Kelly Tsai is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and performer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently working at the intersection of music, dance, photography, film, and VR/AR.
In 2023, her episodic television pilot was selected for development by the Athena Film Festival Writers’ Lab.
In 2022, Kelly was commissioned by VICE and Fotografiska to write and perform a series of original poems inspired by the “Andy Warhol: Photo Factory” exhibit. As a dancer, she performed as a vogue femme performer at the Socrates Sculpture Park and the Princess Grace Awards Gala and was selected for the GLUE x Trisk workshop as a contemporary dancer.
In 2021, Kelly’s dance works / films were presented by Abrons Arts Center, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and developed at Movement Research Center. Kelly also composed, performed, and produced the music / sonic narratives for these works. Her SKyGiRLS photo series (where she embodies intriguing women of the Chinese diaspora) was exhibited at Camera of the Month Club’s 2021 “The Personal is Political” group show. She was also selected for 5th Wall Forum’s 2021 Immersive Storytelling Connectors program and NYU’s 2021 ITP Camp for interactive creative technology. Her spoken word poetry was featured at the 20th Anniversary season of Lincoln Center’s La Casita.
In 2020, she was accepted into Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective to develop her first narrative feature screenplay, which was previously advanced to second round consideration for the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab.
In 2019, she was chosen for the Adidas Nitejogger #Beatmakers Lab for music production and released four instrumental tracks. Her award-winning animated film collaboration with Ryan Hartley Smith, “To Find Your Place in the World,” was projected on the Manhattan Bridge for the 2019 Light Year art exhibit. Her memoir-in-progress, The Invisible Word, won the 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship – Nonfiction Literature and was nominated for 2019 New York Community Trust Ellen Levine Prize.
Her work as a spoken word poet has been featured at over 700 venues worldwide including the White House, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Fotografiska x VICE, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), LACMA, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Whitechapel Gallery London, El Museo del Barrio, Apollo Theater, multiple shows on HBO, and galas for Gloria Steinem & Tyra Banks. She’s been commissioned as a spoken word poet for commercial campaigns for Sony, Intel, and Laphroaig. Her work has been profiled by Forbes, NPR, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, NBC News, NY1, C-SPAN, and HBO.
Her work as an interdisciplinary theater artist has been developed and presented nationally and internationally via New York Live Arts, Brooklyn Museum, HERE, Ars Nova, Culture Project, Taipei Poetry Festival and more. Her short films have been screened at film fests in the US and abroad and won awards at Media That Matters & UrbanWorld VIBE. In 2018, Kelly was featured as an actress on HBO’s Peabody Award-winning series, “Random Acts of Flyness.” She is a member of ASCAP and SAG/AFTRA.
Presenters & Venues (Selected Listing)
American Association of University Women’s Woman of Distinction Award
Americorps Alums National Leader Award
Media that Matters Film Festival War & Peace Award
Outstanding Asian American Alumni of the Year, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Artist Fellowships & Selective Workshops
5th Wall Forum Connectors (VR/AR)
Athena Film Festival Writers’ Lab (Screenwriting)
Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective (Film)
Cave Canem (Poetry)
GLUE x Trisk (Dance)
New York Foundation for the Arts (Non-Fiction Literature / Memoir)
NYU ITP Camp (VR/AR/New Media)
Rising Circle PlayRISE (Playwriting)