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

  • January 2020

    Jessica presented a stunning solo as part of NACHMO Boston 2020. Monkeyhouse commissioned her to present a new work for Against the Odds thorugh our COVID Collaborations fund. As part of the project, Nicole Harris and I have been mentoring Jessica on a bi-weekly basis since June 2020. 

  • October 2019

    Collaborated with Adria Arch, Catherine Buell, and Susan Navarre (Fitchburg Historical Society) on a series of workshops and a community performance in conjunction with Reframing Eleanor exhibit.

  • May 2019

    Named first ever Artist in Residence at the historic Newton Cemtery. Funding provided by the Newton Cultural Council with funds from the Mass Cultural Council


  • 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: