Profile Type: Artist
NEFA Grant Recipient
karen Krolak

karen Krolak is a free range collaborator based in Boston, MA who lives with a rare, chronic health condition. Since 2000, she has been the co-founder/Artistic Director of Monkeyhouse, an award winning nonprofit that connects communities with choreography. Her embodied explorations weave in elements of text, textiles, choreography or story telling to spark dialogues that reverberate between communities. Her idiosyncratic pieces have been presented abroad in Rome, Winnipeg, and Gimpo, nationally in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis as well as regularly throughout New England. She earned her B.A. in Linguistics at Northwestern University and her MFA inInterdisciplinary Arts at Sierra Nevada College. Much of her recent work has centered around the theme of finding physical poetry in imperfect bodies and around mourning as she grapples with the car crash that killed her mother, father, and brother. Her ongoing project the Dictionary of Negative Space has been awarded an I-ARE Residency at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA and a residency at the Newton Cemetery in Newton MA with funding from the Newton Cultural Council. It has been featured in exhibitions in Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, and Korea; conferences in Korea, England and the US; as well as in dance collaborations with Monkeyhouse and Scott McPheeters. She frequently collaborates with Nicole Harris, Jason Ries, Jeremy Wechsler, Kwaq7aj', Ralph Farris, Eric John Meyer, Anne Howarth, and Barry Duncan.

Find Me On …

Additional Links: 
Audio illustration of entry number [24] from the Dictionary of Negative Space. Performed and recorded at the Podcast Garage.

I Have Worked With

  • November 2018 to October 2020

    2020 - Mentor for the aMaSSiT program when it went virtual due to COVID 19, part of Monkeyhouse's COVID Collaborations

    2018 - 2019 I-ARE residency to create An Animated Version of the Dictionary of Negative Space. Developed 2 public workshops and a 40 minute section to present as a work in progress showing.

  • August 2020

    My work has been regularly presented by CICA Museum since spring 2016 when they presented one of my instruction based art/knitting pattern/personal essays. In 2019 and 2020, I was invited to present at their New Media Arts Conference. For the 2019 conference, I presented     [24] choreographed in collaboration with Nicole Harris at the opening of the New Media Arts Conference.

  • May 2020

    Mentor for 24 Hour Choreofest 2020, 2019, 2016 and 2015


  • NEFA Grantee
  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Choreographer, teacher, costume designer, writer
Mailing Address: 
PO Box 221
Somerville, MA 02143
Physical Address: 
Malden, MA 02148
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - Modern / Contemporary
Humanities - Linguistics
Literary Arts - Non-Fiction
Literary Arts - Spoken Word
Media - Audio / Sound
Media - Cyberart
Media - Video
Theater - General
Theater - Devised / Artist-Led
Visual/Crafts - Experimental
Visual/Crafts - Fiber
Visual/Crafts - Installation
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
People with Disabilities
Institution/Business Type: 
Artist (Individual)
Activities and Services: 
Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Consulting - Curatorial Services
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Performance / Concert / Reading
Public Art Projects (In Free, Public Spaces)
Residency - In School
Theater Technical Production
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Multi-State Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
Co-founder/co-Artistic Director - Monkeyhouse, MA
Artist Advisory Board Member - Boston Dance Alliance, MA
Circle of Advisors - Dance Complex, MA
Fellow - Institute for Conceptual Studies, OR
Mentor - NACHMO Boston, MA
Minister of Pom Poms & Big Ideas - Clary & Cimermanis Little Free Library, MA
Mentor - Luminarium's 24 Hour Choreofest, MA
Artist in Residence - Lark Theater, NY
Faculty - Cambridge Center for Adult Education
B.A. Linguistics Northwestern University
M.F.A. Interdisciplinary Arts Sierra Nevada College
2021 Production Residency, Dutch Kills Theater, New York, NY
2020 Medford LCC Grant, Medford, MA
2020 Public Art Learning Grant, New England Foundation for the Arts
2019 Research Fellowship, Institute for Conceptual Studies
2019 Feels Blind Literary Magazine DIY Prize
2015 Starland Scholarship, Sierra Nevada College, Incline Village, NV
2019 Newton LCC Grant
2019 Malden LCC Grant
2015 Travel and Residency, Scholarship, Sierra Nevada College, Incline Village, NV
2020 Malden LCC Grant, Malden, MA
2015 Hiraeth 2.0, One of the Best Dance Pieces of 2015, Arts Fuse, Cambridge MA
I am a NEFA Grant Recipient

I am a Touring Artist

I am NEST eligible
Technical Requirements: 
Prefer a wood floor but can be flexible. Other tech requirements depend on performance.
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: 
State of Residence: 
Minimum Number of Performers: 
Maximum Number of Performers: 

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Afterschool Program
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
Community Site / Center
Healthcare Facility
Private Studio
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Arts Integration - Communications
Arts Integration - English Language / Literacy
Ages Served: 
Middle School-age
High School-age
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: