Jones, an associate professor of performing arts who heads the playwriting curriculum in the Fordham Theatre program, was one of nearly 3,000 scholars, artists, and writers in the United States and Canada who applied for the fellowship, which has been overseen by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for the past 94 years. Only 168 recipients were chosen.
The coveted awards, which vary in dollar amount by individual, are granted for use for six to 12 months, and carry no special conditions attached to them, allowing winners to spend funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work.
In a statement announcing his selection, the foundation noted that “energy” is Jones’ primary medium, drives his interdisciplinary practice, and supports his formal fluency and stylistic breadth. It praised his critically acclaimed performance pieces Black Light at the Public Theater and Greenwich House Theatre; Duat at Soho Rep; An Integrator’s Manual at La MaMa; and the Fusebox Festival, Radiate at Soho Rep, and Bright Now and Beyond at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre.
It also praised plays Jones has produced, such as Phoenix Fabrik, Bel Canto, Ambient Love Rites, and Earthbirths, Jazz and Raven’s Wings, as well as five albums of original songs he has composed as his alter ego, Jomama Jones.
“Daniel’s wildflower body of original work includes plays, performance pieces, recorded music, concerts, music theatre events, essays, and long-form improvisations. Jones consistently creates multi-dimensional experiences where bodies, minds, emotions, voices, and spirits conjoin, shimmer, and heal,” the foundation wrote.
“His roots reach deep into Black American and queer theatre and performance traditions. Jones is recognized as a key voice in the development of theatrical jazz and has made a significant contribution to black experimental theatre and performance.”
Since its establishment in 1925, the foundation has granted more than $360 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, including Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, poets laureate, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Turing Award, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors.
“Fordham’s theatre program is fortunate to have Daniel Alexander Jones on its faculty,” said director Matthew Maguire.
“Daniel sustains a high wire act of balancing a cutting-edge aesthetic with a deep well of compassion.”