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Seneca artist Rosy Simas has been named a recipient of the Dance/United States Artists Fellowship at a time of urgency.

"The timing is really important for me as an artist who changed gears and really has shifted to not just making my own work but supporting other artists," Simas said.

In March 2020, she began to shift her focus to create a space for rest and focus on what was needed in the community. And she stayed the course even as the pandemic generated economic hardship.

She created Rosy Simas Danse, a residency program for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) artists last year in the Northrup King building in northeast Minneapolis. It was in part to address the impact of "dual pandemics" that BIPOC artists face — from COVID-19 to the racism, bias and phobias that make their living and work environments unsafe.

"Being supported at this time, in this really an uncertain moment, is just really important," she said.

Jessica Ferrer, United States Artists program manager, said the panelists who chose Simas as a fellowship recipient this year recognized her impact on the community.

"Rosy has been deeply invested in this notion of decolonization in practice, which I think parallels nicely to Pramila's work, as well," Ferrer said, referring to co-recipient Pramila Vasudevan.

Simas is now back to making dance, picking up on a project that began in late 2019 and early 2020 at the Weisman Art Museum. The work, "She Who Lives on the Road to War," is a response to how the pandemic has impacted the world at large and the need to come together in peace.

Later this year, the immersive installation/dance performance will have a dual premiere at Weisman and All My Relations Gallery, both in Minneapolis, before touring to Hawaii and New York.