smiling portrait of Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay

2021 MID-CAREER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT GRANTEE | $5,000

Research and Development for Motherland Orphans Project

Playwright and public practice artist Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay will develop the Motherland Orphans Project. She’ll engage Southeast Asian Americans who identify as “motherland orphans,” work with a dramaturg to develop a new full-length play, and work under the mentorship of an established curator to develop an accompanying exhibit. Vongsay will also participate in the Annual Convention And Public Art & Civic Design Conference.

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a Lao writer. CNN’s “United Shades of America” host W. Kamau Bell called her work “revolutionary.” Governor Mark Dayton recognized her with a “Lao Artists Heritage Month” Proclamation. She’s a recipient of a Sally Award for Initiative from the Ordway Center for Performing Arts which “recognizes bold new steps and strategic leadership undertaken by an individual… in creating projects or artistic programs never before seen in Minnesota that will have a significant impact on strengthening Minnesota’s artistic/cultural community.” She’s the author of the children’s book When Everything Was Everything and is best known for her award-winning play Kung Fu Zombies Vs Cannibals (Theater Mu). Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (NY), Theater Mu (MN), Lower Depth Theater (LA), Asian Improv Arts (IL), and elsewhere. Other awards include grants/fellowships from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Bush Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation, MAP Fund, Playwrights’ Center, Forecast Public Art, MRAC, MSAB, and others. In June 2020, she received a prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence award.

Vongsay was previously a Forecast 2018 Early-Career Project Grantee.

The McKnight Foundation generously enables Forecast to provide Professional Development Grants for mid-career artists seeking to expand their work in the field of public art. Forecast mid- and early-career grants are designed to support independent projects, leadership development, professional development, risk-taking, multidisciplinary approaches, and collaborative problem-solving in the field of public art.