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Actress, Writer, Filmmaker McKenzie Chinn Selected to Receive Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Grant

Actress, Writer, Filmmaker McKenzie Chinn Selected to Receive Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Grant

Actress, writer, and filmmaker McKenzie Chinn is among the 5 emerging artists and performers who have been selected to receive stipends totaling $300,000 from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts, according to the New York Times.

The fund provides $50,000 a year for up to two years to young artists of “exceptional promise.”

Past recipients of the arts fellowship include Misty Copeland, the first African American female soloist in two decades with American Ballet Theatre.

In addition to McKenzie Chinn, the awards, which will be formerly announced tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7, will also go to Julia Bullock, a soprano who won the 2014 Naumburg International Vocal Competition and the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions; Sean Chen, the third-place finisher in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; Caitlin Cherry, a visual artist whose work was on view in a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum in 2013; and Joseph Gorak, a soloist with American Ballet Theater. 

The Annenberg Fellowship Fund provides support to artists during a vibrant period of transition in their professional lives, enabling them to develop artistically as they realize their career goals. Partnering with organizations such as American Ballet Theatre, the Yale School of Drama, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the fund has paid or pledged more than $5 million over the last eight years for career-development grants to artists.

McKenzie Chinn, an actress, writer and filmmaker, has appeared primarily on stage, in productions at the Goodman Theater and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. Her film credits include 3 short films, and a feature – “Hogtown” from director Daniel Nearing, which premiered last year. Nearing described her as “a force of nature.”

I’m sure we’ll learn more about what she has planned for her award, when tomorrow’s official announcement is made.

I did come across a 2014 interview with her, via the Chicago Suntimes, in which she talked briefly about her life and career. Here’s a sample:

On the differences between acting for the stage, and for the screen: “They’re as different as they can possibly be. [In film] there’s a lot more intensity wrapped up in a much shorter period of time – it required me to do a lot of the discovering [beforehand] and have a plan before going on to the set, because we don’t have weeks to rehearse. On stage it’s this long, luxuriant experience [in which] things evolve over time.”

On who she’d like to work with: “There are a lot of Chicago actors I would love to work with, [such as Steppenwolf’s] Karen Adlridge and Kirsten Fitzgerald. In terms of film, I could never forget Phyllicia Rashād – that would feel like coming full circle.”

And on what she does when she’s not working: “I do a lot of writing – I keep a blog and have been doing some performance writing, trying my hand at different things. And I got married less than a year ago, my husband’s a musician. Every once in a while we find time to go out and be normal married people.”

More can be read here:

You can also check out her blog here:; although it hasn’t been updated a long while.

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