Providing grants, programs, and services to the artists and audiences of Tompkins County for over 25 years

Grantee Features

Featured grant recipients listed alphabetically

Mee Ae Caughey

  • Specific Opportunity Stipend
  • Posted January 20, 2020
    Mee Ae Caughey has received quite a few grants from CAP over the years in support of her career as a local dancer, choreographer, video artist, and producer of shows! She uses art as an engine to empower and bring visibility to marginalized communities, and serves as a dance documentarian for local dance performances to share with audiences via online streaming.  

    And that’s just what she did in collaboration with local dancer, professor, and producer Jim Self with “Visceral,” five outdoor solo dance performances that were video recorded and edited by Mee Ae, and prominent local filmmaker Marilyn Rivchin.

    Each solo performer/choreographer (Kathy Lucas, Amanda Moretti, Indira White, Megan Nicole, and Lauren Cranidiotis) performed at an outdoor  location of their choosing with a small audience of 2-4 people, also of their choosing.   

    Not only will this have a great impact on the audience (both in-person and virtual), but also on the dancers themselves.

    Mee Ae: “Visceral will help to re-establish that important connection between performer and audience in a safe way, and also give the dancers a space to release and express the emotions they have been experiencing throughout this time, in a safe space created by people they trust. Having filmed 3 episodes already, I can attest to the fact that this experience has meant a great deal to the dancers and the audience – tears were shed, and much gratitude and joy was expressed by everyone for this opportunity.”

    The videos are streamed in collaboration with The Cherry Arts at At the time of the writing of this article, three episodes are available for viewing (free!) and two are upcoming. You’ll also find information about each performance and performer, and interviews with some of the artists.

    Available to View Now: Episode 1, “Kintsugi” with Kathy Lucas / Episode 2, “Traveler” with Amanda Moretti / and Episode 3, “Reflections” with Indira White.
    Upcoming: February 19th, Megan Nicole and March 19, Lauren Cranidiotis.
    The SOS Grant and the Impact To Mee Ae’s career
    SOS is designed to help artists with costs associated with opportunities that will impact their professional career. “Visceral” introduced Mee Ae to collaborations with new artists, connections with The Cherry Arts folks, and the ability to pay the participating artists and production staff properly. 

    This is the first time I have really used video so heavily in a production, primarily due to the virtual nature of this time, but also due to my increased interest in documenting dance. This project has served to clarify even further how I would like to video dancers in the future, which would be more of a duet between camera and dancer, and less of strictly documenting a performance. It is also proving very useful in helping me to learn a lot more about video production, and increasing my interest in acquiring more professional equipment for future productions."

    Visit Mee Ae Caughey’s website
    The next SOS grant deadline will be in March and available on our grant page! 

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Jay Leeming

  • Specific Opportunity Stipend
  • Thank you to 2020 CAP Ithaca College Intern Kristen Reid for this feature about Jay! 

    With a background in poetry and podcasting, singer-songwriting and telling stories around a Yosemite campfire, Jay Leeming’s career has been anything but linear. Since being awarded a Specific Opportunity Stipend (SOS) from the Community Arts Partnership in October, Leeming has begun a new series of four performances hosted at The Cherry Artspace and running from January through April 2020.  

    After years of working as a poet, Leeming sought a change. “I realized I was missing some things about [storytelling at Yosemite],” he said. “I was missing the interaction with an audience, and also the music!” 

    “I woke up to storytelling consciously as an adult, hearing the stories being told in a way to a group of adults where you can listen deeply and then connect with each other.”

    Entitled “Dreaming the Stone,” Leeming’s performances at The Cherry are unique and engaging; he tells traditional stories in a new way, tying together his passions for poetry, storytelling, and music performance. 

    Standing in front of the audience, Leeming performs with no costumes or fancy lighting, or anything you may expect from a typical live performance. Instead, he has enlisted the help of a few friends to perform background music while he takes center stage. 

    When I met with Leeming, I was curious how he chose which stories to tell. He says he chooses traditional stories because they “go beyond the rational … there’s magic and a way to connect to our Earth.” He went on to say he loves art and theater, “but these stories are a way to heal the community and to deal with crisis.” 

    These ancient stories are ones that Leeming feels are a part of our collective human history. He even began his performance of Arabian Nights with a disclaimer: this was not a story that belonged to him. In fact, it belonged to no one and everyone.

    With the SOS grant he was awarded by Community Arts Partnership, Leeming was able to bring his art from classrooms and libraries to a new space, one that feels “more active and more performance-based.” 

    In early 2020, he told the stories of Persephone, Queen of The Underworld and Arabian Nights which were “very much a success, we had [around] 50 people at one of the performances!” His next show is in mid-March when he’ll take on the Epic of Gilgamesh. 

    To support Jay Leeming and find further details on his “Dreaming the Stone” series funded in part by Community Arts Partnership, visit his website at today!

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