Jonah Bokaer has cultivated a new form of Choreography merged with Visual Art & Design. American and Middle Eastern, he has deeply interwoven an international career as an exhibiting museum artist; with a touring multi-ethnic dance company; with a nonprofit practice that has succeeded in delivering 3 permanent arts facilities for younger artists.
Jonah Bokaer Choreography has authored 64 original works, produced in 34 nations, 27 of the United States, and 292 cities – including 41 Museum Exhibitions worldwide. The impact of earned, contributed, and granted funds between 2002-2020 have realized 3 permanent Artspaces, 14+ diverse jobs, $11M+ in revenue, and 1 City-Wide Festival. Bokaer is Tunisian-American, is an LGBTQIA leader, and is currently exhibiting and touring with 8 international dancers. The company is among the few to tour to the Middle East, MENA, MENASA, and Israeli regions equally: before, during, and after the regional events of 2011. Openly gay since the 1980s, Bokaer’s innovations consistently receive prizes, philanthropic support, and humanitarian acknowledgment internationally, with increasing program alignment and recognition from the global south.
Jonah Bokaer Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which oversees the choreography, visual art, and artspaces of Jonah Bokaer. Through the support of its Board, generous donors, foundation grants, and government leveraging, the organization succeeds in crafting and fulfilling a dual mission: to foster the development, research, and presentation of new performance works across disciplines, while establishing affordable artspaces for other artists, notably Chez Bushwick (2002) & CPR (Co-Founded 2008), adjacent affordable studios in Brooklyn, and Space 428 Hudson (2016): incubator of The Hudson Eye. The nonprofit serves a community of 1,500+ diverse artists, supporting and impacting next generations of performing arts talent, while remaining one of the only Middle Eastern founded dance organizations in the United States. The fastest growing department of the organization is arts education, often in areas of urban revitalization.
Awards & Prizes:
• Crain’s New York Business: “Notable LGBTQ Leaders & Executives” (2020)
• UNC DisTIL Fellowship Award (Chapel Hill, NC 2018-2020)
• Robert Rauschenberg Foundation prize residency award (2019)
• Stanford University, Mohr Prize (2019)
• 1st Place, Olympic Rink of Lake Placid, Senior Free Dance:
Quinn Carpenter & Lorraine McNamara (July 27, 2018)
• National Theatre of Serbia / Infant Festival Prize (Serbia, 2017)
• NYU Center for Ballet & The Arts Fellowship (NYC, 2016)
• Civitella Ranieri Foundation Prize in Visual Arts (Italy, 2016)
• United States Artists Fellowship / Ford Foundation (USA, 2015)
• John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (USA, 2015)
• National Endowment for the Arts (USA, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017)
• Prix Nouveau Talent Chorégraphie, SACD (Paris, 2011)
• Bogliasco Foundation / Jerome Robbins Fellowship, Dance (Italy, 2011)
• Crain’s NY Business “40 Under 40” (NYC, 2011)
• The Nifty Fifty, America’s Up-And-Coming Talent (NY Times, 2010)
• Rockefeller Foundation NYC Cultural Innovation Fund (NYC, 2009–2010)
• OUT Magazine (2009)
• Alumni Achievement Award, UNCSA (2009)
• Young Leader of the French American Foundation (France, 2008–2009)
• NY Dance & Performance / Bessie Award (Lighting: Aaron Copp, 2008)
• NY Dance & Performance / Bessie Special Citation (Bushwick: 2007)
• National Dance Access, Dance/USA (Mellon Foundation, 2007)
• Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (Dance Finalist, 2007)
• Inaugural Gallery Installation Fellowship, DTW (NYC, Media Art, 2007)
• 25 To Watch, Dance Magazine (2006)
• Passing It On Award, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (Chez Bushwick, 2006)
• Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2005–2006)
• Joan Kirnsner Memorial Award (The New School, NYC 2005)
• Human Rights Award (Public Service, North Carolina, 2000)
Announcing The Hudson Eye – 3rd Edition
August 27 – September 6, 2021
For All Inquiries: [email protected]
Following 10 years of decisive activity in the City of Hudson, NY fostering existing and new citizens alike, in all our local, state, national, international, and economic diversity; Jonah Bokaer Arts Foundation is launching The Hudson Eye (2nd Edition) between August 28 – September 8, 2020. In dialogue with our local Artists and Venue Partners, we are catalyzing an annual artist-driven program to be mounted in Hudson, to build and strengthen our communities through contemporary performance & art celebrating artists that, like Jonah, have a longstanding commitment to the City of Hudson: while also recognizing the next generation of artists who have chosen to call Hudson their home.
For nearly 200 years since the founding of the Hudson River School, our city and region has been a source of inspiration for artists to live, work, commune, meditate, create, find shelter, renew themselves and seek a sustainable creative sanctuary. As we go further in depth during our planning phase of The Hudson Eye we remain mindful of this history, and steadfast in our support of the Hudson community: we have plans to expand our commitment to with many artists – include, we hope, your own unique practice. The Hudson Eye festival is slated to kickoff on August 28th and run through Labor Day weekend in Hudson, New York to close out the summer season. In partnership with Artists, Venues, Collectors, Communities, Volunteers, Small Businesses – and underground Hudson Nightlife, the Hudson Eye at its core seeks to provide a platform for artist’s voices to be heard and their practices to be shared with the Hudson community and surrounding areas.
In our initial planning, we worked to deeply at all levels of the city to consider what it means to be part of the Hudson community fabric, and looked inward at our own relationship to the region over the past 10 years. The Hudson Eye is an artist-driven 10-day public program and urban showcase, with a focus on Dance, Music, Performance, Film, Visual Art, Dining Out, and Nightlife during the final week of the summer as a celebratory close to Hudson’s peak tourism weekend. This program will feature 10 artists (5 Hudson based artists + 5 visiting artists) over 10 days; curatorially framing the works in a multi-venue exhibition featuring panels discussions, lectures and a “Dine Around” town each evening. A local bar will also be spotlighted, each night as well as after hours parties in underground and alternative spaces, such as Jonah’s own Space 428.
History in Hudson 2006-2020:
Jonah Bokaer was born in Ithaca, NY to Tunisian and American parents, and frequently spent time in the Hudson Valley as a child. He has been active as a choreographer in Hudson, NY since 2006 – his programs have been paving the way for dancers and choreographers such as Tal Adler-Arieli, David Rafael Botana, CC Chang, James Koroni, James McGinn, Todd McQuade, Tony Orrico, Szabi Pataki, Sara Procopio, Davon Rainey, Judith Sachéz Ruíz, Adam H. Weinert, and many others through his Hudson residencies and public programs dating to 2006.
Jonah Bokaer was the 2015 recipient of the United States Artists Award in Dance (Ford Foundation). With this $50,000 personal cash prize, and others that year, he purchased his 3rd Artspace, in the center of Hudson, NY where he has created choreography since 2006. The acquisition of this facility in Hudson was made possible in cooperation with Peggy Polenberg Real Estate and its principals, locally in Hudson, who play an ongoing role in the overall strategy for the venue. Ongoing dialogue with collaborator / architect Charles Renfro in Hudson is ongoing, about the local urban planning of downtown Hudson, and the diversity of State Street in particular.
This 1870s Gothic church, once known as Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Church, has been meticulously renovated into a sophisticated residence and entertainment venue. Currently titled “Space 428,” the open design and astounding restoration incorporates original details with modern amenities. Bokaer recently hosted the New York State DanceForce convening in Hudson, NY on July 31st, 2018 with his dancers, in collaboration with Elena Mosley, Hudson’s local delegate to the New York State DanceForce, and an ongoing local collaborator.
Space 428’s repurposed space holds high ceilings, arched stained glass windows, and unique architectural details that punctuate the building’s past. Open concept living spaces, a fully equipped chef’s kitchen, and new bathrooms modernize this historical gem. New heating and cooling systems, electric, plumbing, foundation, and tuck-pointed brick are just a few of the upgrades. There is a fully fenced-in lawn, where there’s plenty of room to build a garage.
This divine reimagined space is two short blocks to Hudson’s bustling Warren Street and steps to Hudson’s rejuvenated Armory. The revitalization of State Street in Hudson is one aspect of Jonah Bokaer’s long history of Creative Placemaking in the arts, including deliberate partnerships with the New York State Council on the Arts, and its Dance Programs (2007-Present).
Local Hudson partners of Jonah Bokaer Choreography include Basilica Hudson (2010-Present), Second Ward Foundation (2014-Present), Hudson Opera House (where Bokaer staged his Guggenheim Fellowship production in 2015), Time Space Limited (Teaching Venue 2015), and many others.
For all inquires on The Hudson Eye: [email protected]
Tickets for The Hudson Eye 2021: Coming Soon