It was with great pride that we announced the Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship, at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts this past January, a new fund that gives Stanford Undergraduates the opportunity to spend a summer working full time in the arts with a focus on racial/social justice. 

This program is named and funded in honor of Lyric McHenry Stanford class of 2014. While at Stanford, Lyric interned at IDA, majored in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and performed in and directed a number of theater productions. Lyric’s appreciation for the effect of the arts in the fight for social justice propelled her dedication to writing and producing. Her unique talent for uplifting others showed itself in an infectious ability to support and empower those around her, speak up for what she believed in, and create art that shed light on racial inequity and identity. Lyric brought curiosity, brilliance, and warmth to everything she did.
We are excited to introduce IDA’s first cohort of the 2020 Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship. Please join us as we celebrate Rachel Lam (’20), Clarissa Scranage-Carter (’20), Shannen Torres (’21), and Dayonna Tucker (’20) and wish them great success in their summer internships. Please read below for more.

Rachel Lam ’20, is an artist who works visually, auditorily, and through movement and dance. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma as well as a first-generation Malaysian-American, Rachel grapples with the notion that the Cherokee way of understanding and engaging with the world is dying. With this primary concern in mind, Rachel’s goal for this fellowship is to write and illustrate children’s books in the Cherokee language. Rachel will work with Snowbird Traditions–a community organization that revitalizes Cherokee traditions —including language, arts and crafts, and traditional medicine. Her experience as a Stanford Cherokee language teaching assistant has given her a strong Cherokee language-specific background in classroom management, instructional assistance and curriculum development, as well as the ability to talk about positionality and the skill of inner-group cultural humility. She states: “Working with Snowbird Traditions means working with the Cherokee language and with Cherokee children. I want my children’s books to be extremely intentional and this experience would greatly enhance my ability to be intentional.”

Clarissa Scranage-Carter ’20, is a coterm-senior and a Gates Millennium Scholar pursuing a graduate degree in Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT). A talented singer/performer and accomplished music producer, Clarissa has been working on technological solutions to increase female representation within the music industry, particularly within music production and engineering. She will be interning with Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) a San Francisco/Oakland-based nonprofit organization– the only professional recording studio in the world built and run by women and GNC individuals. WAM’s award-winning curriculum weaves art and music with science, technology and computer programming and works to close the critical gender gap in creative technology careers. Clarissa remarks: “An experience [with WAM] will help me continue to seek accountable ways to solve the gender gap in this industry.”

Shannen Torres ’21, is a visual artist who works to bridge art and community for change. This primary goal led them to return home to the South Bronx during the summer of 2018 where they worked with NYC muralist crew TatsCru to paint murals initiated and commissioned by communities around the city. Their lived experience informs their research on Black and brown struggles in urban communities and how artwork, like graffiti, reflects this history. Moreover, they are interested in how artists working within such communities lead to personal and collective radicalization. This fellowship will allow for a second collaboration with the U.S. Latinx Art Forum to work as an archivist to create a public database of Latinx artists across multiple generations. Their role would be to help fill generational gaps and answer some key questions such as: “How do I best take into consideration identity, identity politics, and the differences between various fields of study (i.e. Latinx Art vs. Art of the Americas vs. Latin American Art) to best represent Latinx artists who have passed and who are still with us today?”

During Fall 2019, Dayonna Tucker ’20, was Assistant Costume Designer to Dana Kawano during TAPS’ mainstage production of REVIVAL: Millennial Rememberings in the Afro Now, devised by Amara Tabor-Smith and the Committee on Black Performing Arts. The two co-designed an egun-gun costume together and it was through continued collaboration that Dayonna learned new skills in design with further intentionality and purpose toward healing and ritual. Dayonna recently completed her honors thesis in African and African American Studies where her thesis theorized about biological bondage and argued that garments could be cloaks of protection and promise for Black Women. The Lyric McHenry fellowship will enable her to deepen her relationship with her mentor Dana by further assisting her in a personal project to restore vintage Japanese umbrellas for survivors of concentration camps. Dayonna will also be designing her first collection of sustainable clothing for black women as ritual garments of wellness and protection. Further cultivating ancestral practices of using textiles as tools for activism, she will be incorporating quilting techniques and patterns in her designs as a way of communicating messages of empowerment. She remarks: “Every class and conversation always leaves me more empowered to make my own work that is rooted in intellectualism, thorough research, and community activism. This opportunity would grant me the time and space to put these theories into praxis.”

Click here to Learn more about the Lyric McHenry Fellowship and to led your support visit The Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fund.