Three Idaho artists have been awarded Fellowships in Performing and Media Arts: Karen Day (filmmaking), Lauren Edson (dance), and Cuream Jackson (aerial straps). Fellowship winners will each receive $5,000. The awards, given every two 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.


“My purpose as a filmmaker is to create compelling and artistic visual platforms that speak for those who have less opportunity to tell their stories in a public forum. The focus of my films is to enlighten audiences to injustice and document people of unlikely accomplishment that inspire positive social change and promote human equality.”

A recipient of the Governor’s Award in the Arts for her film making, Karen Day has completed 12 documentaries, two that aired on PBS and NBC respectively, Girl from God’s Country and Destination Idaho. She is co-writer of the book Seal: the Unspoken Sacrifice, about the Navy’s elite Special Operations Forces. As a photographer, filmmaker, and writer, Karen has reported on Afghanistan, Cuba, Iraq, Myanmar, Rwanda and South Sudan for numerous national publications including Newsweek, “O”, Elle, Motherjones.Com, Body and Soul, and The Los Angeles Times. She is co-producer and host of the award-winning television series Women with a Cause and the documentary film Ethics and The World Crisis: Conversations with The Dalai Lama. In 2011, Karen partnered with Marie Claire magazine and founded Afghan Women’s Justice Project,, which raises awareness and funds to provide literacy teachers and defense attorneys for Afghan women and children imprisoned for moral crimes. She is also a featured writer and publisher of IdaHome Magazine.


“Within the first two years of life, we learn how to sit up, crawl and walk. No one teaches us how to do these things, we just know. Before we can articulate with words, our bodies communicate our needs and emotions. I believe that movement is our most archetypal language; it reveals what it means to be human, empathetically connects us to one another, and within it exists all the beauty and tragedy of being alive.”

Lauren Edson is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Boise-based performing arts company LED. As a dancer, choreographer, educator, and filmmaker, her work has been featured in venues all over the country including The Kennedy Center, Winspear Opera House, San Francisco Dance Film Festival, Jacob’s Pillow and The McCallum Theater. Her company was recently named by Dance Magazine as “25 to Watch” for 2020 and she is described as “choreographer of the first rank,” by the Seattle Times. She is the recipient of the Washington Award for Excellence in Choreography and is now a two-time recipient of the Commission’s Performing Arts Fellowship.


“The performing arts provide the means to share parts of my story I could not otherwise. They allow me to tap into emotions and concepts that are hard to express in words. They break down walls and make communication possible and showcase our uniqueness and vulnerability. I do my best to create and produce art that speaks to people on varying levels. I perform to change the black narrative and to inspire other artists of color. I teach to share the joy, strength, and wholesomeness that comes from art. I strive to alter how the audience connects with artists. I am committed to incorporating as many disciplines as I can to produce works that are for everyone. In this artistic pursuit, I strive to change the mainstream black narrative of mere strife and struggle; to show that there is joy, happiness, diversity, and vulnerability in melanin. I am a queer, black artist of color with a story to share.”

Cuream Jackson is an aerial straps artist based in Boise. He has performed with Duo Contrast, the Boise Circus Guild, Red Light Variety Show, the Bellingham Circus Guild, and others. Cuream collaborates with film makers and performers to present the circus arts in new and unique contexts, often with a narrative focus on questions of identity. As a former collegiate cheerleader, he enjoys the physical and creative demands that the aerial and performing arts bring to life. With each artistic pursuit, Cuream strives to tell a different narrative of the black body through strength and grace, on the ground and in the air.