News & Events

Notices for partners, news for artists, announcements from the field, job postings.

Airlift Brings Back the
Roving Music Houses

Posted: Friday, April 24th, 2015 at 4:24 pm in News

by Tori Bush, Programs Director, New Orleans Airlift

How can an artist fully inhabit a performance? How can a home be an instrument?  New Orleans Airlift explores these questions through our ongoing musical architecture project, The Music Box. The newest iteration of this installation – The Roving Village Residencies – opened April 3, 2015. Kinetic, interactive musical architectural spaces will take up residence for 6 weeks at a time in three unexpected sites around New Orleans to host large-scale performances, artist talks, educational workshops and sound walks, as well as free interactive public hours for audiences to come visit and play with the musical houses.

The Roving Village will ramble throughout New Orleans’ neighborhoods, like a second line, bringing music to where people live. Imagine waking up to singing houses at the end of your block! Whether this sonic village turns up in a neighborhood like the Lower 9th Ward, or appears on a busy commercial strip in Central City, the installation will engage with New Orleans neighborhoods and the people who live there. The first Roving Village Residency is installed in the pastoral vista of City Park, a site accessible to all, where the Roving Village is nestled amongst the park’s giant live oaks, adorned with Spanish moss.

This rambling, sonic city was built by over fifteen artists and is engineered to be transportable with invented instruments embedded into the floors, walls, windows and ceilings of this brand new series of musical houses. Local and international artists, inventors, craftsmen and architects built these playable structures with the help of a variety of community partners ranging from non-profits and universities to children’s groups. April is the first time that the musical houses come together to create a traveling village of orchestral proportions — an amalgamation of architectural space and sound.

The unusual situation in which musicians find themselves playing houses allows them to let go of previously conceived ways of creating and performing music. In the past, composers’ strategies for conducting a musical village included mapping the tonal qualities of the structures or simply improvising. They’re communicating to performers using signs, flashing lights, and other innovative methods. There is still much ground to explore in these orchestral performances of musical architecture. Airlift seeks to create a new experience in music through spatial and sonic innovations that challenge traditional performance modes and celebrate a new way of making music.

We will be announcing the line up for upcoming performances of the Roving Village Residency: City Park soon! Previously, musicians such as Quintron, Mannie Fresh, Thurston Moore, Andrew W.K., and Hamid Drake were just some of the outstanding musicians from diverse genres who have validated the promise of musical architecture to interest and engage musicians in a new form of music. Stay tuned for an incredible line up of diverse local, national and international musicians who bring wide ranging audiences together.

Click here to learn more about New Orleans Airlift

Click here to see a 2012 performance from the first Music Box

Click here for press on the Roving Village

Artist Residencies + Social Practice

Posted: Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 at 5:47 pm in Field News

The Alliance of Artists Communities is conducting research on “Artist Residencies and Social Practice” to identify the needs of artists whose work uses social and community engagement practices. This Alliance’s goal is to better connect social practice artists with appropriate residency opportunities that fit their working practices. If you are an artist working in the field of social practice, please complete this quick survey.

The survey length is approximately 4 – 10 minutes. The deadline is May 17, 2015.

Joan Mitchell Foundation Announces 2015 Emerging Artist Grant Program

Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at 2:51 pm in Opportunities

The Joan Mitchell Foundation is excited to announce the Emerging Artist Grant Program, a new initiative designed to assist emerging visual artists across the United States. This pilot program will award a diverse group of ten artists with an unrestricted grant of $12,000 per artist in addition to professional support throughout the year.

The Foundation seeks to award visual artists who demonstrate excellence in their work, a commitment to their careers and artistic communities, and a willingness to engage in the varied support provided by this program. Recipients will have the opportunity to build relationships with one another, the Foundation, and an expansive community of arts professionals. The combination of funding and supplemental programming is intended to further recipients’ artistic practice, encourage career sustainability, and best equip them to make their own artistic choices and forge a unique career path.

A primary purpose of this program is to provide artists with access to opportunities that can effect positive change in their lives and, in turn, the field at large. Historically the Foundation has supported emerging artists through our MFA Grant Program; this program was suspended in 2013. As an organization that values cultural equity, we hope through this new initiative to benefit a population of artists beyond just the sphere of higher education, a system that can suffer from homogeneity and a lack of equity. We will thoughtfully engage a broad group of emerging artists and prioritize diversity in all areas, including artistic practice, geographic location, gender, age, background, socio-economic level, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and all levels of educational attainment.

The Foundation defines “emerging” as those early in their artistic careers (regardless of age), who are gaining momentum, and may be at a critical juncture in their career when this support would be the most impactful. These artists demonstrate potential in their practice through risk-taking and pushing their work in dynamic ways, and are not yet considered well established professionally by indicators such as major gallery representation, significant exhibition history, awards and commissions, or sustaining an income derived solely from art sales.

The Foundation will engage nominators nationally to recommend artists and an independent jury panel will select the program finalists. Nominators will include visual artists, curators, and professionals from arts organizations and the academic community.


Established in 1993, the Joan Mitchell Foundation is an artist-endowed non-profit organization. The Foundation celebrates the legacy of Joan Mitchell and expands her vision to support the aspirations and development of diverse contemporary artists. We work to broaden the recognition of artists and their essential contributions to communities and society.

For more information on the Joan Mitchell Foundation and its recipients, please visit our website at

Contact: Allison Hawkins, Grants Program Director, 212-524-0100

Grant Manager Position at Youth Speaks

Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at 2:42 pm in Job Announcements

Deadline to apply: April 15, 2015

Youth Speaks is a dynamic organization that understands that the power, insight, creativity, and passion of young people can change the world. Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks is the leading nonprofit presenter of Spoken Word performance, education, and youth development programs in the country. Among many local programs, Youth Speaks annually convenes the Brave New Voices Festival and houses a groundbreaking theater program for emerging artists and other professionals. Youth Speaks currently has a staff of 25 and a budget of $4.2M.

We are seeking a mission-driven professional to manage our fundraising activities with foundations, government agencies and other philanthropic institutions. The Grants Manager plays an essential role in the organization to generate general operating and program/project-based support, to monitor and satisfy existing grant requirements, and to serve as a positive ambassador with funders and other community partners.

Download a full job description here, including job responsibilities, requirements, compensation, and how to apply.

E-Newsletter / March 2015

Posted: Saturday, March 28th, 2015 at 3:57 pm in E-Newsletters

The Contributions of Renata Petroni

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 at 5:19 pm in News

Renata PetroniAs of January 1, 2015, Renata Petroni, director of the International Program for the National Performance Network (NPN), has retired from her direct work in international cultural exchange to pursue her career as an interior designer. Several years ago, she returned to school and got her degree in design. While it is a great loss for the international cultural exchange field, it is exciting that Renata is working full-time in an area where she has great passion and talent.

Renata has worked internationally since 1980 when she joined The Kitchen first as director of special events and then as The Kitchen touring program director. She then worked at Dance Theater Workshop as director of the National Performance Network, NPN’s first dedicated staff person, and The Suitcase Fund, programs that sought to increase touring, commissioning and to encourage cultural exchange. Subsequently, Petroni spent two years as managing director of Teatro Central, a multi-purpose theater specially built for the Universal EXPO 92 in Seville, Spain. In 1993 she founded her own production company, Two Moon, which produced new works by many artists and coordinated the Polverigi Festival in Italy from 1998 to 2000. In May 2000, Renata Petroni became director of the Projects and Partnerships division at Arts International (AI), a New York based not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development, support and promotion of global cultural interchange in the visual and performing arts worldwide. After the closing of AI, Ms. Petroni joined NPN’s International Program, designed to increase cultural exchange and knowledge building between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as with Asia.

“Renata built NPN’s International Program,” says MK Wegmann, NPN/VAN president and CEO. “She developed a multi-national system of exchange based on long-term relationships, reciprocity and equity. NPN will forever be in her debt and the groundwork she laid will continue into the future. Her leadership will be missed.”

For the time being, MK Wegmann will direct NPN’s international program. She has been involved in the program since its inception and has been part of the development of its various programs. Kyoko Yoshida, the founder and director of the U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network (CTN), will coordinate the U.S.-Japan Connection and the U.S.-Korea Connection, where she has been assisting Renata for the past three years. Kyoko has served the performing arts field for 30 years as a presenter, producer and consultant. Elizabeth Doud will continue to coordinate the Performing Americas Program, which since 2002 has fostered cultural exchange between Latin America and the Caribbean with the United States.

NPN’s programs in the global arena remain a high priority to NPN, complementing its National Programs with our NPN/VAN Partners in the United States, and our Local Program in New Orleans.

And, thank you, Renata.

NPN/VAN Welcomes its newest staff member…

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 at 5:15 pm in New, News

Sage CrumpMeet NPN/VAN’s newest team member, Sage Crump, program manager for Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE). You may recognize Sage from her previous work with NPN/VAN as multi-tenant arts facility project manager, where she helped develop NPN/VAN’s new home, Arts Estuary 1024. Although based in New Orleans, Sage works nationally as a culture strategist with a social justice focus where her work leverages art and creative practice for the cultural transformation of systemic oppressions. Sage’s work with artists such as Detroit-based Complex Movements highlights the way shifts in intention can create new strategies that intersect artistic practice, organizing and movement building. Sage serves on the National Advisory Committee for Women of Color in the Arts, the board of the Center for Media Justice, is a member of Alternate ROOTS and is board vice-chair for Art2Action. Welcome Sage!

Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE): A New NPN/VAN Program

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 at 3:36 pm in New, News

by Sage Crump
LANE Project Manager

Over the course of many years, NPN/VAN staff and board have observed that long-term organizational stability has been a consistent struggle for some NPN/VAN Partners, especially organizations of color, geographically isolated and/or small to mid-sized community-based groups. Additionally over the past decade, the NPN/VAN Network has lost over ten organizations of color. Many organizations are suffering from multiple years of struggling to make-do with insufficient resources, which speaks to a larger systemic problem.

Leveraging a Network for Equity is a collaborative national capitalization program between the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network and the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF®). LANE will deliver methodology and resources to address the sustainability challenges faced by organizations of color, geographically isolated, and/or small to mid-size community-based groups. Unlike similar efforts in the past that focused on large arts institutions, LANE focuses on organizations that are most vulnerable to shifts in the field that can have devastating consequences.

As an existing network with a focus on relationship building, NPN/VAN is uniquely positioned to tackle the issue of systemic financial inequalities within the arts and cultural infrastructure of the U.S. For more than 30 years, NFF® has helped nonprofit organizations connect “money to mission.” This partnership will provide education, financial advice, and capital that is relevant to this sector and will enable critical arts organizations to achieve their missions. NPN/VAN and NFF® have initiated a pilot capitalization project that moves beyond a conversation about the importance of equity into one of strategy and action.

LANE is an eight-year initiative that builds the financial capacity of the organizations involved in four ways. LANE supports cohorts of organizations with diagnostics, financial education, recovery, and risk capital. The current diagnosis, education and planning stages are funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This initiative is conceptualized to allow for careful planning, continuous learning and iterative evaluation. NPN/VAN is excited about this partnership and its potential for the Network and the field.

Alliance of Artists Communities – Upcoming Events

Posted: Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 at 1:33 pm in Events

2015 Emerging Program Institute
04/21/15 – 04/23/15
Omaha, NE

Connect with Funders + Residency Leaders

Registration is now open for the 2015 Emerging Program Institute at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska – April 21-23.

Wondering if this program is right for you? The Emerging Program Institute is designed for a diverse group of participants – from those in the idea phase of creating an artist colony to those working with an established institution to develop a new residency program. The Institute brings together residency leaders, funders, and artists from across the county, highlights best practices and new models, and covers everything from growing your funding base to matching artist selection with mission.

Read more.

2015 Conference
10/13/15 – 10/16/15
Providence, RI

Explore the ways in which we can advance today’s artists and their role in developing healthy, vibrant, engaged communities. Join arts leaders, funders, policy-makers, board members, educators, artists, and others from across the globe for three days of performances, trainings, tours, and talks. All are welcome!


NPN/VAN – Celebrating Carnival!

Posted: Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 at 5:40 pm in News

It’s that time of year again in the Crescent City. Tuesday, February 17 is Mardi Gras and the NPN/VAN office will be closed. The office will be open on Monday, February 16, and Wednesday, February 18, but only partially staffed on those days. We’ll be back at near full-strength on Thursday, February 19.

We love the new office, but we’re no longer on a parade route. We’ll have to make do with a photo from a past year.

Muses 2014

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