George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) announced the second round of Young Alumni Commissioning Project award recipients this week. The three alumni were chosen based on the artistic excellence, career impact and feasibility of their proposals and will receive financial, marketing and production support to have their projects presented by the college at a Mason venue during the 2020-21 season.
Leila Mire, BFA Dance Performance ’18, has received the award and $5,000 in commissioning support for “Scheherazade Retold,” an evening-length dance piece that explores the nuanced history of appropriation in the ballet world and beyond. The work draws on Arab and Western devices to comment on various renditions of “1001 Arabian Nights.”
Mire is a Lebanese American performer, choreographer, educator and writer. She has performed for ClancyWorks, Silk Road Dance Company, in freelance work and as a solo artist. Her work has been commissioned for the National Cathedral’s 1 Journey Festival and performed at venues all over the country.
Elam, the 2019 All-Ireland Champion in Men’s Singing, will be using the award to record a full-length album of Irish traditional music called “Roots and Beginnings.” Elam has performed at the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the Library of Congress, as well as at the Virginia Scottish Games, Acadia Trad Festival, Appaloosa Festival, and many other folk music festivals in the D.C. area.
Jones will be directing and producing “Do Better,” a music video for up-and-coming DMV recording artist Hakeem. Since graduating from Mason, Jones has worked on several major film and television productions, such as “Wonder Woman 1984” (2020), “Harriet” (2019) and Showtime’s “The Good Lord Bird” (2020). He is currently working on the upcoming Apple TV series “Swagger.”
“Round Two of our commissioning program is now out in the world doing its good work,” said Rick Davis, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “I am excited by what these young artists in dance, music and film have proposed to create—each project shows insight, expertise and a deep sense of humanity—and I can't wait to see what they bring back from their explorations.”
Applicants for the award were required to be a graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts from the class of 2009 and after, and proposals could be for an original new work in any art form, suitable for performance, exhibition or screening in a Mason venue during the 2020-21 season.
The Young Alumni Commissioning Project is made possible by a generous bequest from the estate of Linda E. Gramlich for the support of young artists, and by donors to Mason’s Giving Day, including Shugoll Research.