Over the course of three months, DISTILLERY Fellows will:

  • Compose a 5-page statement for their DISTILLERY project
  • Receive 12 hours per week of free rehearsal space at the CAC
  • Craft one performance showing
  • Take part in roundtable discussions/writings about performance processes

DISTILLERY Fellows are provided:

  • 150 hours of rehearsal space over the course of three months
  • Material budget and working stipend
  • Presented public showing of work-in-process
  • Discussion with local and national artists


2015 Distillery Fellows are:

Kesha McKeyKesha McKey is a choreographer, educator, and professional performing artist in New Orleans. Kesha is a graduate of NOCCA, received her BS from Xavier University and her MFA in Dance Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the founding Artistic Director of KM Dance Project and has choreographed, directed and co-produced works such as Taken, Distorted Images, Lasting Images, and Footprints; traces of expressions. She has presented choreographic works for events such as the 2014 Courageous Conversations Summit, 2014 Dance for Social Change Festival, Fringe Festival – N.O., and the Guantanamo Public Memory Project. She is a faculty member of the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute and has been an artistic facilitator for the Unita Blackwell Young Women’s Leadership Training. She has worked as a director on productions such as the Vagina Monologues and The Origins of Life on Earth. She is also a dance educator at NOCCA and the Program Coordinator of the Kuumba Institute, Ashé Cultural Arts Center Youth Program.


ScottyScott Heron is a movement-based performance artist living in New Orleans. He began dancing at Colorado College, spent six years studying and performing with Deborah Hay in Austin, Tx. and then landed in New York’s East Village in the 1980s. There he gravitated to the downtown dance improv and performance art world centered around Performance Space 122 and Movement Research. His solo and group theater works have been commissioned and produced in practically every downtown venue including The Kitchen, La Mama E.T.C, Dance Theater Workshop, Franklin Furnace, and P.S 122. He has performed with the Deborah Hay Dance Company and interpreted Hay’s choreography on his own. He is a juggler, stilt-walker, rope walker, acrobat, and founding member of Jennifer Miller’s Circus Amok, bringing free queer circus to New York City parks for a dozen years. He received a 2003 New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) award. He recently finished a two year project in collaboration with Brussels-based Thomas Hauert/Zoo, touring extensively in Europe, Canada and the U.S. He has collaborated with HIJACK dance of Minneapolis for 15 years making work together and touring in New York, Russia, Minneapolis, and New Orleans. Most recently he made “Twink Spree Melee” in collaboration with Layard Thompson, “Lights up a tragedy” for the American Realness Festival, and is developing “Appalachian Spring Break,” a duet with musician Brendan Connelly.




The DISTILLERY Fellows for 2014 were:

Quess Photo  A Scribe Called Quess? (aka Michael Moore) is a poet, educator, and an actor in that order. His writing and work with youth as a poet led him to the classroom, where he most recently spent four years as an English teacher. He is a founding member of Team SNO (Slam New Orleans), New Orleans’ first slam poetry team since Hurricane Katrina, and the only national championship team the city has ever produced having won competitions in 2010, 2012 and 2013. His accomplishments with Team SNO have earned him honors from the Mayor of New Orleans as well as from City Council. He’s also a member of VOIC’D (Voices Organized in Creative Dissent), a collective of actors spawned by Junebug Productions with a focus on social justice, whose last production, “Lockdown,” received critical acclaim and sold out audiences several nights in a row. He has produced a self-titled CD, “A Scribe Called Quess?” and his debut book of poetry, Blind Visionz, can be found at http://www.lulu.com.

aurora_stab_02  An established bandleader, composer, performer and improviser, Aurora Nealand has become a prominent force in the New Orleans music scene since she first arrived in 2005. Combining the “formal education” – studies at Oberlin Conservatory in “Contemporary Music” and training at the Jacques Lecoq School of  Physical Theatre in Paris –  with the “informal”  experience of playing music in the streets and clubs of New Orleans and throughout the northern Hemisphere, Nealand has emerged as an innovative, sensitive and daring music creator and performer

She is most recognized for her performance on saxophones, clarinet and vocals and has been at the forefront of the revival of New Orleans Traditional Jazz amongst the younger generation of the city’s musicians. In addition to leading the traditional jazz band, The Royal Roses, Nealand is also the leader/frontman of  New Orleans premier rockabilly band “Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers”, and performs frequently with her solo project, “The Monocle”. She also is a member of Panorama Jazz Band and Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship.  In 2010 -2012 she appeared frequently as herself  in the HBO TV series, “Treme.”

EVAN SPIGELMAN DISTILLERY PHOTO  Evan Spigelman is a performer, director, light designer and co-founder of New Orleans performance collective Skin Horse Theater.  Evan is also co-director of the New Orleans Queer Youth Theater, a transformative space for queer and allied youth to actualize their power through performance.  In 2013, Evan served as a core organizer with the New Orleans Fringe Festival.

Outside of New Orleans, Evan has worked with the Ontological Hysteric Theater and Incubator Arts Project in New York City.  He has a B.A. from Bard College in History and Gender and Sexuality Studies and has studied at the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam. From time to time, Evan can also be seen stalking around New Orleans as his gender-bent alter ego, Ms. Asa Metric.

Maritza Mercado Narcisse photo Maritza Mercado-Narcisse has had the privilege of performing her work on the Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out stage, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and Piccolo Spoleto. She is a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellow and has studied most recently with Susan Marshall, Doug Varone, Beppie Blankert & Milton Myers. She has been a New Orleans native since 1988 and has worked with a variety or NOLA based dance and theater artists including ArtSpot Productions, Moving Humans and Mondo Bizarro. She is “Mama” to Tyger, and Mateo; wife to J Hammons. This Summer Maritza premiered her company the Narcisse Movement Project and will be teaching a master class series at Dancing Grounds in April.