The Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship

Applications for the summer of 2022 Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship are now OPEN.

Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship

Fellowship administered by IDA with support from the Haas Center and Stanford Arts.

You can view our CAF Info Video here.

Lyric McHenry fellows work with an arts organization or a community-based organization using the arts to further racial/social justice. With the help of IDA staff, CAF Fellows will determine a course of research and preparation for their summer learning experience.

Applicants must propose their own placements with organizations with whom they have corresponded before the application deadline, and effectively demonstrate that their intended partner is a well-run organization where they will receive adequate guidance and supervision. Fellows assist in building and maintaining relationships with these arts organizations and the communities in which they are based.

Recent Fellows have worked with the Laundromat Project, Mural Music & Arts Project, Katina Parker's film project on Ferguson and Black Lives Matter, Scene and Heard (North London, UK), Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, Art of the Soul (Gaborone, Botswana), Rashaad Newsome Studios, and more.

Each Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellow receives a base stipend of $5,500 award to support travel and living expenses during the summer. Financial aid and supplemental funding up to $7,500 total are available to students who qualify.

Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowships are available only to Stanford undergraduate students. Preference will be given to students who will be returning to school in the 2019-20 year.

This program is named and funded in honor of Lyric McHenry (Stanford ‘14). While at Stanford, Lyric McHenry 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.


In honor of Lyric’s passion for the arts and social justice, the Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship gives students the opportunity to spend a summer working full time in the areas of curating, presenting, outreach and/or arts education with a focus on racial/social justice issues. Fellows may work in the United States or abroad.



Lyric McHenry Community Arts fellows are required to work at least 35 hours/week for 9 consecutive weeks at their placements. Other commitments include the following:

Spring Quarter

  • Domestic service: attend a program orientation in April.
  • International service: contact Hilary Douglas
  • Design a personal learning plan for the summer.
  • Participate in placement identification process.
  • Meet with academic mentor at least once.


  • Update staff with changes to contact information.
  • Share learning plan with site supervisor and update accordingly.
  • Check in with IDA staff at least once during the fellowship.
  • Submit a final report, complete a program evaluation, and correspond with fellowship donor(s) as requested by fellowship program staff.

Autumn Quarter

  • Meet with academic mentor at least once.
  • Attend a debriefing for the purpose of reflecting upon and evaluating summer experiences.
  • Participate in at least two campus presentations to share experiences and help publicize the program.

Eligibility and Selection Process

Up to two Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowships are awarded. Currently enrolled undergraduate students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Priority may be given to students who have taken IDA courses. All applicants should exhibit a demonstrated interest in the arts that relates to a particular field of study. Applicants vary in academic interests, community service involvement and experience. Graduating seniors may apply with the understanding that preference will be given to competitive continuing undergraduate applicants.

This fellowship is intended for individuals whose application, references, and interview demonstrate:

  • integration of the fellowship experience with applicant’s academic, personal, and/or career goals
  • prior interest or involvement in the subject area, including related coursework
  • strong interpersonal and intercultural skills
  • a commitment to exploring how the arts can be a means of working towards justice

Complete applications will be screened, finalists interviewed, and fellows selected by a committee with the intention to announce fellowship awards prior to spring break. Committee decisions are final.

Meet this year's fellows

Tyra Blackwater

Tyra Blackwater (she/they) is a multidisciplinary creative whose work includes film, beading, acting and sculpture. They are from the Navajo Reservation and are inspired by their relations and love for their homelands. Tyra is a community based artist and openly shares the knowledge she has learned in community with others.

Tyra will use the Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship to work with Indigenous Goddess Gang, an online community platform and magazine which shares medicine through poetry, food, seed knowledge, herbalism, music and more. The organization works to reclaim knowledge from an Indigenous femme lens, and Tyra will help to develop and steward that knowledge using the organization’s online magazine to provide visibility for this crucial work. In addition, Tyra also co-curates a column called For Our Relatives which showcases Indigenous, queer and/or two spirit art, existence, and beauty.



Sierra Porter

Sierra Porter (she/her) is a producer, dramaturg, and performer majoring in Human Biology. Her portfolio includes the TAPS production of To Wake the Air, Revival , StageCast, and Godot Has Come, and Ram’s Head’s Spring Show production of Heathers: The Musical. This summer she will be working with The Fire This Time Festival, an Obie Award winning festival for Black playwrights. Since 2009, The Fire This Time Festival has produced the work of close to 100 Black playwrights—for many this was their first production ever. The festival's core mission is to expand awareness of thevast spectrum of the Black experience. Working with professional creative directors, producers, and writers, Sierra hopes to develop her professional skills, collaboration skills, and writing. She will receive playwriting mentorship from the festival and will work to develop a new play. Sierra’s goal is to develop a work that can be produced at Stanford and beyond. Through the Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship, Sierra hopes to support Black creatives as they share their art and stories, and pursue a career full of passion and love.

Alexander Feliciano Mejía

Alexander Feliciano Mejía (he/they) is a doctoral candidate in the Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) program at Stanford University's Graduate School of Education. His research interests are centered on language, identity, diaspora, and labor. His guiding research question has been: How do Indigenous Guatemalan youth develop language and identity at school, at work, and in the neighborhoods of East Oakland? While Alex’s research started off focused on language, education, and identity, questions of everyday aesthetics, sound, and dance have emerged as central to answering that question. As part of the Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship, Alex will be collaborating with the community based Indigenous cultural organization Movimiento Cultural de la Unión Indígena, with the collaboration of Henry Sales, leader in the Maya-Mam community in Oakland. The two will work together within the community to create film and installation based works amplifying Maya-Mam cultural practices in the diaspora.


Doris Rodriguez

‘Dory’ Rodriguez (they/them) is a designer and visual artist majoring in Science, Technology and Society. Their fashion designs exist at the intersection of gender inclusion, sustainability and queer joy. As a former FSI Global Policy Fellow at the Habibie Center in Indonesia, Dory has experience researching human rights with a focus on the fashion industry. They learned about how fast fashion utilizes environmental racism— through the pollution of rivers by factories, and exploitative labor practices— to create the world's clothing in such excess. During their fellowship, Dory will apprentice with a group of local seamstresses to help develop their skills in garment construction and sewing. They will also conduct oral interviews, learning more about the working conditions, wages and overall life of garment factory workers in Miami. Dory will use their skills in the social sciences to conduct a thematic analysis of the interviews, and then will create a final visual art project of textiles and garments created alongside visual collages of quotes and pictures of them in the process of creating. Dory’s work will highlight seamstresses as artists in the community and the racialized discourses of how certain labor is valued.

Benny Siam

Benny Siam (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist dedicated to the transformative potential of decolonization, radical love, and abolitionism. They are majoring in Art Practice and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with a minor in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Through photographic intervention, photo collage, and abstract painting Benny explores the deeply private yet simultaneously public act of being non-binary. Benny is interested in creating community especially amongst trans/queer people of color through the workshop and gallery spaces. This summer as part of the Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship, Benny will be receiving mentorship from LA-based trans artist Cassils, a former Stanford Visiting Artist, whose work is rooted in an analysis of physicality and the material of performance. Benny will be a studio assistant supporting the artistic and administrative tasks of the studio. While there, they hope to gain a better understanding of what work as a professional artist looks like, how to secure grant funding, and other pedagogical principles rooted in the artist’s social practice.


Applications for the summer of 2022 Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship are now open.

A complete fellowship application includes the following three components:

1) Application Form

  • Relevant academic coursework
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Resume
  • Budget
  • Short essay questions

The short essay questions are your opportunity to express why you are interested in this fellowship experience. The selection committee is interested in both your personal and academic reasons for applying. Please ensure that you are thorough and specific in your responses to the questions. Respond to each question separately; each response should be approximately one paragraph (4–6 sentences) in length.

  •  Why are you applying for this fellowship?
  • How have you prepared for this fellowship and what do you anticipate will be your biggest challenge?
  • How will this fellowship contribute to your academic success and professional and/or personal development?

2) Recommendation

Provide Stanford faculty/staff recommender with detailed information about the fellowship(s) for which you are applying. There will be instructions for recommendations included in your application.

Recommendations will be allowed up to 24 hours after your deadline.

3) Community Partner Questionnaire

The Community Partner Questionnaire consists of three questions that must be answered by an individual representing your proposed partner organization or a community representative, preferably your potential supervisor. The questionnaire must be submitted by the application deadline, so be sure to contact your partner organization well in advance. See the online application for the questionnaire itself.