The Nevada Arts Council’s Fellowship Program advances state’s culture.

Jared Crawford sitting at Fremont Street Experience playing drums on buckets.
Jared Crawford

BY FRANCINE BURGE

The Las Vegas Strip has a rhythm—a vibe, if you will. Between the lights, the people, and the sounds, it vibrates with upbeat energy. This sensory experience is enhanced by the many sidewalk musicians and street performers. Some lucky pedestrians may have heard the work of Jared Crawford, aka RED (Rapper-Entertainer-Drummer), performing with buckets, drumsticks, and a microphone.

Jared Crawford performing in front of a live crowd.Unbeknownst to the crowd, they were getting a free show from one of Nevada’s acclaimed performing artists and a 2024 Nevada Arts Council (NAC) Fellowship recipient.

Crawford is a second-generation bucket drummer. He was raised amid the lights of Las Vegas and trained at art-focused middle and high schools. Those settings further ignited his passion to perform and allowed him the time to devote to his craft.


“By the time I had graduated from high school, I had already put in the work of 10,000 hours,” Crawford says.

Busking became a way to connect with fans, although it is not easy. On the street, most people aren’t there to see him: They are on their way to dinner or a casino show. Still, it’s worth the effort.

“It is gratifying to connect with someone and bring them out of their shell with my music,” he explains.

Jared Crawford throwing a drumstick in the air while playing drums on plastic buckets.Crawford’s band, The Noir Movement, has performed nationally and internationally, but Las Vegas is still home.

“Events like First Fridays and Soul Sessions have allowed for a dope curated arts scene. We’re just waiting for the world to catch on to it.”

KEEPING THE ARTS ALIVE

Since 1989, the Nevada Arts Council has recognized 220 Nevada-based artists in the visual, performative, and literary fields with Fellowship Awards. The Arts Council nurtures exceptional artists by offering financial support. The artists, in turn, play a crucial role in enhancing the economic, civic, cultural, and educational aspects of Nevada’s arts industry.

“Crawford is a shining example of the Fellowship program,” Tony Manfredi, executive director of the Nevada Arts Council, says. “He is the best in his field, and we’re proud to support him so that he can continue to contribute to the Nevada arts community.”

“This fellowship is a recognition of my work and talent,” Crawford says. “I hope that people can come to Las Vegas and experience the diverse music and arts scene here.”

MORE FINE FELLOWS

The rest of the 2024 Nevada Arts Council Performing Art Fellowship recipients include:

Carol Scott headshot.Carol Scott,
Children’s Theater Director, Wild Horse Productions
Carson City

Carol has founded three youth theater companies in the U.S. and Canada.

“I believe youth theater is not merely a platform for entertainment but a dynamic vehicle for personal and artistic growth.”

Yunior Lopez Fernandez headshot.Yunior Lopez Fernandez, Musician/Conductor/Entrepreneur
Las Vegas

At the age of 20, Fernandez was appointed Conductor of the Phil & Eli Taylor Academy Orchestra at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Canada.

“The support from the grant has been a catalyst for growth, enabling me to take significant strides in my musical journey.”

Stylized portrait of Troy Heard. Troy Heard, Theater Director
Las Vegas

Heard’s one-of-a-kind purview set the George Orwell classic “Animal Farm” in an Appalachian mud pit accompanied by an original folk-Americana score.

“The NAC Fellowship is validation. To have the acknowledgement of our peers gives us the encouragement to continue our work and to work better.”

Cari Cunningham headshot.Cari Cunningham,
Choreographer/Educator, University of Nevada, Reno

Cunningham’s choreography has been performed in New York City, Oregon, Colorado, California, Massachusetts, and Mexico.

“Nevada really offers a unique blend of trailblazing, tradition, and spectacle, and this is evidenced in the variety of the art scene here.”

Stylized portrait of Jennifer Bellor.Jennifer Bellor, Composer/Musician
Henderson

Her debut album “Stay”—a melting pot of different music styles largely based on poetry—was featured on “NewMusicBox” magazine’s 2016 Staff Picks.

“This grant has made it possible to move forward with my new recording project: an experimental art song concept album to be released summer 2024.”

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