The Pittsburgh Foundation

A Stage for Sidelined Stories

Sol Crespo named an Eben Demarest Fund awardee

PITTSBURGH, May 5, 2016 – Sol Crespo, a New York-based actor, writer, director and producer, has been named this year’s Eben Demarest Fund grantee by The Pittsburgh Foundation. The Demarest Fund, which is administered by the Foundation, supports the work of independent creative artists and archeologists across the United States. Crespo will use her $20,000 award to create original work and to pursue her goal of collaborating with those who have traditionally lacked a platform for artistic expression, including women and performers of color.

“My job as an actor is to help provide a response to the questions and needs of my community, my cities, my home and our world,” said Crespo, a native of Puerto Rico. “The Demarest Fund’s generous support will give me the freedom to devote more of my energy toward creating my own work and developing the work of others, particularly that of female playwrights,” Crespo said. She hopes to facilitate readings, workshops and performances for women and artists of color, who are often underrepresented in the world of theater.

Each year, the Demarest Fund’s Board invites nominations from a rotating pool of colleges, universities and nonprofit arts and culture organizations around the country. Nominees must demonstrate significant contributions to their chosen fields. Crespo, an ensemble member of the award-winning Pregones Theater/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, has garnered positive reviews from The New York Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Artswire Weekly. NYTheatre.com, a performing arts website named her Person of the Year in 2012.

Crespo has written, acted in, directed and produced several works, both independently and as a creative partner with the New York-based Flux Theatre Ensemble. For her work as an educator, she received a Ford Foundation Fellowship for Career Advancement in 2007. Most recently, she appeared in the Pittsburgh premiere of “Brewed” by Scott T. Barsotti and in “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Huedes.

Citing her “great range and capacity,” Rosalba Rolón, artistic director at Pregones Theater, nominated Crespo for this year’s Demarest Fund award. “Crespo excels in her readiness, depth of thought and in her approach to each character,” Rolón wrote in a statement. “She is a quick study [and] never takes emotional shortcuts onstage. Her ability to capture big ideas in practical, movable pieces for the stage is exemplary.”

Germaine Williams, the Foundation’s senior program officer for Arts and Culture, manages the Demarest Fund. “Her passion and sense of community came through very clearly and made a great impression on the Demarest Fund’s Board,” Williams said.

Starting this week, Crespo will appear in the world premiere of Alvan Colón-Lespier’s “The Desire of the Astronaut,” which runs through May 22 at New York’s Pregones Theater. She will then return to Pittsburgh to join Quantum Theater’s production of “Peribáñez y el Comendador de Ocaña,” a tragicomedy by Lope de Vega written in the early 1600s. Directed by Tlaloc Rivas, the show will premiere in August.

About The Eben Demarest Fund

In 1939, Elizabeth B. Demarest established The Eben Demarest Trust Fund in memory of her father, with whom she shared an interest in the arts and world cultures. Demarest, who taught a course on the history of civilization at the institution that became Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, envisioned the Demarest Fund as a means of providing financial freedom for individuals to devote themselves to work in the arts and archeology. Since its establishment, the Demarest Fund has supported individuals from diverse artistic disciplines and the field of archaeology. Past grantees include painter Jackson Pollock (1948), poet Robert Duncan (1975), sculptor Carol Rubenstein (1979), painter Brendan O’Connell (2003), singer/poet Latasha Nevada Diggs (2008), dancer/choreographer Kyle Abraham (2012), poet Tameka Cage Conley (2013), and textile artist Terrance Boyd (2014).

About The Pittsburgh Foundation

Established in 1945, The Pittsburgh Foundation is one of the nation’s oldest community foundations and is the 13th largest of more than 750 community foundations across the United States. As a community foundation, its resources comprise endowment funds established by individuals, businesses and organizations with a passion for charitable giving and a deep commitment to the Pittsburgh community. The Foundation currently has more than 2,000 individual donor funds and, together with its supporting organizations, assets of more than $1.14 billion. Grantmaking benefits a broad spectrum of community life within Pittsburgh and beyond. Learn more at www.pittsburghfoundation.org.

Sol Crespo Official Biography

Originally from Puerto Rico, Sol Crespo is a New York-based artist moving seamlessly between acting, writing, directing and producing. She is an ensemble member of award-winning Pregones Theater/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (pregonesprtt.org), where she also works as an educator developing forum theater plays, including “Texting 4 Life,” one of the most highly sought-after plays for teen dating violence prevention. As a result, she was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship for Career Advancement in 2007. As a Creative Partner at Flux Theatre Ensemble (fluxtheatre.org), she has acted, produced and developed new work as well as supplemental programs such as “#StandUp: The Street Harassment Plays.” She was named Person of the Year in 2012 by NYTheatre.com. As an actor, Sol was selected to develop a new play by John Leguizamo and Steven Chbosky. She was also most recently seen in the Pittsburgh premiere of “Brewed” by Scott T. Barsotti and “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes at PittStages, University of Pittsburgh. In 2005, she won an HOLA award for Outstanding Performance of a Featured Actress for her role of Griseldi in Candido Tirado’s “Missteps of a Salsa Dancer.” Her work as a director includes staged readings for “NoPassport: 30 for 30,” a workshop of Migdalia Cruz’s “Two Roberts” and monologues for Flux. She is a graduate of New York University with a BFA in Drama (Tisch School of the Arts) and a BA in Latin American Studies (College of Arts and Sciences).