The Arts and Education Council has named Amaya Wallace the 2021 Katherine Dunham Fellow. Wallace is a junior studying sociology and African & African American studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the 11th individual to be named a Katherine Dunham Fellow. The inaugural recipient in 2011 was Antionette D. Carroll, a TED Fellow and founder and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab. The Katherine Dunham Fellowship, created and funded by Sara and Jack Burke and managed by the Arts and Education Council, promotes diversity in arts leadership by giving African American students an opportunity to explore, gain experience and be mentored in arts administration.

“Amaya’s passion for the arts, spirit of activism and curiosity align with the Arts and Education Council’s vision to shape a vibrant arts community for all. We are excited to spend the semester with her as she develops skills in the field of arts administration, gains valuable mentorship and provides fresh perspectives with the Arts and Education Council,” said Cynthia Davis, Arts and Education Council director of grants and programs. 

In high school, Wallace directed “A King’s Story,” an award-winning one-act play that covers topics like police brutality. This experience led her to discover a passion for activism, that coupled with her passion for the arts, allowing her to use arts as a tool for social change.

Wallace’s fellowship began this week and continues through the spring semester. She will receive a $3,000 stipend, experience in all the critical skills needed to manage an arts organization – including fundraising, corporate relations, database management, fiscal and board management – and mentorship from current arts administrators and leaders.

The program is named in honor of legendary dancer, choreographer, educator and social activist, Katherine Dunham. Considered one of the most successful dancers of the 20th century, Dunham founded the Performing Arts Training Center (PATC) at the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville East St. Louis Center. Dunham taught dance, along with foreign language, cultural history and anthropology at the PATC.

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