Lehman, director, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Joy Mboya, executive director, GoDown Arts Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
Laura Poitras, filmmaker, New York, NY
Bill Rauch, artistic director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
Toshi Reagon, singer, composer, musician, and producer, Brooklyn, NY
Pedro Reyes, visual artist, Coyoacán, Mexico
Albie Sachs, activist, jurist and author, Johannesburg, South Africa
Carrie Mae Weems, visual artist, Syracuse, NY

The arts have long been central to Ford’s mission. Throughout its history, the foundation has invested in and supported key ideas, individuals, and institutions on the local, national, and international scene, supporting several generations of arts leaders who are firmly grounded in the communities in which they reside.

“The arts illustrate, explore, convey, and critique our world and our assumptions about it, and have therefore long been central to Ford’s work advancing social change,” said Darren Walker. “This digital age calls for a recommitment to those values, as well as new approaches to arts and cultural funding—both of which this year of exploration will help us define.”

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Fordfoundation.org: Foundation Launches Effort to Advance Arts, Culture, and Social Justice in the 21st Century

David Henry Hwang‘s work includes the plays M.ButterflyChinglishYellow FaceGolden ChildThe Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival), and Tarzan. Upcoming productions include two new musicals: The Forgotten Arm, with music and lyrics by Aimee Mann and Paul Bryan, for the Public Theater; and Pretty Dead Girl, with music and lyrics by Anne-Marie Milazzo.

As America’s most-produced living opera librettist, he has written four pieces with composer Philip Glass, including The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera, 1992), as well as Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards), Bright Sheng’s The Silver River (1997), Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (2007 “World Premiere of the Year” by Opernwelt magazine), Howard Shore’s The Fly (2008) and Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier (2014). Upcoming operas include Through the Looking Glass with Unsuk Chin for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Dream of the Red Chamber with Bright Sheng for the San Francisco Opera.

Mr. Hwang penned the screenplays for M. Butterfly (1993), starring Jeremy Irons and John Lone; Golden Gate (1994), starring Matt Dillon and Joan Chen; and Possession (co-writer, 2002), starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart. With the pop star Prince, he co-wrote the song “Solo,” released on Prince’s 1994 gold album Come. He is currently writing a feature film for Dreamworks Animation and the film adaptation of Chinglish, to be directed by Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, the Fast & Furious franchise), as well as creating an original television series, “Shanghai,” for Lions Gate and Bravo.

Hwang is a Tony Award® winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner, and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He received the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award, the 2012 William Inge Award, the 2012 Steinberg “Mimi” Award, and the 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, and recently completed his the Residency One Playwright term at NYC’s Signature Theatre, which produced a season of his plays, including the world premiere of his newest work Kung Fu in February 2014. He serves as President of Young Playwrights Inc, and sits on the boards of the Lark Play Development Center, The American Theatre Wing, and The Actors Fund.

David Henry Hwang Articles:
The Los Angeles Philharmonic presents West Coast premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Opera Alice in Wonderland, Featuring Libretto Co-Written with David Henry Hwang, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on February 27-28 
Dream of the Red Chamber to be featured at the 2015 Stanford Pan-Asian Music Festival February 20-21, including the Symposium with David Gockley, Bright Sheng, David Henry Hwang and Stan Lai
Photos: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang, NEFA, Graham Sheffield CBE and Susan Stockton Receive 2015 ISPA Awards
Behind the Scenes with Disney on Broadway with David Henry Hwang, Chad Beguelin and Rick Elice at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
David Henry Hwang, Adriane Lenox, Chuck Cooper, Kevin Carolan, Stephanie J. Block, Caissie Levy & More will Sleep on the Streets for Covenant House’s Sleep Out: Broadway Edition
David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage Appointed to the Playwriting Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program
Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang Receives $275,000 Doris Duke Artist Award
Signature’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, starring Cole Horibe, Phoebe Strole and Francis Jue, extends through April 6, 2014 
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu 
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards 
Click here for more articles on David Henry Hwang.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee, Joycelyne Lew
Photo: The Public Theater Presents Tony Award-winner Lemon Andersen’s TOAST starring Tony Nominees Keith David and John Earl Jelks, Hill Harper and more, April 21 – May 10 
A Sumptuous View of Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Ashley Park, Conrad Ricamora, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Paul Nakauchi and More in Lincoln Center Theater’s Revival of The King and I
Joe Mantegna receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Film and Television from The Riverside International Film Festival
Hamilton tops Lucille Lortel Award Nominations along with Into the Woods, Between Riverside and Crazy, The Invisible Hand, The Nether and The Fortress of Solitude
The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Inc.: 2015 Collaboration Award recognizing Women Working with Women Open Call
Sinatra: An American Icon Exhibit on View through September 4 at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
“Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men” on view at Museum of the Moving Image through June 14; Required Viewing: Mad Men’s Movie Influences Film Series Screenings through April 26
Disney Developing Live-Action ‘Mulan’
Kenny Leon Helmed ‘The Wiz’ Set as NBC’s Next Live Musical to air on Dec. 3; Broadway Revival Slated for 2016-17
Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion Exhibition on view at New-York Historical Society through April 19; Photos of An Evening with Amy Tan
“Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong,” – Retrospective of Disney Legend at MOCA through September 13
Dining out at élan with Artist Arlan Huang; New Paintings on view at Trestle Gallery
Award Winning Actor Raul Aranas Talks THE BLACKLIST, NAAP’S OLIVER!, Songwriting and the Zen of Cycling
Tony Award Winners Chita Rivera and Roger Rees, Jason Danieley, Mary Beth Peil, David Garrison & More in Terrence McNally’s THE VISIT
Photos: David Byrne, Alex Timbers, Jaygee Macapugay, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Adam Guettel, Sarah Saltzberg and More Celebrate Jose Llana’s Lincoln Center American Songbook Debut
Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season
Photos: Hudson Yang, Randall Park, Eddie Huang, Richard Lui, Lori Tan Chinn and More at #FreshOffTheBoat Viewing Party at The Circle NYC
LA Times Critic’s Choice FIGARO at A Noise Within; April 4, 5, 9, 10, 19, 30, May 1 and 10
Jon Tenney, Tessa Auberjonois, John de Lancie, Emily Ruth James and Kwana Martinez Set for World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s MR. WOLF at South Coast Repertory, April 12-May 3
Apr. 20: Garth Kravits joins Laura Benanti, Lena Hall, Scott Alan and more for BROADWAY SINGS TORI Concert to Benefit RAINN at (le) poisson rouge
East West Players’ Honors Paula Madison of Madison Media Management LLC and “Fresh Off The Boat” Executive Producers Nahnatchka Khan and Melvin Mar on April 20
Jerome Preston Bates, Michael Chenevert, Stephanie Berry, Terria Joseph, Kim Weston Moran, Tony Sallemi and Count Stovall set for World Premiere of Richard Wesley’s AUTUMN at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, April 23 through May 3
April 23-30: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Lineup includes EVERYTHING BEFORE US, KTOWN COWBOYS, Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS, Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR
The 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) presents Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS Featuring Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim, Jeanne Sakata, Jennifer Ikeda and Matthew Kim at the Aratani Theatre on April 24
April 26: The 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Artist Spotlight- Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR
May 1: A/P/A Institute at NYU presents Remembering SlutForArt: Tseng Kwong Chi with Muna Tseng, Ping Chong, and Bill T. Jones
15th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) Lineup includes Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA WITH A STRAW & Aparna Sen’s SAARI RAAT; May 4-9
Photos: Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, CHINA: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, May 7–August 16
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, helmed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
Star Trek’s George Takei & Broadway Bound ALLEGIANCE Create Indiegogo Campaign as Endowment for the Japanese American National Museum 
Tony Award winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung Set to Co-star with George Takei in ALLEGIANCE; Previews Begin at the Longacre Theatre on October 6
Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards
Suzan-Lori Parks’ FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, PARTS 1, 2 & 3 is the 2015 Winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History 
THE GET DOWN, Baz Luhrmann’s New Drama Series Set in 1970s NYC That Gave Birth to Hip-Hop, Punk and Disco, to Premiere on Netflix in 2016
Variety.com: Ken Jeong to Star in ABC Medical Comedy Pilot ‘Dr. Ken’
Photos: Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
Crafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s