Last week, Fellows gathered in West Chelsea at the New York office of the American Academy in Rome to inaugurate what will be a new tradition: an annual celebration of Fellows’ accomplishments over the course of the year.
There was much to celebrate: forty books authored, edited, or translated; forty-two solo exhibitions; four exhibitions curated by Fellows; several new public art installations; fifteen world premieres of music or orchestrations composed by Fellows, and other performing arts premieres; five recordings of music published; and at least five new architectural projects, from an airport terminal in India to a unique heat-resistant commercial project in Houston. (Download a PDF brochure of the list of accomplishments.)
In addition, Fellows won two Guggenheim Fellowships, one MacDowell Fellowship, one MacArthur “genius grant,” and three prizes from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among many other awards, in 2023.
The collaboration between Fellows that is a hallmark of the Academy was also on full display. In September, the opera The Newtown Odyssey premiered at Newtown Creek, canal which straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. It was the product of a collaboration among three 2009 Fellows: Marie Lorenz, Kurt Rohde, and Dana Spiotta. Lorenz, a visual artist, did the set design; Rohde composed music and performed on the viola, and Spiotta, a novelist, wrote the libretto. The avant-garde opera, which was made possible by grants by the NEA and through a partnership with the Newtown Creek Alliance, called attention to the environmental degradation of the Superfund site and was written up by the New Yorker.
In another example three Fellows from three different classes—Steven Ellis (2013 Fellow), Allison Emmerson (2019 Fellow), and Kevin Dicus (2017 Fellow)—coauthored The Porta Stabia Neighborhood at Pompeii: Volume I: Structure, Stratigraphy, and Space (Oxford University Press). The volume—one in a series that is the fruit of a collaborative archaeological project between the University of Cincinnati and the American Academy in Rome—brings together data and insights from the excavation of a whole neighborhood in Pompeii. By shedding new light on the subelite inhabitants of the Porta Stabia neighborhood, the book seeks to provide a more complete understanding of the socioeconomic diversity of Pompeii.
Work products were not the only cause for celebration. Guests gave a round applause at the news of the upcoming marriage of 2011 Fellows Joshua G. Stein and Jennifer Scappettone, who met as Rome Prize Fellows, taking place this New Year’s Eve.