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News & Events
Notices for partners, news for artists, announcements from the field, job postings.
In June of 2015, Arizona Senator John McCain released a report titled America’s Most Wasted in which he detailed what he considered to be the fiscal year’s most pork-laden, wasteful uses of taxpayer dollars. McCain hoped that the 18-page document will “help the American people demand an end to wasteful government spending once and for all.” It’s not at all surprising to see NEA funding included in such a list, but we didn’t expect the senator from Arizona to single out NPN Partner Sandglass Theater for their annual Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival, and, in particular, their presentation of the NPN Creation Fund work Paul Zaloom’s White Like Me: A Honky Dory Puppet Show. NPN reached out to Sandglass Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Eric Bass for comment. While Eric was on tour in Germany, he sent this response.
Response to Senator McCain
To be honest, the temptation to respond with unbridled sarcasm is strong. One would like to say that there is no need to fund puppet theater, because it is an art form so often associated with children and children don’t vote. Or one would like to address Senator McCain’s disdain for Paul Zaloom’s White Like Me, which Sandglass’ Puppets in the Green Mountains festival is presenting. White Like Me is a show about white privilege. One would like to say that a man who revealed in his 2008 election campaign that he has seven homes would hardly consider this a fit subject to fund. Besides, white privilege is, essentially, a redundant expression. In a culture in which these words have become synonymous, who would want to fund redundancy?
But, frankly, after the first few minutes of getting high on sarcasm, we can all settle down to some practical, even civil dispute. Well, civil on our part, anyway. We need to invite Senator McCain to our festival. We don’t expect him to come, but we need to make our invitation serious and be prepared for him to accept. It’s in everyone’s interest. The festival, which has a long history, is dedicated to international cultural exchange and to the advancement and development of a highly inventive branch of theater. We are not, in fact, a festival of children’s theater, although we also present a number of performances for young audiences, this year including shows from Mexico and Cuba. Since 1997 we have presented about 75 different companies from five continents. We have developed a community base for this festival, with significant community support. In addition, we have now given the festival a new focus: under the sub-title “Walking to the Borders,” the festival now features work that addresses issues of “otherness” and “marginalization” in our culture, and includes workshops and dialogues that pair artists with activists to openly discuss the relationship between art and these pressing issues. Our public is invited to join in these dialogues, and to talk about immigration, race, gender, disability, or any other of our social concerns that drive us to make relevant theater. Among our festival guests will be Shura Wallin from Green Valley Samaritans, an organization that helps to rescue migrants from the Arizona deserts. We cannot imagine a more fervent dialogue than one in which Senator McCain would be present.
But, truth be told, I suspect that Senator McCain is not even responding to the potential heat of this dialogue, or any other. I suspect that we are merely a sound bite, chosen by one of his aides and fed into the political pipeline to rally the neo-cons and shame the senators, congressmen and congresswomen who really do understand that the arts are vital to our society. I think we are, for the senator from Arizona, mostly a stereotype with which he can play the game of self-righteousness, and win some votes among those who have – or dream of having – as much real estate as he does. Not that I have a problem with real estate. Theaters need homes, just like some of our senators.
Senator McCain, I would be happy to put sarcasm aside. A serious and respectful invitation is on the way to you.
Eric Bass, Sandglass Theater
updated 10/14/2015: The position has been filled.
The National Performance Network, including the Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN), is a 30-year old national intermediary arts organization based in New Orleans. It is a diverse group of cultural organizers working to enhance the practice and public experience of the arts in the United States. NPN/VAN’s programs include local, national and international activities and serve three primary purposes: subsidizing the creation and touring of new work by contemporary artists, convening NPN/VAN organizational partners with artists and colleagues, and influencing cultural policy. NPN has an annual budget of $3.5 million.
Please send letter of interest addressing responsibilities, skills and qualifications listed above, resume, writing sample, and three references to: email@example.com. No phone calls please. NPN is an EEO employer and is committed to diversity in its hiring and in the workplace.
DEADLINE: August 21, 2015
Please share this with anyone that you think might be interested and/or post it in places where you think it might reach the right people. You can download a PDF copy of this job announcement here.
Since 2007, the Creative Exchange has supported more than 40 artists and artist companies from across the hemisphere for two- to five-week residencies with hosts abroad. As an outgrowth of NPN’s Performing Americas Program (PAP), the residencies are focused on exchanges between the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean, specifically U.S.-based artists traveling to hosts in Latin American and the Caribbean, and Latin American and Caribbean-based artists traveling to U.S. host sites. In contrast to NPN’s international touring program, the Creative Exchange is designed for longer engagements, which allow artists to develop relationships with host communities over an extended time period. After having spoken with artists and hosts that had participated in the Performing Americas Touring Program, the message was clear: international exchanges were more than just performing and moving on to the next city — communities and artists on both sides were desiring longer time periods to collaborate, develop new work in unique environments, understand the process and methodology of partners, and to be part of a cultural exchange that builds lasting relationships through the performing arts.
The Creative Exchange is about deepening relationships and investing in process. In 2014, Sandglass Theater of Putney, Vermont received a residency award to travel to El Salvador and work with Teatro Luis Poma of San Salvador. The project’s goal is to develop a collaborative piece between the two companies — an adaptation of the story “Nathan the Wise.” This work will be performed in El Salvador and will tour in the United States upon its completion.
Roberto Solomon, director of Teatro Luis Poma shared his appreciation of the exchange: “Thanks to the National Performance Network and the Centro Cultural of the Spanish Embassy in El Salvador, we have been able to have a three-week workshop to develop a version of “Nathan the Wise,” which is a play on religious tolerance, written in the 18th century. It has an incredible repercussion in what is happening around the world today and particularly in Central America: things are getting split up into ghettos of thought. And, we think that a future production of this play can greatly contribute to what I call the civilization of society.”
Because of the distance and time factors of international cultural collaborations, works often progress over time in shorter spurts of development, and the spaces in between the face-to-face contact provide for greater reflection, insight and innovation. Sandglass will be returning to El Salvador in 2015 to complete the second phase of this collaboration.
The Creative Exchange residencies are designed to be flexible and support work that can range from educational activities and creative research to setting a work on a host company or technical skills workshops. This model — designed for only one or two artists traveling— has made these cultural exchange projects more travel friendly and cost effective, allowing NPN to support more weeks of activity to more artist companies. For the current fiscal year, NPN has developed a new partnership with the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, which provides additional funds for projects that support Miami-Dade County-based artists, and has leveraged even more artist support through this match.
For the 2014-15 funding cycle, Performing Americas added a new component to the Creative Exchange. In addition to the multi-week residencies, there is a new “mobility” award to support research. The Creative Exchange Mobility awards aim to provide support for artists and hosts who wish to explore face-to-face relationships with potential partners in the design of a future exchange project, i.e. Creative Exchanges, touring, or collaborations. This subsidy supports travel only, with a maximum of $1,000 per award, and is not intended as residency or touring support.
Each year, NPN’s International Program has awarded 6-8 Creative Exchange residency projects throughout the hemisphere that represent a diverse range of geographical regions and disciplines. Annually, the application period opens in December with deadlines in March of the following year. Guidelines are posted on the website in English, Spanish and Portuguese once they are available. For the 2013-2014 application round, six projects were awarded residency subsidies and four received mobility awards:
|Miami Light Project (Miami, FL)||Golpe Seko (Santiago, Cuba)||Music|
|The Play Company (Brooklyn, NY) and Yale University (New Haven, CT)||Guillermo Calderon, (Santiago, Chile)||Theater|
|Antonius Roberts Studio & Gallery at the Hillside House (Nassau, Bahamas)||Alexis Caputo (Miami, FL)||Spoken Word, Theater|
|RED de Artistas del Caribe (Baranquilla, Colombia)||Bistoury, Inc. (Miami, FL)||Dance, MediaArts|
|Hotel Oloffson/FOKAL (Port au Prince, Haiti)||Jean Appolon Expressions (Boston, MA)||Dance|
|LindaLinda (Buenos Aires, Argentina)||Pig Iron Theatre (Philadelphia, PA)||Theater|
|Teatro Luis Poma (San Salvador, El Salvador)||Sandglass Theater (Putney, VT)||Puppetry, Theater|
|Pedry Roxana / El Mejunje (Santa Clara, Cuba)||Nick Bazo, The Theater Offensive (Boston, MA)||Performance GLBTQ Activism|
|Mirella Carbone / La Escuela de Danza Contemporánea de la PUCP (Lima, Peru)||Ivonne Batanero (Miami, FL)||Dance|
|Teatro Linea de Sombra (D.F. Mexico)||Ruth Wikler-Luker (Portland, OR)||Theater, Digital History Project|
|Eunide Edouarin (Port au Prince, Haiti)||Regine Roumain/Haiti Cultural Exchange (Brooklyn, NY)||Music|
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, from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.
For the 2014-2015 grant cycle, NPN is working in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs to provide matching funds for projects involving artists based in Miami-Dade County or host sites located in Miami-Dade County.
NPN/VAN had local, national, and international support during New Orleans’ 24-hour community online giving event, GiveNOLA DAY on May 5, organized by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Supporters gave more than $4 million to 571 Southeast Louisiana nonprofit organizations. NPN/VAN had 40 donors and raised $1,932.
The Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards are given to artists who continue to move forward artistically, challenging themselves to question, grow, and refine their own vocabulary and their way of working. NPN/VAN shares those values, and it’s wonderful to see past NPN Creation Fund recipients — Nora Chipaumire (FY15, FY12), Paul Flores (FY11, FY07, FY05), Linda Parris-Bailey of Carpetbag Theatre (FY11, FY07), Mildred Ruiz and Steven Sapp of Universes (FY10), and Doug Varone (FY10) — included on this prestigious roster of artists. For more information on these artists, and all of the Doris Duke Performing Artists, click here.
Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted over $325 million in Fellowships to almost 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates and poets laureate, as well as winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, and other important, internationally recognized honors. This year, current and past NPN Creation Fund recipients Zoe Scofield (FY15, FY11, FY07), Rosy Simas (FY15), and Jonah Boaker (FY08) are among the honorees, as well as NPN/VAN Local Network Partner and the keynote speaker for our 2014 Tulsa Annual Meeting, Mel Chin. Needless to say, we’re proud. For more information on all the Guggenheim Fellows, click here.
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.
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. http://www.artistcommunities.org/social-practice-survey
The survey length is approximately 4 – 10 minutes. The deadline is May 17, 2015.
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 joanmitchellfoundation.org.
Contact: Allison Hawkins, Grants Program Director, 212-524-0100