Kaneza Schaal is a New York City based artist and performer.


My artistic practice is propelled by collaboration-based process and experimentation. To develop original work I begin by gathering a group of individuals, different kinds of artists, and identifying a central point of inquiry or question. I invite the medium for investigation to be shaped by the needs and resources of the individuals and the material. Most frequently I make performance-based pieces. The work uses text as a jumping-off point to create visual, physical, sonic, narrative and abstract expression. My work is grounded in traditions of radical borrowing. I believe that by creating performances that speak many different formal, cultural, aesthetic, and historical languages, they can speak to many different people.


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Kaneza Schaal is a New York City based artist. She came up in the downtown experimental theater community, first working with The Wooster Group, then with other companies and artists including Elevator Repair Service, Richard Maxwell/New York City Players, Dean Moss, Claude Wampler, Jay Scheib, Jim Findlay, New York City Opera, and National Public Radio. This work brought her to over 18 countries and venues including Centre Pompidou, Royal Lyceum Theater Edinburgh, REDCAT, The Whitney Museum, BAM, The Kitchen, St. Ann’s Warehouse, and MoMA. 

Schaal received a 2016 Creative Capital Award to develop her next work JACK&JILL, a multimedia comedy of errors that draws on social codes and trainings: from prison re-entry programs to debutante balls. Her previous piece, GO FORTH, was commissioned by Performance Space 122 with support from the Jerome Foundation 50th Anniversary Grant; it was presented at PS122’s COIL Festival, the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Kigali, Rwanda, LMCC’s River-to-River Festival, and her alma mater Wesleyan University, CT. Schaal was an Artist-in-Residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and received a 2014 Princess Grace Award grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space residency, Bogliasco Fellowship, Nathan Cummings Foundation grant, Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant, and Princess Grace George C. Wolfe Award. She was a member of Kara Walker’s 6-8 Months Space and her video work appeared in Visionaire.


Schaal is an Arts-in-Education advocate and just returned from a new project with the International Children’s Book Library in Munich, Germany working with young Syrian and Eritrean refugees to address migration and storytelling. Her education work has spanned from universities to community centers to public high schools, from workshops for professional artists, to professional development training for teachers, to intergenerational collaborations between elders and teens, to in-schools work with immigrant communities. She has worked as a teaching artist for The Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service, New York Theatre Workshop, Elders Share The Arts, Symphony Space, Harlem School for the Arts, The Kitchen, and was invited to develop curriculum for a new in-school arts program created by The Arthur Miller Foundation and Institute of Play. Schaal taught an Atelier course at Princeton University with Elevator Repair Service and workshops at Emerson College. Schaal has been invited to speak at New York University, Yale University, the River-to-River Festival and her alma mater Wesleyan University, CT.