Megan Lowe and Johnny Huy Nguyen

The David Ireland House is proud to announce Megan Lowe and Johnny Huy Nguyen as the recipients of the 2022 Artist Residency Program focused on the performing arts. The duo’s residency begins this month and will culminate in June with site-specific performances at The David Ireland House and collaborative partner Minnesota Street Project. Expanding the potential of their new collaboration, the duo will explore the intersection of dance, sculpture, and performance as they investigate the meaning of home. 

After receiving more than 60 applications for its 2022 Artist Residency Program focused on the performing arts, The David Ireland House at 500 Capp Street is pleased to announce the selection of Bay Area dancers Megan Lowe and Johnny Huy Nguyen. ​​The duo’s 10-week residency begins this month and will culminate in June with site-specific performances at 500 Capp Street and collaborative partner Minnesota Street Project. Expanding the potential of their new collaboration, the duo will explore the intersection of dance, sculpture, and performance as they investigate the meaning of home.

Jurors for the selection process included Aay Preston-Myint, Program Manager at Headlands Center for the Arts; Julie E. Phelps, Artistic & Executive Director of CounterPulse; and María Elena González, Sculpture and Ceramic Department Chair at the San Francisco Art Institute. 

The decision to focus the 2022 Artist Residency Program on the performing arts was inspired by a January 2021 report from the NEA that stated, “…although the COVID-19 has impacted the entire arts sector, nowhere has the effect been more direct, deep, and immediate than on the performing arts.” 

“In light of the pandemic’s ongoing impact on this sector of the arts community, we felt it was essential to invite performance artists and collectives in the Bay Area to apply for the 2022 Artist Residency Program, and it was clear in the applications we received that so many Bay Area performers had faced enormous challenges over the last two years,” says Lian Ladia, Curator, Exhibitions and Programs, The David Ireland House. “David Ireland himself collaborated with dance groups including Douglas Dunn + Dancers, and the House’s archive includes costumes, props, and drawings of these collaborations. There is a rich history of performance here, and we are thrilled to add a new chapter to that history while providing needed support to two exceptional Bay Area artists.”

The residency marks a developing collaboration for Lowe and Nguyen. The two artists share a deep interest in immersive, sculptural, site-specific work and were inspired by The David Ireland House’s residency open call to investigate and heal the concept of home together. 

“In our lived experiences, both of us have had complicated relationships with home, growing up in unstable family structures shaped by trauma; Megan as a biracial Chinese American and Johnny as a child of Vietnamese refugees,” they write. “The physical features of a house—a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and the objects contained within—they each serve practical functions, but additionally hold emotional weight for the bodies interacting with them. This acknowledgement of what is stored in our bodies and the desire for transformation is the driving force behind this work, as we both see movement as an expression of possibility. In interacting with the physicality of The David Ireland House through contact partnering, we hope to unlock new possibilities within the architecture to inspire embodied reflections on home and how we can define it for ourselves.”

The residency provides the artists 20 hours of studio time per week inside the House, access to the David Ireland archive and study center, an honorarium, and production funding. 

Details about performances and associated programming at The David Ireland House and Minnesota Street Project will be posted as they develop at 500cappstreet.org.

About the Artists

Megan Lowe is a fierce female dancer, choreographer, performer, singer-songwriter, filmmaker, teacher, and administrator of Chinese and Irish descent, creating dance art in the SF Bay Area. With an affinity for dynamic places and partners, her creations through Megan Lowe Dances tackle unusual physical situations and invent compelling solutions, opening up the imagination to what is possible. Megan has performed with Flyaway Productions, Lenora Lee Dance, Dance Brigade, Scott Wells & Dancers, Lizz Roman & Dancers, Epiphany Productions, and more. She teaches for Joe Goode Performance Group, Bandaloop, Flyaway, for contact improvisation gatherings, and for her alma mater Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies at UC Berkeley, where she currently works as the Office Manager. Megan’s artistic process thrives off of collaboration, prioritizing creating relationships of respect, generosity, and gratitude. This culture of magnanimity is infused in the dance classes Megan teaches all over the Bay Area, for organizations, schools, universities, and dance festivals, serving movers of all different ages, experience levels, body types, races, cultures, and socio-economic status—building community, connection, and understanding.  

Johnny Huy Nguyen is a first generation Vietnamese American multidisciplinary somatic artist based in San Francisco. Fluent in multiple movement modalities including myriad street dance styles, contemporary, modern and martial arts, Nguyen weaves together dance, theater, spoken word, ritual, installation, and performance art to create immersive, time-based works unraveling the complex intersections of identity through the personal and the political. In addition to his work as an individual artist, he has appeared in the works of Lenora Lee Dance Company, KULARTS, Embodiment Project, the Global Street Dance Masquerade, and James Graham Dance Theater. He has performed in the Bay Area, Oregon, Boston, and New York City and his work has been presented by the Asian Art Museum, the Chinese Historical Society of America, and SOMArts. His most recent full-length work, Minority Without A Model, premiered in 2021 as part of the 24th United States of Asian America Festival.