Phillip Lewis, UC Foundation Assistant Professor of Art, has been awarded a Creative Capital Project Grant in Visual Arts. This prestigious national award will support his new project entitled SYNONYM. SYNONYM is a multi-disciplined project, which includes photographs, video, performance, installation, and the dissemination of information about experiences from inside the war on drugs and extremist treatment facilities.

“SYNONYM explores an experimental treatment program for drug rehabilitation from the 1980s and 1990s that no longer exists. This government program used extreme methods of sensory depravation and systems of control, while employing cultic methodologies.  It was one of only a few in North America, all of which have been shut down and remain mostly unknown today.  I plan to recreate the experience from inside the program through installation, photography, sculpture and video,” Lewis said.

“In addition, I am working in pre-production on both a book and documentary film about extreme long term drug treatment programs and their impact on individuals, families and society,” he continued.

Creative Capital project grants are awarded to a select number of artists in the area of Film/Video and Visual Arts.  Creative Capital is a national nonprofit organization that provides integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing adventurous projects in five disciplines: Emerging Fields, Film/Video, Literature, Performing Arts and Visual Arts.

Acting as a catalyst for the development of exceptional and imaginative ideas, Creative Capital supports artists whose work is provocative, timely and relevant; who are deeply engaged with their art forms and demonstrate a rigorous commitment to their craft, yet are also boldly original and push the boundaries of their genre; who create artistically omnivorous work that carries the potential to reshape the cultural landscape.

“The application process took close to a year and required multiple additions and updates to the writing as it progressed to the final panel stage. I was really excited as I made it through each round, because it meant that a group of important professionals within the field were looking and responding to my work and my ideas. This is an extremely competitive grant process and I am so honored to be awarded this support,” Lewis said.

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