Idaho – Five Idaho artists have been awarded Fellowships in Performing and Media Arts: Jonathan Armstrong (music), David Alan Earnest (music), Becky Kimsey (theater), Kyle Morck (digital media and video) and Denise Simone (theater). Fellowship winners will each receive $5,000. The awards, given every three years by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, recognize outstanding artists, honoring work deemed to exhibit the highest artistic merit during peer review. Applicants were reviewed anonymously in a highly competitive process by panelists from out of state and were judged on the basis of existing work and professional history. The panel also awarded Honorable Mentions in the amount of $1,000 to folk rock musician Niccole Blaze, folklorico dancer Monique Michel-Duarte, and tanbur and daf player (traditional middle eastern instruments) Jan Porvas.

Jonathan Armstrong is the director of Jazz Studies at Idaho State University. He co-founded the modern jazz quartet Slumgum and the electronic psychedelic group Pitch Like Masses and has toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. He has performed with bands led by Bennie Maupin, Mike Barone, Vincent Gallo, Vinny Golia, and Dan Rosenboom and composed music for film, theater, and dance.

David Alan Earnest has been composing music for over 30 years. He has written for the Boise Philharmonic, Langroise Trio, Caritas Chorale, Idaho Dance Theatre, and others. His works have been performed in Germany, Austria, Italy, and, of course, Idaho. Earnest received a prior Fellowship in 2010.

Becky Kimsey has written eight plays, primarily produced at Stagecoach Theater and Boise Little Theater. Her work has been selected for the New York, New Work theater festival three times.

Kyle Morck is the Co-Director of LED, where he collaborates on fusions of dance, film, and music. Mr. Morck specializes in video projection design and related media. He was a filmmaker for the Trey McIntyre Project and is a founding board member of Homegrown Theatre.

Denise Simone is a founding member of Company of Fools and served as Co-Producing Artistic Director for twenty years. She has acted with Boise Contemporary Theater, Theatre Virginia, Barksdale Theatre, the National Shakespeare Theatre, and many Company of Fools productions. She also writes, teaches, and directs. Ms. Simone received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2014.


The Idaho Commission on the Arts is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts in Idaho. The Commission promotes excellence, education in the arts, access to the arts, and community investment in the arts. Its professional staff administers and develops the programs and services of the agency, assists grant applicants, and provides technical assistance.


PO Box 83720, Boise, Idaho 83720 // (208) 334-2119 //