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News & Events
Notices for partners, news for artists, announcements from the field, job postings.
The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) honored the top performing arts leaders of 2015 at its annual Awards Ceremony and Luncheon on January 18, 2016. Actor Ben Vereen addressed the honorees and attendees at the event that is part of APAP|NYC 2016, the association’s annual conference and gathering of performing arts professionals. One of the most popular events each year at APAP|NYC, winners are nominated by their peers for having had a significant impact on the industry and on communities worldwide. “This year’s awardees have forged paths of progress for performing arts through vision, passion and hard work. From inspiring great performance to supporting artists and advocating for arts, these beloved leaders continue to make an impact and we are proud to shine a spotlight on each of them and their achievements,” said Mario Garcia Durham, president and CEO of APAP.
The Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award, APAP’s highest honor, is presented annually to an individual whose outstanding service, creative thinking and leadership have had a significant impact on the profession of presenting and/or on the Association of Arts Presenters. This award honors Fan Taylor, Arts Presenters’ first executive director, for her many contributions to the field of presenting.
Last year’s winner, Alberta Arthurs, introduced the 2016 honoree, whose identity remains a secret until the awards luncheon, as a colleague who “has been in the field for more than 30 years, though not in a usual way. Known to us all, touching us all, this colleague commands no specific stage or schedule, but sweeps amongst us, stimulating ideas, stirring things up, casting the critical thoughts and ideas that help make the field significant.” Arthurs went on to describe the honoree as “fierce in convictions, ‘like a tiger,’ said one informant, ‘like a terrier,’ said another, our colleague is outspoken in the fights for racial and cultural equity, for the roles of community and creativity in lifting lives and lifting values.”
Going on to describe the honoree’s leadership, “The organization led by this singular person provides ‘a web of relationships’ and ‘a bubbling culture of cultures,’ as one seasoned observer describes it. The organization supports artists’ work and access to it, defends artistic expression and experimentation, and asserts that ‘change must come from within the arts.’ That’s a quote from our singular person. An expert evaluator has written, ‘Over its 25-year history, this organization has supported the creation and touring of socially grounded performance, played a catalytic role in developing careers of hundreds of diverse artists, and fostered deeper engagement between artists and communities.’ A second evaluator wrote that its leader is exemplary, ‘a national asset.’”
Arthurs continued, “As often as this colleague is described as fierce, this colleague is also described as quiet, even shy; a good listener, a good learner, absorbing what other people say and observing what they do; outspoken and plain spoken, but also soft-spoken; fierce, but not noisy; a renowned fighter for the good and a well-known party giver; a deep commitment to national and international action and deep, deep dedication to home and dogs; a profound appreciation of makers: makers of art, of ideas, makers of change and makers of good meals and very good martinis.” And then before presenting her, Arthurs said, “Thank you for saluting NPN’s warm and wonderful, deeply ethical, engagingly honest, always inspiring, absolutely unique, MK Wegmann.”
An astonished MK addressed those gathered, “I am so surprised and honored and appreciative. As many of you know, I am stepping down, retiring from this position, looking forward to the opportunity, as I’ve said, to many, to become a colleague again. There are so many people to thank. I want to especially acknowledge Lisa Mount, my partner in life, but Mario Garcia-Durham, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, so many colleagues in the field, David White, who was the founder of the National Performance Network, my colleagues at NPN, Steve Bailey, Stanlyn Brevé…. I could go on and on and I don’t want to take any more time. Thank you so much for this honor. It means a great deal to me and I am totally surprised.”
Arts Presenters has posted on YouTube a video of the awards ceremony. Here’s a link to “clip 3” and the presentation of the award to MK begins at 22:25.
Unintended Connections presented the work of thirteen artists in an exhibition that spanned two venues and many modes of presentation. Yvonne Buchanan (VAN Exhibition Residency, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT, 2015) and Gregory Michael Hernandez (VAN Exhibition Residency at MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San José, CA, 2012) presented new work reflective of their interests in excavating, exposing and altering complicated community histories through installation. Their work investigates the politicized body, place and presence. While both artists were trained as painters they push at the limitations of materials and genres by expanding into the more ephemeral practices of video and installation. Takahiro Yamamoto (Portland) presented a series of photographs as a way to ask the questions, “Who is being seen?” or “What is the tipping point between individual and community?” Similarly, the Portland-based artists in the exhibition, Michael Reinsch, Sharita Towne, Ashby Lee Collinson and FLOCK members Tahni Holt, Allie Hankins, Eliza Larson, Lucy Yim, Tracy Broyles and Danielle Ross, work in-between performance, social practice, comedy, photography, dance, video, installation, collaborative and individualistic practices. For Unintended Connections these artists presented a series of performative actions at the exhibition’s opening. These artists choose to present ideas as material, moving bodies as visual art, experience as social sculpture.
The work presented in Unintended Connections was created independently by the participating artists and illustrates the vibrant state of contemporary art. The work was diverse and varied and never specifically intended to be presented together. But, serendipity brought this work together and connections were inevitably drawn between the work by the viewer and the artists, creating a community of ideas that could never exist in isolation.
This varied and shape-shifting exhibition was emulative of the Visual Artists Network (VAN)’s own form and mission, one that is responsive not only to artists needs but to the evolving conversation around the intersections of Visual and Performing Art and our dedication to connecting artists to diverse communities in meaningful and potentially transformative ways.
VAN is a national network of visual artists, curators, and exhibitors providing opportunities and subsidy support for under-recognized visual artists, nurtures the creation of experimental artwork and supports the touring of contemporary visual artists and their work. Patterned after the National Performance Network’s model performing arts program, VAN was launched in 2007 as a pilot, and in 2009 the program was formally established through the induction of the VAN Partners, fifteen leading contemporary arts organizations from across the United States.
Unintended Connections, was organized by the Visual Artists Network, with the support of NPN/VAN 2015 Annual Meeting host, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (NPN/VAN Partner Organization); Venue host Disjecta Contemporary Art Center; Exhibition Preparator and VAN Site Coordinator, Spencer Byrnes-Seres and NPN/VAN intern W. Orchid Robinson.
The NPN/VAN Annual Meeting Exhibition is made possible, in part, with generous support from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Quixote Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Official Airline of the National Performance Network, WESTAF
“Callings” addresses climate change metaphorically and visually by invoking archetypes from the sea. A captain’s ghost and an ancient siren seduce and liberate the sailors of commerce, awakening them into the recognition that the sea is a living being. Carpetbag Brigade’s highly physical state-of-the-art acrobatic stilt-walking performance transcends language through intense physical expression. Mixing the genres of butoh, contact improvisation and physical theater, it operates as a wonderful vehicle to cross cultures and create connections with audiences from a different language, country and culture.
Teatro Taller de Colombia, the country’s oldest and most prominent street theater company, through their work of the last 40 plus years, laid the foundation for a rich stilt-walking and street theater environment throughout the country. After the invitation and support from NPN to come to Manizales was confirmed, Teatro Taller de Colombia helped to organize and support presentations of “Callings” at their Al Aire Puro Street Theater Festival in Bogota as well as organize presentations in Medellin through Tenarco (Teatro Nacional Artistico Colombia) and in Santa Marta through Festival Internacional de Caribe.
The field of interaction and support opened up by Teatro Taller de Colombia enabled Carpetbag Brigade to also spend a week in Bogota teaching and sharing their acrostilt vocabulary. A young street theater company, Gota del Mercurio (Drop of Mercury) took master classes from Carpetbag Brigade and were inspired to plan a visit in the future to participate in Carpetbag Brigade’s Global Stilt Congress event in Arizona, which brings together acrostilt practitioners from around the world to exchange techniques and deepen their craft.
Carpetbag Brigade received a FY16 PAP Creative Exchange subsidy.
Funding for the Performing Americas Program is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and, for Miami Dade County artists and arts organizations, the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.
With the second year of support from the Quixote Foundation, representatives from NPN/VAN’s Local Network attended the NPN/VAN Annual Meeting in Portland. Cameron Shaw, executive director of Pelican Bomb, reflects on her first time participating.
This was my first time attending an NPN/VAN Annual Meeting. It was hands down the most diverse gathering of practitioners and presenters in the arts that I have witnessed. This diversity reflects the incredible and intentional community-building work NPN/VAN has done in the field over the years. The respect that conference-goers had for this work, NPN/VAN staff, and each other was palpable. As a direct result, the planned sessions, as well as my spontaneous conversations with colleagues, were marked by tremendous depth, sensitivity, and openness. I found folks felt comfortable sharing the successes of their projects alongside their stumbling blocks. Within this spirit of creative and collective problem solving, I connected with a number of people whose perspectives and questions have already influenced my work in the month since and will no doubt continue into the future. I look forward to next year!
Theater director and playwright Samuel Valdez, who is a director of NPN/VAN’s board, is being honored by the City of San Diego’s Human Relations Commission as the 2015 recipient of the Ashley L. Walker Social Justice Leadership award at their annual MLK All People’s celebration. In notifying Samuel of this award, the Commission said it “is inspired by your work in the arts through theater, your plays that call us to address human rights and dignity concerns, your work in understanding human trafficking, and your lifetime of service through your professional positions and community involvement. We would like to honor you and your lifetime of work with this award.”
Congratulations Samuel! We are proud that the talents we have seen in you are being publicly recognized in your own community.
Read the entire letter, attached here.
Artspace is posting two new positions in our National Advancement department, an Annual Fund Director and an Advancement Associate.
With the Annual Fund Director, we are looking for a mid-career person who can help lead efforts that expand our base of annual/organizational support from partners across the country, with a particular focus on individual giving in the Twin Cities, New York, Denver and Seattle. The Advancement Associate job is a more junior position, but one with genuine growth potential.
We need people who would be Twins Cities-based, but we are hoping, especially with the Annual Fund Director, to attract candidates from other communities as we have with other recent hires.
Download PDF documents with full descriptions of the positions. Apply by January 15, 2016.
The Institute is an annual initiative of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), a Haitian contemporary dance organization based in Boston: www.jeanappolonexpressions.org. The purpose of the Institute is to preserve and advance Haitian folkloric dance and to provide access to high quality and comprehensive intensive dance education to Haitian youth without financial resources. The company’s director, Jean Appolon was born, raised and trained as a dancer in Haiti, but is now based in Boston. However, he has made a commitment to return to Haiti annually to give back to youth the tangible and intangible gifts of dance and cultural heritage.
The 2015 Institute began on June 27 with an open audition that was attended by 110 Haitian young people. Sixty students were selected to participate in the four-week program that included yoga, modern dance, Haitian folkloric dance, the creation and rehearsal of choreography, and a free lunch program. National Performance Network support, through the Performing Americas Program, made it possible for JAE Company dancer Eboni Baptiste to travel to Haiti to participate as a guest faculty member in the Institute. The Institute concluded with a final performance that honored Professor Bayyinah Bello (University of Haiti) and Professor Michel DeGraff (MIT). The students performed six original choreographies by Jean Appolon for an audience of approximately 300 people that included their family members and friends, as well as Haitian and foreign dignitaries.
The 2015 Institute was characterized by an extremely positive esprit de corps on the part of the participating students as well as the staff. Each day, students were focused and on time, some traveling 4+ hours round trip to participate. The Institute exemplified JAE’s philosophy of ”by working together we can achieve something great.” The final performance was indeed a great achievement as was the distribution of 58 certificates that documented the students’ successful completion of the intensive dance course. The Institute’s impact was felt at many levels, including the students’ artistic and technical accomplishments; the students’ social and personal growth; and the civic and cultural pride that comes with teaching and showcasing Haitian folkloric dance, music and culture as a valued resource.
The Performing Americas Program is a partnership of the National Performance Network and La RED (Red de Promotores Culturales de Latinoamerica y el Caribe). Since 2007, the Creative Exchange has supported more than 40 artists and artist companies for two-to five-week residencies with hosts abroad, focusing on exchanges between the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Performing Americas Program receives generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.
For more than a dozen years, NPN’s International Program has been providing touring and residency opportunities for U.S. artists and increasing the capacity of NPN Partner organizations to present international work. The program reflects NPN’s values of reciprocity and mutual respect, collaborating through network-to-network exchanges in Latin America and the Caribbean, Japan, and Korea.
NPN/VAN is seeking someone to take an outside look at the program. The purpose of the assessment would be to engage multiple stakeholders, including artists, NPN/VAN Partners, other presenters, global network partners, as well as NPN/VAN board and staff in a process to determine the next steps for the International Program; project how it can be more strongly integrated as a program; and help articulate the complexity of international relationships, cultural, and language differences. Additionally, it will be critical to have a clear analysis of opportunities for additional funding and/or partnerships that may be identified in the course of the assessment that would expand the reach and provide stability for the International Program.
The deadline is 5:00 p.m. CST on November 16, 2015.
Download a copy of the request for proposals for a full description and timeline here.
The governing board of the National Performance Network, including the Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN), seeks applications for the position of President and CEO. The successful applicant will assume the staff leadership of a nationwide organization with a strong record of leadership and success. The board is open to applicants with a wide variety of experience; however, all applicants must demonstrate their ability to effectively manage the Network. In addition, all applicants are expected to share the values of equity, diversity, social justice, and inclusion that are infused into all aspects of NPN/VAN work.
The Role. The successful applicant will be a policy activist, a national and international spokesperson, and a person capable of navigating and cultivating substantial resources for NPN/VAN. The individual must be intrigued by the future, networked to change agents, and have the ability to orchestrate the policy perspectives of a diverse national group into a coherent set of programs and initiatives. The individual needs to be capable of evolving a strong vision for the Network and must have the ability to serve as a change agent who can help realize that vision. The NPN/VAN President and CEO is a leader who is responsible for the overall health and vitality of the organization, which includes the maintenance and advancement of the network of arts organizations with proactive programs at the local, national, and international levels.
Management Responsibilities. The successful applicant must have the ability to manage a budget of approximately $3 million and manage an on-site staff of 13 and a remote consulting staff of 3. The President and CEO works with a nationwide membership that is concentrated among 72 partner organizations. In addition, the President and CEO also oversees the programmatic aspects of the Network. NPN/VAN already has in place a strong administrative and management system. Thus, while the President and CEO needs to evaluate, supervise, and adjust the existing system and is responsible for the effective overall management of the organization, many of the day-to-day management responsibilities are assigned to other senior staff.
Travel. This position requires extensive travel. In some years, the President and CEO may be away from the office 50% or more of the time. The purpose of such travel is to stay in close contact with Network partners, help shape the national cultural policy dialogue, and identify and cultivate resources and programmatic opportunities for NPN/VAN.
Qualities Sought. Although the successful candidate must demonstrate an ability to manage the organization, the primary quality sought in the position of President and CEO is the ability to position NPN/VAN and its spirit in regional, national, and international leadership circles, both inside and outside of the arts. Qualities that need to be demonstrated in order to succeed in this work are:
Nontraditional Applicants. The search committee will consider applications from a variety of fields, provided they can demonstrate competence and vision that align with the Network’s needs and aspirations.
Minimum Qualifications. The minimum qualifications for this position are:
Location. The organization is based in New Orleans.
NPN/VAN The National Performance Network, including the Visual Artists Network, is a national network that supports artists in the creation and touring of contemporary performing and visual arts. As a network, NPN/VAN links over 72 diverse partner organizations across the country and the constituents they serve. The 30-year-old organization has a long history of activism on behalf of leading performing arts and visual arts activities. A full overview of NPN/VAN can be found at: http://npnweb.org/
Compensation. The salary range for this position is $125,000 to $130,000. The position includes full health and dental benefits. A relocation allowance is to be determined.
Application Deadline. The deadline date for applications is December 1, 2015. To be considered by the search committee, all materials must be received by the search manager no later than 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time on December 1, 2015.
Questions. Questions about this search and clarification regarding the qualities sought can be directed to NPN/VAN Search Manager Laurel Sherman at NPN.VAN.Search@gmail.com.
How to Apply. To apply for this position, applicants should send a cover letter that details how they meet all or most of the items listed in the “qualities sought” section of this position announcement. In the cover letter, applicants also should address any significant strengths they would bring to enacting the Mission, Values, and Vision of the organization. Also, please send a writing sample that illustrates the ability to engage in critical thinking and analysis and a detailed, current professional resume. These materials should be sent via email. No paper applications will be accepted. Please send application materials to:
Laurel Sherman, NPN/VAN Search Manager
Download or print a PDF of this announcement here.