Mia and David Alpert Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship Original Announcement (Sept. 2021)
Harvardwood is pleased to announce the Mia and David Alpert Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship for graduating seniors or recent Harvard alumni working or seeking to work in the arts, media, and entertainment fields. The multiyear gift, generously donated by Harvardwood Co-Founder Mia Riverton Alpert ’99 and her husband, producer and media entrepreneur David Alpert ‘97, includes a $24,000 per-artist grant, awarded annually, to support one or more recent graduates from the College for one year as they pursue their artistic projects. Each Alpert Harvardwood Fellow will also be paired with a mentor in their field of interest to help guide their creative endeavors and will receive additional assistance through Harvardwood.
The Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship will be awarded annually to a different artist or artists. Grant funds can be used at the grantee’s discretion. The purpose of the funds is to provide the opportunity for an individual to choose the pursuit of artistic endeavors without consideration of financial need for the duration of the grant period. There is no restriction on the artistic field; musicians, dancers, visual artists, actors, writers, filmmakers and artists/creators in all disciplines are encouraged to apply.
“Creating more equitable access to careers in the arts has been a lifelong passion for us and was a motivating force behind Harvardwood’s founding 22 years ago. David and I are honored to support the next generation of emerging Harvard artists as they begin their professional journeys,” said Mia Riverton Alpert.
Harvardwood President Allison Kiessling said, "We have long known that to have a greater impact we need to invest more deeply in individual artists. This fellowship will allow Harvardwood to amplify our efforts to promote diversity, equity and the positive impact of new voices in the arts. We are incredibly grateful for the Alperts’ generosity."
The Fellowship selection committee is comprised of Harvardwood board members, other industry professionals, and Harvard University staff with expertise in various artistic disciplines.
2023-24 Fellowship Winners
Harvardwood is pleased to announce that filmmaker/visual artist Uzo Ngwu (AB ‘23) and conductor/composer Benjamin Perry Wenzelberg (AB ‘21) are the recipients of the second annual Mia and David Alpert Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship. In addition to receiving a $24,000 grant to support their work, each Fellow will be paired with a mentor in their field to offer professional guidance and support during the term of the Fellowship.
Ms. Ngwu will spend her fellowship year focusing on completing the production of her 2D animated film MMANWU, which began as her thesis project. Uzo will be mentored by renowned filmmaker Mark Osborne. Mr. Osborne is known for his work in both animation and live-action directing. He gained acclaim for co-directing the highly praised film Kung Fu Panda, which garnered an Academy Award nomination and earned over $630 million worldwide. Mr. Osborne's other notable achievements include his award-winning stop-motion animated short More and his contributions to the popular TV series SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as being a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship. His diverse portfolio showcases his talent and creativity in both animation and live-action storytelling.
Mr. Wenzelberg will spend his fellowship year continuing in the second year of the National Master in Orchestral Conducting program in Amsterdam, as well as participating in the 2023 Mahler Competition in Bamberg, Germany and pursuing conducting opportunities in Europe. He will also pursue avenues to advance his original opera and senior thesis, NIGHTTOWN, which has just won a 2023 ASCAP Morton Gould Composer Award and whose premiere recording will be featured in the 2023 Bloomsday Film Festival in Ireland. Benjamin’s mentor will be conductor Alan Gilbert (AB ‘89). Mr. Gilbert is principal conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and music director of Royal Swedish Opera. He was music director of the New York Philharmonic from 2009 to 2017 and principal conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra from 2000 to 2008. He holds the title of conductor laureate with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.
In addition to the two Fellows, Harvardwood named six finalists who will each receive a $500 grant to support their work. The finalists are writer Josette Abugov (AB ‘23), mixed media artist Treasure Brooks (AB ‘22), comedian Emma Choi (AB ‘23), performer/writer Ashley Cooper (AB ‘21), musician/composer Devon Gates (AB ‘23), and dancer Osazi Al Khaliq (AB ‘23).
To apply, individuals must be current Harvard College seniors or have graduated from Harvard College within the past two years (i.e. class of 2022, 2023 or 2024), complete the application form, provide a resume, a work sample or portfolio, an introductory video, an artist statement (in written, audio or video format), a letter of recommendation, a creative plan with an overview of envisioned projects to be completed or substantially developed during the term of the Fellowship, and a projected budget for the term of the Fellowship. The finalist round will include a video interview. Individuals who have previously been beneficiaries of Harvardwood grants or scholarships or have participated in Harvardwood programs are eligible if they meet the other terms of eligibility.
Applications will be accepted starting on October 7, 2023 and will be due January 9, 2024 (letter of recommendation due Jan. 23, 2024), with the grant announcement in March 2024. Unless Fellowship funds need to be utilized at a particular time for project-related expenses, funds will be distributed monthly to the Alpert Harvardwood Fellows beginning in June 2024 and ending in May 2025.