Photo Credit: Victor G. Jeffreys II

Born in Queens, NY in the U.S, C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek (they/them/theirs) is a theater maker and urban planner.

Meranda is a 2023-24 Forefront Fellow with the Urban Design Forum. They work as a Co-Investigator with the University of Florida’s Center for Arts in Medicine to understand the relationship between the arts and social isolation. They collaborate with the award-winning theater Ping Chong + Company to make living history projects, and support organizers to tell untold stories with Monuments Across Appalachian Virginia

Meranda is influenced by their experience in the EmergeNYC Fellowship, their work with Arts for Art / the Vision Festival, Nancy Agabian’s Creative Writing from Queer Resistance Workshop, and other spaces for ceremony and solidarity which help us unearth new truths about our shared world. Radical learning environments that remind us how to hold freedom, joy, and beloved community are more important than any academic institutional project.  

Their dual-degree master’s in Urban & Regional Planning and Theatre’s Directing & Public Dialogue focus on the centrality of the arts to navigating complex social issues. Meranda is a Coach with the Center for Communicating Science, with a previous appointment as an Adjunct Instructor.

Past projects include the development of creative programs that address moral injury and burnout with 1,000 healthcare workers at 20 hospital across the U.S. as a Lead Facilitator with The Clinic Performance, and Artist-in-Residence at Carilion Clinic.

Meranda’s Ashkenazi Jewish embodiment, white body, and working class upbringing impact their aesthetic process and approach to organizing. 

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C. is a recent NEW AESTHETICS Fellow with Theatre Replacement and Visiting Fellow at Skidmore College's MDOCS Storytellers' Institute. They were a SU-CASA Artist-in-Residence with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Social Practice Artist-in-Residence with ProjectArt, Fellow at The Performance Project at University Settlement, EmergeNYC Fellow and Fellow with The Art & Law Program. C. is a graduate of the Training Institute for Artists and Administrators in Healthcare and Creative Aging hosted by The Creative Center at University Settlement. They have trained with the Anti Oppression Resource & Training Alliance (AORTA), Center for Artistic Activism’s Art Action Academy, the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, Lifetime Arts, New York University's Art & Public Politics Department, and TimeSlips Creative Storytelling.

As a civic practice artist, C.’s work takes place in public space, hospitals, and community spaces. C.’s work has been presented with numerous cultural institutions, including: Abrons Arts Center (NY), Dixon Place (NY), Goggleworks (PA), Leslie-Lohman Museum (NY), Mitchell Art Gallery (EDM, AB, Canada), The Performance Project (NY), Play Perform Learn Grow (Thessaloniki, Greece), and Theaterlab (NY). Current projects are supported by Actors Theatre of Louisville and Kentucky Nurses Association; the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech; the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology, and the Oncology Nursing Foundation.