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E-Newsletter / Volume 5 / Fall 2003

Posted: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2003 at 4:22 pm in E-Newsletters

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National Performance Network
Volume 5/Spring 2003

NPN CONVENES IN DC
By Lisa McCarthy

Another Annual Meeting has passed into NPN history and as we each embark on our individual paths of artistic expression, the NPN staff takes these lines to reflect, lament and testify.

First, huge kudos to Carla Perlo, host goddess, whose unyielding determination and support gilded our planning course. Profound thanks to Liz Lerman, Dance Exchange Staff and Dance Place staff for not only their exceptional hospitality but also their seemingly tireless efforts in handling a cadre of logistical support details. We genuflect in eternal gratitude to Margo Miller for consenting to take on the coordination of the Creation Fund performance showcases, thereby becoming our defacto producer and TI). And last, but certainly not least, we send out mammoth hugs and kisses to Kathie deNobriga. Meeting Coordinator, for bringing to us yet another year if patience, planning and progress.

We welcomed into our fold the Arts Presenters book booth, well managed by Ellen Hilburn, however poorly situated within the hotel, and look forward to their return in the coming years. Other new folks invited into our enclave included Arnie Aprill, of Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), whose inspirational workshop on evaluation and documentation encouraged us to sell-define the standards by which our work is measured, and Pancho Arguelles, from the National Organizers Alliance. who rallied us with a wily and thought provoking performance piece connecting art and activism.

One thing is certain, while we can conclude our 18th Annual Meeting was a success in meeting its major goals, it is clear to the national office that the expectations of our NPN Partners continue to grow, as does ours of them. As always we will continue to plan in ways that best meet those mutual expectations and forge relationships that strengthen the organizing capacity of our Network. We look forward to seeing all of you at number 19.


NPN ANNUAL MEETING NOVEMBER 15-19,2003 CHICAGO, IL
NPN Partner hosts: Links Hall & Columbia College of Chicago Office of Community Arts Partnerships


NEW NPN BOARD
MEMBERS & OFFICERS

The NPN Partners elected new members to the Board of Directors at the December Annual Meeting, and the elected hoard met in March to select new officers. Dance Theater Workshop Co-Artistic Director Cathy Edwards will serve on the NPN Board, and Mark Russell of P.S. 122 ended his term of service. The NPN national office remains appreciative of Mark’s insight and strong leadership during the formative years of the new NPN Board.

Officers are: Steve Bailey. Chair; Wesley Montgomery, Vice-Chair; John Herbert, Secretary; Dan Mayer, Treasurer; and Carla PerIo, Member-at-Large.


NEW REGIONAL DESKS

Congratulations to new NPN Regional Desks representatives elected at the December NPN Annual Meeting:
South: Sixto Wagan, Diverse Works
West: Danielle Brazell, Highways Performance Space
North: Therese Jungels, Everett Dance
Midwest: Amy Lamphere, Wagon Train Project


National Performance Network
P.O. Box 70435
New Orleans, LA 70172
225 Baronne Street, Suite 1712
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: 504.595.8008 Fax: 504.595.8006
info@npnweb.org www.npnweb.org

The National Performance Network is group of diverse cultural organizers, including artists, working to create meaningful partnerships and to provide leadership that enables the practice and public experience of the performing arts in the United States.

The National Performance Network is made possible with major funding from:

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts
The Altria Group Inc.
Arts International
The Louisiana Division of the Arts
The Eugene and Agnes Meyers Foundation
Gifts In Kind International

Supporters for Building the Code:

National Endowment for the Arts
The Louisiana Division of the Arts
The RosaMary Foundation
The Arts Council of New Orleans
The Greater New Orleans Foundation

NPN National Office Staff

M.K. Wegmann – President & CEO
Lisa McCarthy – Managing Director
Mat Schwarzman – Core Subsidies Program Director
Jan Clifford – Development and Marketing
Stanlyn Brevé – Administrative Assistant
Kim Dummons – Administrative Coordinator, BTC
Therese Wegmann – Bookkeeper
Creative Jooces – Newsletter Consultant


WHY A FEE STRUCTURE?

As an artist-centered organization, NPN intends to set standards for the field. The circumstances of touring and presenting are such that artists are not equal in the negotiation process between presenter and artist, In our U.S. system, all of the financial power is in the hands of the presenter, – the system distributes the dollars to them to control. This fact is even more true of those artists who do not have representation (a booking agent) and are negotiating their own fees. It is also a fact that the constituency who subsidizes art-making the most in this country are artists themselves. Artists are the least likely to have health and retirement benefits of any other comparable group. When an artist agrees to work for less than the NPN rate, they are subsidizing their own work and subsidizing the presenter. Presenters have a far more stable financial position than artists, even in these scary economic times because there are so many more sources of revenue available to them.

NPN is the only national entity that has stepped forward to state what a standard fee for touring artists should be. The NPN fee structure is based on fair compensation that is meant to recognize the artists’ real costs of touring, and to ensure that the artists do not lose money when touring. The NPN residency fee structure does not contribute to the creation of the work, but only applies directly to the week the artist is on the road in a presenter’s community. The allowances in the NPN fee structure for per diem and lodging are industry minimums and certainly don’t provide luxury, at $35 for per diem and $50 per night for a usually shared hotel room. The $525 per week salary for artists (equivalent to an annual salary of $27.500 -see Parade Magazine. Sunday March I, 2003) is also minimal (and below Actor’s Equity minimum for touring), especially considering that the average number of weeks per year that a performer works is between 12-20, dropping that annual income to between $6300 and $10,500. The NPN contract and fee structure evolved over time, based on direct input and response from artists about the costs of touring.

Touring income rarely pays anything toward the cost of creating a work, or even for the rehearsal time the company may need in advance of going on tile road. Based on case studies presented al the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in January 200, a mid-sized company such as Pat Graney takes three wholesale mlb jerseys years from concept to touring of a new piece, and the creation process costs in the range of $350,000. At any one time a company will have a piece in development, a piece in production and two or three other pieces kept fresh in their repertory. If a company does pay a booking agent, that is usually 20% of the contract fees.

NPN is targeted to emerging and mid-career artists, particularly those who have a more difficult time gaining access to the national arena. These artists have fewer of the resources needed to continue to work as artists in their community or to participate in national touring. NPN Partners, as presenters, play a crucial role in supporting these artists and leveraging support for their work. Because of the unequal relationship that is the standard between artists and presenters, working with a fixed fee structure takes money off of the table in their discussions, thus opening the way to talk about the nature of their relationship in bringing the artistic work to the audience and to the community. NPN’s intent is to contradict the model that puts presenter and artist in opposition, where the artist is merely “content” or “talent” or “the entertainment.’ Instead NPN recognizes how artists who tour to perform can build relationships and have an impact in a community beyond the work on the stage – that the audiences experience of artists is not the ‘exotic other”, the star. It shows that the contributions that artists make to community life are relevant to them. It fulfills NPN’s purpose of linking artists and communities.

NPN is deliberate in crafting our programs and structures to reflect basic principles of equitable standards for artists. Not only the fee structure, but the explicitness of the three-party contract that is signed among the NPN Partner, NPN, and the artist are ways in which NPN leads the field and helps set cultural policy.

—-MK Wegmann


CORE SUBSIDY CORNER
with Mat Schwarzman

WEAVING THE WEB OF COMMUNITY
by Kim Dummons

The NPN initiative “Weaving the Web of Community” (WTW), brings MIN Partners Dog & Pony Theatre and Junebug Productions together with New Orleans’ Contemporary At is Center. Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Community Labor United in creating a new approach to audience development, rooted in the values and practices of community organizing and the collaboration among artists, activists, and organizers.

New Orleans’ 9th Ward, home to WTW Community Organizer Nilima Mwendo, was chosen as a representative neighborhood that would benefit from untraditional opportunities for arts participation. Nilima and the above WTW partners facilitate among the organizations and the 9th Ward community involvement in arts workshops, community forums, ticket subsidies, transportation to performances, and child care availability: factors which influence lower-income residents’ ability to participate in arts opportunities, Behind the public activities is Lawn an intensive process of action, research, Grassroots leadership development arid community building.

NPN Creation Fund and cheap nba jerseys Community Fund deadlines: July 18, 2003


CREATION FUND AWARDS

NPN is pleased to announce Creation Fund subsidies awarded in conjunction with the February 2003 application cycle:

“Come Ye” Artist: Ron Brown
Co-Commissioners: St, Joseph’s Historic Foundation and Dance Place

”Out There” Artist: John Jasperse
Co-Commissioners: Florida Dance Association, Dance Theater Workshop, the Flynn Center

”Free to Live”Artist: Deeply Rooted Dance with Staceyann Chin
Co-Commissioners: Columbia College. MLK Arts Complex

”Eye Cycle” Artist: Molly Shanahan
Co-Commissioners: Links Hall, Denison University

”Portal” Artist: Project Bandaloop
Co-Commissioners: Myrna Loy Center. White Bird (Portland, OR) and Dance St, Louis
Congratulations. Ev eryone Mat Sehvarzman, Core Subsidies Program Director


COMMUNITY FUND AWARDS

NPN E-Newsletter Partners and Artists for the February 2003 round of Community Funds:

Dance Umbrella Robert Moses KIN… to implement a special residency for the students, parents and local community of Harris Elementary School as part of their Dual Language Program.
Flynn Center Marty Pottenger… to include an advance visit by Marty Pottenger, which will allow for valuable planning, documentation development, and training with the Flynn’s Community Partner, Vermont Livable Wage Campaign and its partner organization, the Peace & Justice Center.
Highways Performance Space 33 Fainting Spells …to create and implement documentation/evaluation of NPN Residencies from Hew and Now, a three-week interdisciplinary dance series in September 2003.
Myrna Loy Center Geyserland… to utilize new ways of video documentation and expand recent attempts at using computers for on-site evaluations for the Geyser Land residency and performance project.
Walker Arts Center Jennjfer Monson… Advance planning (for the Minneapolis residency) and documentation/evaluation development for a ten-week project bringing free experimental dance to communities along the migratory path (Mississippi flyway) of birds from Texas to southern Canada in spring 2004.
Jump-Start Jose Torres-Tama & Pregones Theater… documentation, evaluation and residency activities in conjunction with the Festival de Libre Enganche and Tores-Tama and Pregones NPN residencies.


PERFORMING AMERICAS PROJECT
CONGRESO TOURS NPN
by Stanlyn Brevé

Congreso, a musical ensemble from Quilpue, Chile, toured NPN Partner sites as Part Two of the Performing Americas Project. Organizing the tour was a long and complex process, chock full of lessons learned about issues that ranged from “How to obtain a visa in two weeks” to “How many kilos is a marimba”, But Congreso toured, impressing NPN audiences with their signature style- a mix of traditional indigenous rhythms with contemporary and jazz harmonies.

Although the band had to deal with snowstorms in Nebraska and ice storms that shut down the city of San Antonio, they trucked on, transforming the diverse landscapes of Chile into voices, rhythms and sounds, and bringing them to the equally diverse landscapes of Helena, MT, Lincoln, NE, San Antonio, TX, Berkeley, CA and New Orleans, LA.

Sketching out the cultural, geographical, social, and anthropological history of Chile was purpose enough to trudge through the inclement weather of the States.

Myrna Loy Center, the first stop on the musical journey, welcomed Congreso with blue skies, sold out performances, and packed residency activities. Wagon Train, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center with JumpStart Performance Co, La Peña and Dog and Pony Theatre were the other residency sites in this leg of the Performing Americas Tour. Congreso, internationally renowned artists, have had the chance to travel to smaller venues and reach out to new audiences through this initiative.

The Performing Americas Project is a partnership between NPN, wholesale nba jerseys La Red and Arts International that is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


THE CRUCIBLE
This ongoing column highlights the NPN Partners who are finding creative ‘says to use core subsidies. This contribution by Gene Dugan, Out North Contemporary Art House

POSTCARDS FROM ALASKA: A CHILLING TALE OF PERFORMANCE ARTISTS IN THE SNOW
by Guillermo Gómez-Peña (GP) and Silvana Straw (SS)

GP: Last February. I was invited to perform in Anchorage along with Mexican performance artist Juan Ybarra, and Washington, D.C. performance poet Silvana Straw. We were allured by our mythical ignorance ….Will we he devoured by The Eternal Darkness? Will we find anything to eat besides seal tacos?”

SS: Our host was Out North, the only experimental theater in Anchorage, sandwiched between two churches. Every Halloween, in an effort to save pagan theater-goers, clergy drop by Out North and invite them to their “Hell House”– where they perform skits about the Seven Deadly Sins, a sort of Right Wing Christian performance art, if you will.

GP: Our show. Apocalypse Mandan was a reflection on what it means to be an artist and our search for our hearings post September 11. While Silvana and I engaged in a poetical conversation, Juan interpreted our dialogue through ritual dances, his nude body painted with tribal motifs, as he performed on and around a huge block of ice.

We ended each show by passing out markers to our eclectic audiences, asking them to write their feelings on Juan’s body. And against all our predictions– they went for it.

SS: Soon, half of our stereotypes about Alaska toppled by their own weight and the other half intensified exponentially. Stereotype #1: Anchorage is a scary place. True. According to a local journalist, “murder; suicide and rape are six times higher than anywhere else in the country.”

GP: Alaska is a colony for the disenfranchised, a mythical paradise for lone wolves,
misanthropes, and people running from the law or their inner-Sasquatch. Despite the horror stories, we found the hospitality of the people to he heartwarming. They took us to Flat-Top Mountain, on a mush-dog sled ride, and fed us reindeer stew. When our car got stuck on the mountain, a man stopped to help. When we told him we were artists, he said. I’m an artist too! Most people wouldn’t think of mc as on artist since Fin O mortician –hut you should see what I can do when / get into The Rack Room.”

SS: At the cast party, our hostess invited us to her backyard where we found several naked guests sitting in a hot tub surrounded by snow. They stopped their conversation about environmental policy and sex and invited us to lake a dip.

GP: Stereotype #2: The mistreatment of indigenous people is worse in Alaska. True. Yupic artist Susie Silook showed us a historical photograph taken by an admiral of a nude and frightened pre-adolescent Eskimo girl with a fur draped over her shoulder — unbearably performing the admiral’s colonial fantasies. On the other hand, the powerful spirituality of Native Alaskans permeates everything– the collective psyche, the beautiful landscape and artwork.

SS: Stereotype #3: There are no Mexicans in Alaska. False. There are 30.000 Mexkimos to he exact — most of whom work for the fishing industry, classified by the Department of Labor as “Most Dangerous Job in the U.S.’ due to extreme weather conditions resulting in the loss of fingers or limbs.

GP: Being in Alaska is like being without a context– and not just because we were performance artists in the snow. Everyone in Alaska is out of context with the exception of the Natives. You have the sense that you are on the edge, an ultra-periphery where anything can happen. And this allows for a very particular form of eccentricity– a sort of American magical realism.

SS: One morning, we saw a moose the size of a refrigerator jump our neighbor’s fence. No big deal. One night we found a huge animal track in the snow in front of our door– a three-toed footprint not two-toed like a moose. We didn’t sleep — partly because of the footprint and partly because someone or some “thing” was ringing our doorbell and running away. Could it be the dreaded Winter Chupacabra?

GP: These incidents have become images in the strange film of the Alaskan Bizarre. Perhaps the strongest feeling I had visiting the “Last Frontier” was that we were actually returning. Susie articulated this confusing sensation. “This is not the Last Frontier. This is the first. Twenty-thousand years ago, the first inhabitants of the continent entered via the Bering Strait and Aleutian Chain.” So perhaps this explains everything: the eccentricity, the footprint, the artist-mortician, and the migration North of 30.000 Mexicans– which strangely enough, is a reverse migration back to our origins– back to the first not the last frontier.


NPN BOARD OF DIRECTORS

This is the first of an ongoing series of reports on the activities of NPN’s Board of Directors. In each newsletter, we will provide an update on Board activities, decisions and discussions.

The NPN Board of Directors meets quarterly and with the establishment of NPN’s nonprofit status and new by-laws, is the governing body of the organization. Currently, there are IS members of the Board. 9 of which are NPN Partners. The bylaws require that at least 51% of the Board be composed of NPN Partners. The CEO is also a Board member with voting privileges.

There are four active Board committees: Executive. Resource Development, Partner and Board Development. The Executive Committee consists of the four officers as well as the CEO and Managing Director. The committee has monthly teleconferences to discuss finances, programs and other NPN business between the regular Board meetings. The Resource Development Committee advises and assists in the fundraising efforts, providing valuable viewpoints on trends and possible contributors. The NI’N Partner committee deals with issues concerning the Partners, including renewal status, the process for seeking and accepting new Partners, and other Partner issues that may arise. This committee has recently made recommendations for new Partners from the recent call to the field. There were fourteen candidates with full applications. The Board Development committee is charged with overseeing efforts to recruit new Board members, NPN Partner elections, recommending a slate of officers to the full Board, and Board evaluation,

In late January, I spent three days in New Orleans at the national office. It was decided that it would be a good policy for the Board Chair to spend sonic time at least once a year with staff outside of a regular Board or annual meeting. During the visit, I met with staff members individually to get their thoughts about how NPN was functioning and to prepare for a one-day staff retreat, which I facilitated. I believe that this was very beneficial for the staff and myself. From the retreat, it was decided that the staff should have quarterly planning sessions, that they would have annual assessments of the projects and programs, that they would develop an annual organizational plan, and many other tangible out comes.

Please feel free to contact me at steve @jump-start.org with any comments, questions or concerns.

Steve Bailey, Chair, Board of Directors


BUILDING THE CODE
A Project of the National Performance Network
By Kim Dummons

Greetings to all from Building the Code! Updates abound …the BTC prototype is going out to publishers, and the comic graphic pages are in development. YA/YA (Young Aspirations/Young Artists) is collaborating with illustrator Keith Knight to produce their story in the hook. BTC is growing beyond New Orleans! The Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education is planning to disseminate BTC curriculum materials throughout the state.


The NPN Partners are distinguished by their diversity and their commitment to contemporary performing arts and social justice.

ALASKA
Out North Contemporary Art House, Anchorage
ARIZONA
Xicanindio Artes, Inc. Mesa
CALIFORNIA
Elai Arce, Joshua Tree
Cultural Odyssey, San Fransisco
Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica
La Peña Cultural Center, Berkley
Sushi Performance and Visial Art, San Diego
COLORADO
El Centro Su Teatro, Denver
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Dance Place, Washington
FLORIDA
Florida Dance Association, Miami Beach
Miami- Dade Community College
Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center/Hinks and Elaine Shimburg Playhouse, Tampa
GEORGIA
Dancers Collective of Atlanta, Inc
IOWA
Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids
ILLINOIS
Columbia College Chicago, Community Arts Partnership
Links Hall, Chicago
KENTUCKY
Appalshop/American Festival Project, Whitesburg
LOUISIANA
Dog and Pony Theatre Company, New Orleans
Junebug Productions Inc, New Orleans
MASSACHUSETTS
New World Theater, Amherst
MARYLAND
Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Takoma Park
MINNESOTA
Penumbra Theatre, St. Paul
Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis
MONTANA
Myrna Loy Center/Helena Presents
NORTH CAROLINA
St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation, Inc, Durham
NEBRASKA
Wagon Train Project, Lincoln
NEW YORK
Dance Theater Workshop, New York
Performance Space 122(P.S. 122) New cheap nfl jerseys York
Pregones Theatre, Bronx
OHIO
Contemporary Dance wholesale nfl jerseys Theater, Inc, Cincinnati
Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural and Performing Arts Center, Columbus
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus
PENNSYLVANIA
Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia
Asociacion de Musicos Latino Americanos, Philedelphia
Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia
RHODE ISLAND
Everett Dance Theatre, Providence
TENNESSEE
The Carpetbag Theater, Inc, Knoxville
TEXAS
Dance Umbrella/ Austin
DiverseWorks, Houston
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio
Jump-Start Performance Co., San Antonio
Kumba House Inc., Houston
Multi-Cultural Education and Counseling through the Arts, (MECA) Houston
Woman & Their Work, Austin
VERMONT
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington
WASHINGTON
On The Boards, Seattle
Pat Graney Co., Seattle
WISCONSIN
Alverno Presents, Milwaukee


AT THE TABLE: NPN VOICES

NPN is continuing its role as a voice for the performing arts field in many forums: The Doris Duke Foundation, NPN’s most significant funder, annually convenes its grantees so that there can be an exchange of information among us. This year the Duke meeting was held in conjunction with the Hong Kong International Arts Festival, and Dancing New Asia featuring artists from Cambodia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Viet Nam.

NPN sponsored a booth at Arts Presenters (with great volunteers Dan Mayer, Jay Brause, Maureen Fleming, Chris Odo, Michael Burke, and Troi Bechet) featuring a compilation video of Creation Fund projects.

MK Wegmann. NPN’s CEO, spoke on The Tyranny of Distance and its Effect on Touring Artists” and a Shop Talk on “Grant Support for Touring Activities.” She was the moderator for a panel organized by the Women’s Working Group. The Cost of Making Work.”

In January, NPN convened a focus group from the field to continue the exploration of a new round of NAAMP (National Arts Administration Mentorship Project). Troi Bechet is working with NPN and her report will address the feasibility of a second round.

Urban Institute/Public Knowledge: Urban Institute in Washington, DC, convened a group of national service organizations, including many of those with which NPN is working, such as NCCC, Alternate ROOTS, NALAC, and NAAO. There are six areas of inquiry on which they are working: Training and Professional Development, Materials Support, Markets/Demand, Validation, Information, Community/Networks. The report. “Investing in Creativity’ Into is due out this spring. Preliminary analysis of data is available www.ccc.urban.org. The report will be available on www.usartistsreport.org.

Public Knowledge is a new public-interest advocacy organization dedicated to fortifying and defending a vibrant information commons. They are addressing the very complex issues of intellectual property rights and freedom of expression. Each organization at the Urban Institute meeting responded to the issues as they relate to their individual fields. Then, in Feb. 2003. Mat Schwarzman. NPN Program Director, attended a weekend retreat that further explored and considered strategies for addressing these issues. www.publicknowledge.org

Fresh Terrain was a residency and festival at the University of Texas organized by Mark Russell. Executive Director of PS 122, for the theater and dance departments of the university. Companies such as Universes and Big Art Group performed and symposia were presented with the artists on the issues of sustaining and supporting new work development.

Dance USA’s Winter Roundtable was held in New Orleans in early February. The Presenter’s Council, chaired by Laurie Upritchard of St. Mark’s Dance Place included a presentation about NPN and its programs. The Presenters Council was joined by the Artists and Managers Council to Spring identify and discuss mutual areas of interest.


WORKWARE
IDEAS & RESOURCES

The SPIN (Strategic Press Information Network) Project provides technical media assistance to non-profit public-interest organizations that want to influence policy debate, shape public opinion and garner positive media attention, SPIN offers public relations consulting, including basics such as getting media coverage and staging press conferences. Based in San Francisco, SPIN’s staff facilitates organizational and community sessions on how to get and maximize media coverage. I attended their 2002 SPIN Academy last summer, and found it highly relevant and inspiring. Visit www. spinproject.org or call 415-284-1427. –Jan Clifford