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E-Newsletter / October 2012

Posted: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 at 5:18 pm in E-Newsletters

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Newsletter / October 2012

“the most complex we have ever created…”

When So Percussion began to develop Where (we) Live, they created one of their most dense and textured productions ever. Their Creation Fund award also included support from the Forth Fund, a ‘lagniappe’ with each Creation Fund to prepare work for touring. So Percussion took the production to The Walker Art Center (one of the three original co-commissioners), where state-of-the-art video production, with close-ups, live performance footage and multi-track recordings, yielded a quality promotion video.

Read So Percussion’s account of their process

The Forth Fund is supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. The Creation Fund is supported in part by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Juvenile Justice, Healthy Eating, Democratic Process…and more

Ever needed just a little more money to extend the impact of an artist’s visit in your community? That’s what the Community Fund does for NPN Partners. The Community Fund allows NPN Partners to take risks, implement new programs, forge new relationships and/or diversify their connections.

NPN recently announced $23,300 to support six such projects: in New Orleans Hannibal Lokumbe’s Music Liberation Orchestra will work with the Contemporary Arts Center, and musicians Luther Gray and Hamid Drake will work with youth under the guidance of Ashé Cultural Arts Center; Robert Karimi will work with The Center for Community Arts Partnerships/Columbia College in Chicago to develop healthy eating programs; Aaron Landsman will continue to develop City Council Meeting before its premiere at DiverseWorks; Pangea World Theater invited earlier Performance Residency artists (Outside the Circle) to return for a city-wide queer arts festival; and South Dallas Cultural Center engaged folk musicians Sparky and Rhonda Rucker to work with classroom teachers to extend the impact of their school visits.

Read the details

The Community Fund is supported, in part, by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, MetLife, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Korean Company Visits U.S. through NPN International Program

During a 2010 visit to Seoul, U.S. presenters such as F. John Herbert, executive director at Legion Arts, first learned about the Tacit Group. Herbert described the work as a “unique, cross-cultural experience that combines pleasure, humor and thought-provoking analysis of the most basic structures of music, communication and meaning.” See the Tacit Group in their first American tour:

The tour of Tacit Group is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Korean Arts Management Service.

New Performance in Your Living Room

Choreographer Dayna Hanson received a Creation Fund award and the first of the Forth Fund awards in 2010 for Gloria’s Cause. Iconic and not-so-iconic moments from the Revolutionary War come together in a dance-driven, rock musical created with Dave Proscia and Peggy Piacenza. This new work takes a layered, colorful and gritty look at the roots of America’s inequities.

Visit and see this striking performance for only $5.

Photo (left): Gloria’s Cause, Dayna Hanson. Pictured: Dave Proscia and Peggy Piacenza. Photo by Steve Gunther. Courtesy California Institute of the Arts, 2012.

How to Be in Two Places at Once

When NPN holds its 27th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this December, performances will be closed to the public due to space limitations. But you can be there — for free — just by tuning into #NewPlayTV which will feature live-stream video featuring Creation Fund artists Teo Castellanos (Fat Boy), The Living Word Project (Tree City Legends), Lucky Plush Productions (The Better Half) and inkBoat (Crazy Cloud Collection). Performances are on Friday and Saturday, December 14–15, times to be announced. Look for additional local performers in the November issue of this newsletter.

NPN has just received word that the Pew Charitable Trust will support the Philadelphia Annual Meeting with a $15,000 grant. We are grateful!

So Percussion: Where (we) Live

by Eric Beach with Adam Sliwinski & Ain Gordon

For eight years, So Percussion has made our home in Brooklyn amid two million five hundred thousand others. In our city, each of the group’s four members has constructed a personal ecosystem we call home. These homes are bound by space, time, sound and image. Equally, these spaces house rewarding, frustrating, supporting, damaging, tangible and never understood relationships.

When we leave those homes, our four members unite to create another artistic home, with its own unspoken rules and expectations; its own rhythm of interaction, its own banalities and mystery. Where (we) Live questions all these homes by purposefully inviting the unknown to “come on over.” We’ve asked video artists, songwriters, painters, choreographers, directors and others to substantively alter our process. The resulting performance contains a society of possibilities: composed pieces, chance elements, visual associations, and theatrical interactions.

For the project, we assembled a diverse group of collaborators. Songwriter/guitarist Grey McMurray performs together with us and has written a series of songs about our homes. Combined with compositions from So Percussion, these songs are featured on the album of Where (we) Live. Video artist Martin Schmidt heightens our focus on ordinary elements, bringing us into different homes and framing the un-noticed. Choreographer Emily Johnson performs with us live, dictating secret instructions throughout the show by passing notes to the performers. Director Ain Gordon functions as a fifth voice in the decision-making process, threading the project’s purposefully diverse elements and desired resulting chaos into a portrait of something that cannot actually be “seen” — home.

A guest artist in each town also collaborates with us in a short residency. We seek out people who are good at what they do – be it a craftsperson, writer, visual artist, or some other kind of performer – discovered with the help of the presenter in each location. We welcome the unusual dialogue of the unexpected in these more immediate interactions, giving ourselves only one day in person to rehearse with and get to know this individual. Our hope is to harness the power of new friendships and impending performance to spawn a different type of creativity. And as a consequence, each performance is substantially different, while still clearly building from the same material.

The awarding of an NPN Creation Fund grant has proven vital to the creation of Where (we) Live, both through funding and through the extraordinary help of the three presenters who supported our application: The Walker Art Center, the Myrna Loy Center, and Vermont Performance Lab. We have substantial history with each of these presenters, spanning multiple performances and, in the case of the Myrna Loy Center, our last Creation Fund project Imaginary City. It is this history that allowed these presenters to trust our vision throughout what became the longest gestation process of any project we have ever created.

Each presenter that took part in our Where (we) Live Creation Fund contributed something above and beyond funding. Ed Noonan at the Myrna Loy took on the role of lead presenter, helped us to connect the group that came to support the project, and headed up communication with NPN and among the presenters. At Vermont Performance Lab, Sara Coffey provided us with an absolutely vital residency that included a recording of the music (in collaboration with Guilford Sound recording studio) and three work-in-progress performances, where we explored for the first time the role of the “guest artist” in the show. And Philip Bither at the Walker Art Center provided us three extra days in their hall before the premiere as a final production residency to finalize ideas about lights, sound, and video. Together with a weeklong technical residency at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, these three presenters contributed the majority of the support for the launching of this project.

Our choice to collaborate with the Walker for the Forth Fund was made with an eye towards the future touring of the project. The Walker provided us with the expertise of their in-house videographer to document a performance of the live performance. They funded a three-camera video shoot for one of our performances as well as video of our community outreach, still photography, and multi-channel recordings of both performances in Minneapolis. The material from the three-camera shoot was supplemented with on-stage shooting during our dress rehearsal that allowed for extreme close-up shots. Mixed together with the live performance footage and multi-track recording, we will produce a high quality live performance film as well as promotional materials that describe the project. This project has proven to be one of the most complex we have ever created, and as such it can be incredibly difficult to explain to people (especially potential presenters). These materials will make it much easier to share what the performance is about.

Our initial run of the show included dates at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The Myrna Loy Center in Helena, and The Alberta Bair Theater in Billings. The next performances will take place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater from December 19th to the 22nd 2012. Further touring dates are in the works and will be confirmed soon.

Additional information about the project can be found at:

The Forth Fund is supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. The Creation Fund is supported in part by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

FY13 Summer Community Fund Awards

Contemporary Arts Center – New Orleans, LA
Title: Hannibal Lokumbe’s Music Liberation Orchestra
Description: The CAC and Lokumbe will partner with Orleans Parish Prison for Lokumbe’s Music Liberation Orchestra program, an educational program designed to help break the cycle of incarceration among under-served populations in America’s inner cities. Louisiana incarcerates a higher percentage of its citizens than any other place on earth, and OPP is one of the most overcrowded prisons in the state. One in seven adult black males in New Orleans is in jail, on probation, or on parole. This constitutes a crisis that tears at the fabric of the New Orleans community.
NPN Subsidy: $5000

Columbia College Chicago, Center for Community Art Partnerships – Chicago, IL
Title: The People’s Cook
Description: The Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago will expand a Performance Residency with The Peoples Cook, a performance art group that unites cross-cultural cooking and interdisciplinary art to promote well-being and healthy nutrition. The Community Fund project will work with schools and youth arts organizations to provide four workshops for over 300 children and youth, using storytelling and performance to teach practical cooking skills and healthy nutrition with locally available food.
NPN Subsidy: $4500

Photo (above): The Cooking Show con Karimi,
pictured: Chef Mero Cocinero Karimi (played by Robert Farid Karimi), photographer: Annie Seng

DiverseWorks – Houston, TX
Title: City Council Meeting
Description: DiverseWorks will work with NPN Creation Fund Artist Aaron Landsmans to develop the “City Council Meeting Staffers” a core group of local activists, performers and artists who will facilitate performance discussions, and educate, train and the refine skills of the local artists in community-engaged artistic practice and how to facilitate a community dialogue through theater. The Staffers will work with multiple community groups, including secondary schools, church groups and under-served audiences during a week-long development residency prior to City Council Meeting’s production residency and premiere at DiverseWorks.
NPN Subsidy: $4500

Ashé Cultural Arts Center – New Orleans, LA
Title: Somebody Better Say Something
Description: Ashé, in conjunction with New Orleans-based musician Luther Gray and Chicago’s Hamid Drake will partner youth from Chicago who are disconnected from their community with youth in New Orleans experiencing similar effects from living in communities that are under-served, marginalized and are still recovering from historical trauma. Somebody Better Say Something will open communication between communities by bringing together youth impacted by racism and poverty.
NPN Subsidy: $4000

Pangea World Theater – Minneapolis, MN
Title: Outside the Circle: Expansion of Andrea Assaf and Samuel Valdez’s residency
Description: In March of 2012, Pangea World Theater presented OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE, a piece created and performed by artists Andrea Assaf and Samuel Valdez that addresses issues of the differently-abled community, the queer community and communities of color. Pangea, in collaboration with 20% Theatre Company will bring OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE back to the Twin Cities as part of “Morphologies: A Queer Arts Festival,” and use the performance as starting point to strategically develop audiences from these three communities through dialogue, post-performance discussions and a performance workshop.
NPN Subsidy: $3000

South Dallas Cultural Center – Dallas, TX
Title: Sparky & Rhonda Rucker at SDCC Thriving Minds Programs
Description: South Dallas Cultural Center will enagage Sparky & Rhonda Rucker to work with an invited group of classroom teachers from schools where SDCC has afterschool programs. SDCC’s Thriving Minds After School Programs are in schools with low income, students of color. Currently they have no interaction with the classroom teachers that their students work with every day. SDCC wants to offer two hands on workshops to selected teachers in using music to enhance the social studies curriculum around the history of blacks and Latinos.
NPN Subsidy: $2,300

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