June 28 2016 03:44 PM

Steve Gunderson, Michelle Montjoy and David Reynoso among those awarded the annual fellowship

So Many Hours in the Day
Photo by Michelle Montjoy

Five local artists have been announced as recipients of the 2016 Creative Catalyst awards. Awarded annually by local nonprofit The San Diego Foundation, Creative Catalyst works as both a grant and fellowship with artistic projects chosen by local institutions such as the New Children's Museum, the San Diego Ballet and San Diego Writers, Ink.

This year's winners include Tim West, an actor and playwright who will be working on a serial theatrical performance based on the lost years of William Shakespeare. Playwright Janet Wright will be sponsored by the Playwrights Project to produce a series of interconnected monologues about the importance of caregiving. Set and costume designer David Reynoso will be working with the Old Globe to create a "theatrical experience inspired by Mexican myths and folklore." Finally, theater vet Steve Gunderson will be working on a collaborative music/theater/dance piece entitled The Artificial Woman.

While the award has often seen a good mix of the performing and visual arts in the past, only one visual artist was chosen this year for Creative Catalyst. Chosen by the Oceanside Museum of Art, Michelle Montjoy is known for her amazingly intricate "knitted environments" and sculptural work.

"It's a really wonderful feeling to be picked by the Oceanside Museum of Art, because I live here," says Montjoy, who pitched a project called "River" for the grant.

The genesis of "River" really began with an installation Montjoy did in 2015 at Art Produce Gallery called So Many Hours in the Day. She worked with friends and other helpers to create the snake-like knitted installations and says she enjoyed the collective aspects of that project so much that she wanted to take it further for "River."

"As I took a step back from that show, I realized this is super powerful. This action where we're making something together and not looking at our phones," says Montjoy, who will host a series of free workshops for "River" all over North County starting in September (the schedule can be found at oma-online.org). In the workshops, visitors will help craft knitted and crocheted sculptural works using old t-shirts. Montjoy says she has no idea how the piece or pieces will ultimately turn out, but she will ultimately curate them into an installation piece that will debut at OMA on March 25, 2017.

"There really is a power in sitting around together and making things," Montjoy says. "It really is about connecting the community."

So Many Hours in the Day workshops
Photo by Michelle Montjoy

Work from the Lux Art Institute Credit
Photo by Michelle Montjoy

Michelle Montjoy
Photo by Geoff Cunningham

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