National Performance Network > E-Newsletters > E-Newsletter / January 2013

E-Newsletter / January 2013

Posted: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 9:40 am in E-Newsletters

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Newsletter / January 2013

NPN Annual Report and Directory Now Available

Need to contact a NPN/VAN Partner? Want to see which artists got NPN awards lately? Want to know more generally about NPN’s programs and partnerships in the last year? NPN’s annual report has all this, and more. Download a free copy or order a handsome soft-cover copy in full color from Amazon for only $15.

If it’s Tuesday, it must be Beppu: a travel diary

Renata Petroni chronicles the fall 2012 visit of the U.S. curatorial team to Kyoto and Tokyo, with a unique combination of national history, reflections on urban design and artistic insights.

Read more…

Visual Artists Network Featured at NPN Annual Meeting

VAN had its largest presence ever during the 2012 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. Previous VAN installations have ingeniously used hotel rooms and PODS as sites for artists’ installations. With the participation of Asian Arts Initiative, an NPN Partner who was also on the local host committee, VAN artists had the luxury of a true exhibition space. Kenyatta Hinkle from Los Angeles, Colette Fu and Benjamin Volta, both from Philadelphia, and Leticia Bajuyo from Madison, IN were featured artists at the VAN exhibit which opened on December 14, and remains on view until February 1.

Photo: Singularity, 2012, Leticia Bajuyo, mixed media installation with Theremin, 10 x 14 x 20 feet, Thom Carroll Photography

Wish You Were There

Three critical sessions of the NPN Annual Meeting now live in the cloud, available any where, any time, free of charge at, thanks to #NewPlayTV. Two showcases at Painted Bride are archived, as well as a Community Engagement plenary moderated by Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, with Risë Wilson, Anula Shetty, Carol Bebelle and Gayle Isa.

Congrats! NPN Artists Honored

Each year, United States Artists honors 50 of America’s finest artists with individual fellowship awards of $50,000 each. This year several people with strong NPN connections were selected: Theaster Gates (who delivered the keynote address at NPN’s latest Annual Meeting), Guillermo Gomez-Peña, John Kelly, Kyle Abraham and Keith Hennessey. Learn more about these artists, and the other winners, at

Grateful for the Support…

NPN is proud to announce continued support from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the American Express Foundation. A $45,000 grant from JUSFC will support NPN’s partnership with the Japan Contemporary Dance Network, which promotes cultural exchanges among U.S. and Japanese performing artists through its pilot project, US/Japan Connection. Additionally, NPN’s Mentorship and Leadership Initiative (MLI) received $25,000 from the American Express Foundation, on behalf of American Express, to support leadership development opportunities for arts administrators, curators and artists.

On the Road Again….with Doin’ it on the Road

NPN will hold a series of daylong workshops for performing artists learning how best to tour their work. Held in conjunction with NPN’s mid-year meetings, workshops will be held on April 10 in Tulsa, OK hosted by Living Arts of Tulsa; April 23 in New York City, hosted by New York Live Arts; May 7 in Seattle, hosted by On the Boards; and one in New Orleans in June hosted by Ashé Cultural Arts Center, at a time to be announced. Information on how to register for the free workshops will appear in future issues!

In Memoriam: Phyllis Slattery

Phyllis Slattery died suddenly on December 18, 2012 after a brief illness. She was the director of Dance Umbrella in Austin, one of NPN’s earliest Partners. Read more about Phyllis’ contributions to the field of contemporary dance and a reflection by NPN President and CEO, MK Wegmann.


NPN regrets that an editing error totally confused the identities of anonymous bodies || art collective and Team Sunshine Performance, two Philadelphia companies who performed at NPN’s recent Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. Check here for the corrected article and accurate photo caption!

If it’s Tuesday, it must be Beppu: a travel diary

The NPN Asia curator team, comprised of Yolanda Cursach (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago), F. John Herbert (Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids), Dawnell Smith (Out North, Anchorage), Kyoko Yoshida (U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network president and project facilitator) and MK Wegmann and Renata Petroni (NPN staff) traveled to Japan October 2-8, 2012 to see a wide range of live work and to meet with NPN Japanese counterparts for the U.S./Japan Connection, an exchange project of the NPN International Program developed in partnership with the Japan Contemporary Dance Network (JCDN). Unlike past trips which featured longer stays, this trip blazed through three cities in six days — four actually, if we count the city of arrival.

Photo (above): 1,000 Standing Images of Kannon (Important cultural property)

The U.S. curatorial team arrived in Fukuoka on October 2 where they spent the night in an anonymous hotel waiting to take the train in the morning to Beppu, the first stop on the journey. Located in Oita Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in the South of Japan, Beppu is a small city of about 100,000 people, famous for its unique and visually stunning volcanic hot springs known as the Eight Hells of Beppu, the largest spa in Japan. The city offers a number of onsen (hot springs spas) that, together with the Eight Hells, are the main economic engine of Beppu — four million people each year visit the famous hot springs.

Immediately after checking into a stunning Ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) recommended by Nori Sato, the director of the Japan Contemporary Dance Network, the team attended a five-hour working meeting with the JCDN partners to discuss the structure of the exchange. In a previous meeting held in Yokohama in February 2012, it became clear that the different needs and structures of the two networks, as well as the different funding systems in Japan and the U.S., required a flexible reciprocity structure. As the NPN is a network of presenters and JCDN is a network of producers who support the creation of new work and are not set up to present existing work, a reciprocal exchange had to be designed with multiple components. Since the touring component of Japanese artists coming to the U.S. was a clear-cut decision, the discussion focused on the creative residency/presentation of U.S. artists in Japan. Although the practical and economic details of the exchange are still to be worked out, the outlining of the structure is in place.

Following the meeting, Mr. Sato invited all the participants to visit an abandoned shopping arcade which was the site for the visual arts and site-specific dance festival that Mr. Sato was organizing in an attempt to revitalize the area. The day ended with a communal meal in a traditional restaurant.

The following day, the U.S. team took two trains to Kyoto, a city of about 1.5 million inhabitants located in the center of Japan on the island of Honshu. Kyoto, established in the 8th Century A.D., was the first capital of Japan and the seat of the imperial court until the mid-19th Century when the capital was transferred to Tokyo following the Hamaguri rebellion that destroyed a large part of the capital. Designed on a grid like the Chinese cities of the time, Kyoto is a compact and efficient city with hundreds of temples ranging from small shrines to towering edifices overlooking the city from the surrounding mountains. In Kyoto, the U.S. curatorial team visited the Kyoto Art Center where they saw a film installation by Billie Cowie and a dance workshop by Tomohiko Kyogoku. They also met with Yusuke Hashimoto, the director of Kyoto Experiment, a three-year old festival that is joining the ranks of the important national festivals. The following morning, the team spent a few hours visiting the spectacular temple of Sanjusangen-do with its 1,000 standing sculptures of the god Kannon before attending several performances at the Nuit Blanche, a visual arts and performance festival which started at 6pm and lasted through the night. The team’s energy was exhausted by 10pm but not before they attended a dance performance by Selenographica and a spectacular media event by the collective Machideco International who made the Manga Museum outer walls come alive through projection mapping. At the French Institute they attended Dance in Building 2012, an interactive dance/theater performance by local dance/theater company Monochrome Circus.

On the fourth day, the team headed East to Tokyo where they were hosted by the Tokyo Dance Triennale. After checking in, they traversed Tokyo by subway to meet with the producers of the Setagaya Theater, an impressive complex of three theaters and rehearsal spaces that produces and presents large-scale works. After the meeting, they hopped on the subway again to go to a symposium on dance organized by the Triennale. On their last day in Japan, the team met with members of Faifai, a Tokyo-based theater group selected by the U.S./Japan Connection U.S. curators to tour in the U.S. in November/December 2013; with Kenji Matsumoto of the Japan Foundation; and with the director of the Tokyo Dance Triennale. They also attended Love Fire, a performance by Israeli choreographer Jasmine Goddard and Japan Focus, a showcase of Japanese choreographers including Hideto Heshiki, Maki Tabata, 21st Century Geba-Geba Dance Company and Mikiko Kawamura.

On October 8th, the team left Japan with a great sense of accomplishment. Jet lag and exhaustion did not take away from the thrill of seeing new sites, meeting a number of new colleagues, seeing interesting work and making strides in formulating the structure of the U.S./Japan Connection project.

In Memoriam: Phyllis Slattery

Photo: Phyllis Slattery as Chaucia in “Wallpaper Psalm,” courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

Phyllis A. Porreca Slattery, of Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, formerly of Austin, Texas, died suddenly on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol after a brief illness. She was 54. Born in Trenton, NJ, Phyllis was raised in Fairless Hills. She was a 1976 graduate of Bishop Conwell High School and was a 1984 graduate of NYU with a major in theater.

Her life was the theater. Phyllis was in the business for 30 years and was well known in her industry. She had the opportunity to meet many talented actors and actresses over that period. She was currently the Director of Marketing for the Bristol Riverside Theater in Bristol and was the founder and executive director of the Dance Umbrella Theater Group for the past 25 years in Austin, TX.

MK Wegmann wrote of Phyllis’ contributions to NPN and the world of contemporary dance:

Phyllis was at the NPN table almost from the beginning. She was a tremendous resource for her region and the nation over the course of many years. She supported and presented theatre and dance artists from all over the world and was an active commissioner of new work. At various points, Phyllis established and ran a space, Synergy Studio, conducted a long-term choreographers’ lab that assisted regional choreographers in the creation of new work, and, through Dance Umbrella, provided support to numerous dance artists and companies. She was an invaluable asset to the performing arts field including working on her own creative endeavors. Phyllis’ loss leaves a tremendous gap in the contemporary arts field and she will be sorely missed.

I especially remember how loyal and supportive Phyllis was when NPN was moving to New Orleans and struggling to rebuild; in fact, the NPN board meeting that decided we would continue was held in Austin in September 2000. Her affirmation of the value of NPN to her work helped make that decision possible.

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