The Kennedy Center

Citizen Artist Fellowship ProgramAn Inspiring artist helping their community

2018/2019 Citizen Artist Fellows

  • Shaw Pong Liu

    Violinist, composer and erhu player Shaw Pong Liu engages diverse communities through multidisciplinary collaborations, creative music and social dialogue. As Boston Artist-in-Residence in 2016, she started Code Listen, an ongoing project using music creation and performance to build relationships between Boston police, teen artists, family members surviving homicide, as well as local musicians, and to support healing and dialogue around gun violence, racism, and police practices.

    Other projects in 2017-2018 include leading Sing Home, a song-sharing project that builds on Liu's bicultural and bilingual Chinese-American roots to documents songs from home as sung by individual residents, workers, students and visitors to Boston's Chinatown, as Artist-in-Residence at the Pao Arts Center; and composing music for Conference of the Birds, a dance theatre project inspired by the 12th-century Persian literary masterpiece exploring migration, refugee experiences and the search for the divine, in collaboration with an international ensemble of dancers, musicians and artists directed by choreographer Wendy Jehlen.

    Shaw Pong’s compositions have been commissioned by A Far Cry, Lorelei Ensemble, New Gallery Concert Series and Anikaya Dance Theatre. As a violinist and erhu player she performs with groups including Silk Road Ensemble, MIT’s Gamelan GalakTika, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Castle of Our Skins. She is a founding member of Play for Justice, a network of musicians and artists in Boston supporting social justice causes and making a public stand against racism. Shaw Pong has worked as a teaching artist with the New England Conservatory of Music, the Urbano Project, Celebrity Series, the Cantata Singers, and Young Audiences. Internationally she has taught at Cuerdes Oaxaca strings festival in Oaxaca, Mexico, and at Yo-Yo Ma’s invitation, Youth Music Culture Guangdong in Guangzhou, China. She has a Bachelor’s degree from U. C. Berkeley, and a Masters in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.


  • Donney Rose

    Donney Rose  is a poet, teaching artist and community activist from Baton Rouge. He works as a teaching artist  and marketing director for an arts-based non-profit, Forward Arts Inc. His work as a performance poet/writer has been featured on, Atlanta Black , Button Poetry, All Def Digital, Slam Find, 225 Magazine and in online journals Drunk In A Midnight Choir Nicholls State's Gris Gris literary journal. His work as a community activist has been highlighted on BBC, Huffington Post, New York Times  Democracy Now and The Advocate. He received the Humanitarian of the Year award at 2016 New V Awards for promoting activism through his art and is a member of Baton Rouge Business Report’s 2017 “Forty Under 40” class. He was mostly recently named as a 2018-2019 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow.

    Rose 1

  • Justus Harris

    Justus Harris is a patient, artist, and educator based in Chicago.  Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 14, he has since combined his artistic training and patient experiences to found MedSculp which designs art-based, 3D visual educational tools for people with diabetes and chronic conditions.  MedSculp translates personal medical data and concepts from charts and graphs into 3D-printed objects and 2D designs that can be intuitively understood by and effectively used by people of all ages and abilities.  Justus’s work embodies the Maker and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education principals with the experience of living with chronic illness. He was the first Maker in Residence at the Chicago Public Library Maker Lab and has exhibited his work at institutions including the Stanford School of Medicine, the European Commission, and the American Diabetes Association.

     Justus is an alumna of the University of California San Francisco’s Life Science Entrepreneurship Program and the Visual and Critical Studies program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) where he continues his role as an alumni ambassador.  He is a recent winner of SAIC’s Make/Work Creative Venture Challenge providing him access to mHUB, Chicago’s premier physical prototyping space for his practice. His upcoming solo exhibition at the International Museum of Surgical Science will bring patient leaders and companies from across the country to Chicago from August to November (2018).  This includes Fitscript, a diabetes fitness company that he is collaborating with to produce an art installation at the American Diabetes Association’s largest public Health and Wellness EXPO in the US at McCormick Place in Chicago on April 14th (2018) with over 6,000 expected attendees.


  • Rulan Tangen

    Rulan Tangen's work explores movement as an evolving language of intertribalism rooted in diverse indigenous cosmologies, in functional ritual for transformation and healing, animating decolonization

    process, integrating concurrent universes of ancient futurities in the moment of now, expressing energetic connection with all relations – human and beyond. As Founding Artistic Director/Choreographer of DANCING EARTH, she has passionately cultivated successive generations of Indigenous contemporary performing artists, and embodies her belief in dance as purposeful center of continuance of life. She is recipient of 2018 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist award and is grateful for all that roots her , supporting pathways to uncover, for the dreaming and doing of Dancing Earth : moving, shaking and stomping the world into renewal.


  • Omar Offendum

    Omar Offendum is a Syrian-American rapper / poet living in Los Angeles.  Known for his unique blend of Hip-Hop & Arabic poetry, he’s been featured on prominent world news outlets, lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions, collaborated with major museums & cultural organizations on several high-profile projects, and helped raise millions of dollars for various humanitarian relief groups. A graduate of the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, he’s been able to carve a distinct path for himself as a thoughtful entertainer / activist able to speak to a multitude of relevant issues & diverse global audiences over the course of his decade-long career.

    Omar potrait


The nomination period for the 2018/2019 Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition is now closed.

The nomination period for the 2019/2020 Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition will open in October 2018.