Fertile Ground is continues work forward from the 2021 Festival’s efforts to address equity and access barriers to participation in the festival that exist for underrepresented artists via the GROW Awards. The GROW Panel adjudicates these awards, and continues the work in furthering our commitment to encouraging typically underrepresented artists to be a part of Fertile Ground and elevating that work. Funding for the 2022 awards comes from Fertile Ground’s operating budget and from The Think System Foundation.

Fertile Ground, with the GROW Panel adjudicating applications, selected five (5) GROW Award recipients to receive $500 to be used in production of their Fertile Ground project. New this year, the group will also designate FG22 projects as “selected” works if they meet the 2022 group’s intention to highlight underrepresented communities,* artistically interesting and culturally relevant “acts of creation,” and projects with an innovative concept for a recorded piece intended for a digital media platform. The aim of this endeavor is to inform festival goers of key projects that involve aligned artists and stories, and to encourage typically underrepresented artists to be a part of Fertile Ground and elevate that work.

Fertile Ground’s GROW Panel selected the five 2022 GROW Award-winning projects, from a submission pool of 12 applications. Fertile Ground created the GROW Awards for the 2021 festival to support organizational efforts to increase access, and decrease financial barriers to allow for a greater participation of new voices. These funds are intended to formalize and expand the festival’s initiatives to address equity and access barriers to participation that exist for underrepresented* artists.

“It is truly exciting to see how the Portland Area Theatre Alliance and Fertile Ground have come together to provide a platform for new and diverse work,” said Samson Syharath, GROW Panel Chairperson. “Having so many different voices in the room provides an abundance of knowledge and perspective. T he GROW Panel is incredibly valuable in working to advance projects that are inclusive, and elevate voices that are typically underrepresented. I I believe that this year’s GROW Award selections will help uplift projects that align with our mission to address equity and access barriers in the festival that exist for underrepresented artists.”

*BIPOC, LGBTQ2IA+, Disabled


Cosmogonos from producer Yatnra Productions
Yantra Productions presents
By Ajai Tripathi
Director: Ajai Tripathi
Videographer/Filmmaker: Ajai Tripathi
Cosmogonos is a multimedia presentation of creation myths told through shadow puppetry and stop-motion animation. Part I: The Cosmic Serpent presents the beginning of the universe through Mesoamerican folklore, Part II: The World Egg shows the world’s origins as told in Vedic mythology.

Heart of Stone from producer Fool House Art Collective
Dance Performance
Fool House Art Collective presents
Heart of Stone
By Alisher Khasanov & Karen Polinsky
Director & Choreographer: Alisher Khasanov
Video Production: Alexandr Beran
Theater Dance Performance. A 20-minute exploration of the central theme of breaking free from oppression, the first exploratory step in the development of a full-length show by Alisher Khasanov.

Knowledge of Good and Evil from producer Project C.O.C.O.A.
Short Film
Project C.O.C.O.A. presents
The Knowledge of Good and Evil
By Valerie Yvette Peterson
Director: Valerie Yvette Peterson
Three African American brothers are faced with difficult decisions that will challenge their shared upbringing, spirituality and moral compass.

PLEDGE The Musical from producer D&M Associates
Staged Reading
DM & Associates presents
PLEDGE The Musical
By Don Merrill
Director: Don Merrill
Composer: Melody Bell
PLEDGE The Musical is a three-act play that focuses on nine days in the life of a public radio station, run by a small, conservative Arkansas college. KKAR’s (KKAR.org) staff, led by station manager Ava Sanchez, navigates technical problems, political attacks and personnel issues, all while trying to successfully pull off the all-important, twice yearly pledge drive.

The Enemy of the People from producer Street Scenes
Street Scenes presents
The Enemy of the People 
By RaChelle Schmidt
Director: Michael Streeter
A modern-day reimaging of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play An Enemy of the People.  Dr. Katherine Garcia dares to expose an inconvenient truth and faces a swift backlash and unfortunate consequences.

Submissions for the GROW Award were open September 13 through October 15, 2021. Interested producers submitted project concepts and detailed plans addressing how they intend to create work designed for a digital platform. Projects were adjudicated by the GROW PANEL, a diverse community panel of artists and arts administrators. Evaluation criteria were based on the artistic merits of the outlined “act of creation” project concept, the proposal’s attention and planning for how the content will be recorded and presented for online production and viewing audience interest, and how the overall work addresses Fertile Ground’s aim to increase access and prioritize the work of underrepresented artists. GROW Panelists associated with any Fertile Ground projects were recused from voting on those projects.