We are delighted to announce that two storytellers will receive the 2020 J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award. As you may know, the Emerging Artist Award is presented every other year to a storyteller of major and unique performing talent who has not yet received wide public recognition. It is not, however, primarily an achievement award: candidates must have a well-considered need and desire to improve their storytelling skills and must present a convincing plan for how they will use the grant funds for artistic development.
The 2020 recipients of the Emerging Artist Award are April Armstrong of Yonkers, NY, and Sufian Zhemukhov of Brentwood, MD.
April’s professional performance history has included music, musical theater, dramas, teaching, film, television – and, for the past 15 years, storytelling. She writes, “I love my storytelling career. It utilizes everything I have studied and care for; music, African American history, social justice, caring for the environment; being a good neighbor; multicultural and universal themes; and most important, love.” You can see samples of April’s performances at www.aprilarmstrong.com.
Sufian, a Circassian Muslim, emigrated from Russia to the United States in 2011 and is a university professor, a published historian and poet, and, very recently, a performing storyteller. “I still have language and cultural barriers I’m overcoming – but I try to be open about my experiences in adjusting to my new country and both the humorous and challenging experiences immigration has brought.” Samples of Sufian’s stories can be found at http://www.sufianz.com/.