A Los Angeles musician, scholar and artist-activist was among 25 MacArthur Fellows announced Wednesday.

Martha Gonzalez, an associate professor in the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o Latina/o Studies at the Claremont Colleges, and director of the Scripps Humanities Institute, is involved in several collaborative music and dance-based projects.

Among them, she is lead singer, songwriter and percussionist in the socially conscious East Los Angeles music collective Quetzal, along with her partner Quetzal Flores.

“The 2022 MacArthur Fellows are architects of new modes of activism, artistic practice, and citizen science,” Marlies Carruth, director of the Fellows program at the MacArthur Foundation, said in a statement. “They are excavators uncovering what has been overlooked, undervalued, or poorly understood.”

The recipients each receive an $800,000, no-strings-attached award, which is intended as an investment in their creativity and potential rather than a lifetime achievement prize.

The foundation, which has awarded 1,111 fellowships since 1981, uses three criteria for selection: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances and potential for the fellowship to support creative work.

“Music and the power it invokes is at the heart of my practice as a Chicana musician, scholar and activist,” Gonzalez said. “Creative processes such as fandango … and collective songwriting are empowering methodologies that have helped me and members of my communities summit into new forms of analysis and thus action. I believe that participatory creative practices as tools of dialogue are generative and an important part of the lexicon of social justice movements.”

According to the MacArthur Foundation, the fellowship program is intended to encourage “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”

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