News & Events

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

NPN/VAN Launches New Strategic Planning Process

Posted: Monday, October 16th, 2017 at 4:11 pm in News

Strategic Planning

At a recent Board of Directors meeting in Pittsburgh, NPN/VAN launched a new strategic planning process, led by the consulting team of Justin Laing and Ian David Moss. Laing and Moss were selected from a competitive pool of consultants who responded to our strategic plan RFP and together they bring a diverse set of experiences and skills. Their strategic planning philosophy rests on three pillars: the invitation to explore, reflect, try, fail, and succeed offered by iterative planning; the rigorous understanding of causes and effects generated through a theory of change; and the integration of these ideas with a racial and cultural equity lens.

NPN/VAN is in a time of change, and through this planning process we are reimagining the organization – its mission, vision, and core values – and embracing the opportunity for transformation. The planning process also includes two parallel projects, to ensure a holistic engagement with the history, operations, and systems that make up NPN/VAN: the Knowledge Building Initiative, led by Paul Bonin Rodriguez; and a year-long consultancy on financial sustainability with the Nonprofit Finance Fund. We are grateful for generous support from The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for our strategic planning process and consultancy with Laing and Moss; to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for our work with Nonprofit Finance Fund; and to the National Endowment for the Arts for the Knowledge Building Initiative.

“The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is a long-time supporter of NPN/VAN’s vital work, and we are pleased to partner with them as they write their next chapter,” says Maurine Knighton, Program Director for the Arts at The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “NPN/VAN has crafted a thoughtful, holistic, and coordinated approach to strategic planning that is centered on serving artists. We look forward to learning from the course set by their new vision and seeing the positive influence it will have on the artistic community for generations to come.”

The year-long planning process will include engagement with our Partners, artists, colleagues, and funders, through surveys and research as well as face-to-face convenings at our annual conference in December in San Francisco. NPN/VAN’s strategic planning committee is chaired by Shannon Daut, Director of City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs, who recently completed a six-year term on the NPN/VAN Board of Directors. Committee members include Board and staff of NPN/VAN, artists, Partners, and colleagues.

We are excited to dive into this work over the next year and to emerge with a new roadmap that ensures we are focused and responsive in our work and reflects an unwavering commitment to building new systems rooted in justice. We look forward to seeking your input and sharing our new theory of change with you!

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About Justin Laing: Justin Laing has lived in Pittsburgh for 25 years and has spent more than 20 years in the non-profit sector. Most recently, Laing worked for The Heinz Endowments as Senior Program Officer for Arts & Culture, planning projects in arts and culture as well as community development. In 2017 he founded Hillombo LLC to focus on his consulting work. Hillombo’s aim is to lift Black perspectives and negotiate and build alternatives to systemic racism and capitalism. Laing’s consulting work focuses on collaborative planning processes that themselves increase racial equity by centering race in the planning questions and being certain that ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) voices are visible, noted, and included in the plan’s eventual strategies. He served on the board of Grantmakers in the Arts and was the chair of its Thought Leader Forum on Racial Equity; additionally, he is a Commissioner on the City of Pittsburgh’s Equal Opportunity Review Commission, on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and a member of Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc. Laing has a B.A. in Black Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, a Masters in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and studied Capoeira Angola for 12 years with Mestre Nego Gato.

About Ian David Moss: Ian David Moss specializes in the alignment of evidence and strategy within large institutions and across complex ecosystems. Over the past decade, strategic frameworks that Moss helped create have guided the distribution of nearly $100 million in grants, and he is frequently called upon to advise funders and service organizations. As one of the arts sector’s leading practitioners of theory of change, he recently worked with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation on the foundation’s Building Demand for the Arts program, and he co-created the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s first-ever theory of change for the performing arts. For more than seven years, Moss was part of the leadership team at Fractured Atlas, and in 2007 he founded Createquity, an internationally acclaimed think tank and online publication investigating the most important issues in the arts and what we can do about them. He holds BA and MBA degrees from Yale University and is based in Washington, DC.

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Emergency Relief 2017

Posted: Thursday, September 28th, 2017 at 4:59 pm in Field News, News

Emergency Relief

2017 has been one of the most disastrous years concerning weather related events in U.S. history. Recovery efforts and assessment in the continental U.S. and its territories including Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands are ongoing. As families, nonprofits and businesses continue to rebuild their lives, we know the road to recovery will be challenging. The NPN/VAN staff and Board of Directors along with other national and regional arts service organizations, state agencies, and funders are collectively supporting our colleagues and individual artists during their time of need now and in the future. We will continue to post updates on recovery efforts and links to resources. Information is listed in separate categories for Artists, Arts Organizations and To Make A Donation.

Resources for Artists

The Actors Fund has emergency financial assistance and resources available to everyone who works in performing arts (actors, dancers, musicians, stagehands, playwrights, tech crew, and many more). For information regarding the Entertainment Assistance Program visit: www.actorsfund.org/GetHelp

  • Texas artists and art organizations should contact the Los Angeles Office at 323.933.9244, ext. 455 and intakela@actorsfund.org
     
  • Louisiana artists and art organizations should contact the New York City Office at 212.221.7300, ext. 119 and intakeny@actorsfund.org

 

Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grants
The Foundation provides grants to tenured professional visual artists working in the disciplines of painting, sculpture, or printmaking. The maximum amount of this grant is $15,000; an award of $5,000 is typical.
www.gottliebfoundation.org/emergency-grant/

 

Ambulantes.com
A blog providing up-to-date information on Puerto Rico and how to help.
www.losambulantes.com/help-puerto-rico/

 

Alliance for Artists Communities – Emergency Relief Programs
In the event of a natural disaster, the Alliance contacts its network of more than 150 residency programs to identify immediate and short-term availability of residencies. They work with affected artists (painter or sculptor) to take advantage of these residency opportunities, including grants of up to $1,000.
www.artistcommunities.org/emergency-relief-programs

 

Artists’ Fellowship Financial Assistance
The Artists’ Fellowship provides emergency aid to professional visual artists and their families in times of natural disaster or unexpected extreme hardship. Here is the application form.

 

CERF+
www.cerfplus.org

  • Emergency Relief for Artists Working In Craft Disciplines: Contact CERF+ at relief@cerfplus.org to see if you are eligible for grants up to $6,000, no-interest loans up to $9,000, and other assistance.
     
  • The Studio Protector online guide is the source for emergency preparedness and recovery information for artists. Visit the site now for suggested measures to take in advance of and in the aftermath of a hurricane.

 

Change, Inc. – Emergency Grants
Emergency grants of up to $1,000 for artists in all disciplines in need of emergency aid. Evidence of established professional status is required. For detail on how to apply, call 212-473-3742 for recorded instructions. Send applications to: PO Box 1818, Sanibel, Florida 33957

 

Creative Relief Louisiana
To help artists and arts organizations impacted in Louisiana, please visit:
creativerelieflouisiana.org

Regional arts councils are working with state agencies in Louisiana and Texas, as well as national and regional agencies to assist in providing response, relief and recovery resources to artists and arts organizations affected by Hurricane Harvey/Tropical Storm Harvey.

 

Disaster Assistance.gov
To find help for your immediate needs, visit this website to identify resources in your area:
www.disasterassistance.gov

 

FEMA
Find up-to-date information on FEMA's response in areas recently impacted by the hurricanes and tropical storms (Texas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) visit their website. To apply for assistance, how to help, and how to search for loved ones visit their website:
www.fema.gov

 

Fresh Arts
EMERGENCY RESOURCES FOR HOUSTON ARTISTS (and non-artists too!)
In light of the unbelievable devastation Hurricane Harvey has unleashed on Houston and surrounding areas of the Texas gulf coast, Fresh Arts has compiled an "Emergency Resources for Artists" Google Spreadsheet that can be found here. The sheet includes national emergency artist grants/funding opportunities, general resource guides, local emergency response info, and links to area shelters, volunteer opportunities and more. While several resources are listed for individual artists and arts organizations, MANY of the listed resources apply to anyone in need.

 

Foundation for Contemporary Arts
Emergency Grant Deadline
Assistance for individual artists. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis monthly:
www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org/grants/emergency-grants

 

Greater Houston Community Foundation
For those seeking help from local Texas resources:
ghcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Hurricane-Harvey-Resources-NEED-HELP-2017-08-30-700PM.pdf

 

Haven Foundation Grants
The Foundation grants to safeguard and sustain the careers of established freelance artists, writers and other members of the arts and art production communities during times of difficulty.
www.thehavenfdn.org/application

 

Hero Initiative – Helping Comic Creators in Need
Applicants must have been working as a comic book writer, penciller, inker, colorist, or letterer on a work-for-hire basis for no less than 10 years to be eligible.
www.heroinitiative.org/eligibility-help/

 

Jazz Foundation of America
The Foundation’s Housing and Emergency Assistance program provides jazz and blues artists with an experienced social worker to assess his/her situation and provide rapid assistance, including financial assistance. Contact: info@jazzfoundation.org or 212-245-3999.
www.jazzfoundation.org/what-we-do/housing-and-emergency-assistance

 

The Joan Mitchell: Emergency Grant Program
The Joan Mitchell Foundation provides emergency support to US based visual artists working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and/or drawing, who have suffered significant losses after natural or manmade disasters that have affected their community. Artists who have been negatively impacted due to catastrophic situations of this nature can apply to the Foundation for funding. Please contact the Joan Mitchell Foundation for additional information at info@joanmitchellfoundation.org and for more info visit:
joanmitchellfoundation.org/artist-programs/artist-grants/emergency

 

Hurricane Harvey LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund
The LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund, managed by the Montrose Center, will be used to help individuals and families begin to rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more. The Center’s dedicated case management team is on call to help homeless youth, seniors, people living with HIV, hate crime survivors, and those devastated by the storm. For volunteer opportunities please visit:
www.montrosecenter.org/hub/volunteer-2-2/

While the Montrose Center will focus primarily on empowering the LGBTQ community to rebuild after the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, we serve all people in need regardless of their sexuality.
my.reason2race.com/DNicol/HurricaneHarveyLGBTQDisasterReliefFund2017

 

Louisiana Association for Nonprofits Organizations (LANO)
A resource page for nonprofit organizations in Louisiana as you begin to identify needs and next steps.
www.lano.org/?page=17Harvey

 

MusiCares
MusiCares has announced the establishment of a relief fund to support members of the music community (includes producers, sound engineers, musicians songwriters, and others) affected by the recent devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Assistance includes coverage of basic living expenses such as shelter, food, utilities, and transportation; medical expenses, including doctor and hospital bills, and medications; clothing; instrument and recording equipment replacement; relocation costs; home repairs; debris removal; and more. For more information visit their website at www.grammy.com/musicares.  The following link is for an application for disaster relief:
www.grammy.com/sites/com/files/mc_disaster_relief_app.pdf

 

PEN America 
The PEN Writers’ Emergency Fund is an emergency fund for professional—published or produced—writers in acute, emergency financial crisis. Depending on the situation, the Fund gives grants of up to $2,000.
pen.org/writers-emergency-fund/

 

Texas Workforce Commission – Disaster Unemployment Assistance
If you lost your job or work because of Hurricane Harvey, you can apply for unemployment benefits.  You may be eligible for DUA if one of the following occurred as a direct result of the disaster:

  • You lost your job, which was more than 50% of your total income.
  • You live in, work in, or travel through the disaster area.
  • Your place of employment was damaged or closed.
  • You were scheduled to start work but the job no longer exists or you can no longer reach the new job.
  • You suffered injury or incapacitation.
  • You became the breadwinner or major support of the household due to the death of the head of household.

www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/disaster-unemployment-assistance

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Resources for Art Organizations

Americans for the Arts
Are You or Do You Know an Arts Organization Affected by Irma?
www.americansforthearts.org/by-topic/disaster-preparedness/hurricane-irma-relief

There are many locations for resources and information on disaster response and recovery. Here are some of the resources we have found to help you in your recovery.

  • The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs listing of disaster recovery resources.
  • Georgia Council for the Arts lists publications and resources of disaster preparedness and response.
  • The Florida Art Therapy Association is available for those dealing with the mental strain of recovery and response
  • The Florida Association of Public Art Professionals has resources for hurricane impacted public art collections.
  • The Tampa Arts Council provides a list of post-Irma resources for the arts and cultural organizations.
  • The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs released a message from the Director regarding recovery and assessment
  • The National Endowment for the Arts has extended their Art Works grants program due to Hurricane Irma.
  • The National Heritage Responders (NHR) responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public.
  • UNESCO is in close contact with local authorities, assisting with efforts to assess damage to cultural heritage in the region including the Virgin Islands and Florida.  More information will be posted as it becomes available.

 

Arts Ready

 

Creative Relief Louisiana
To help artists and arts organizations impacted in Louisiana, please visit:
creativerelieflouisiana.org

Regional arts councils are working with state agencies in Louisiana and Texas, as well as national and regional agencies to assist in providing response, relief and recovery resources to artists and arts organizations affected by Hurricane Harvey/Tropical Storm Harvey.

 

Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) Project
For performing arts and cultural heritage organizations needing recovery assistance, please contact PAR Project Director Tom Clareson via email at tom.clareson@lyrasis.org or via phone or text at (614) 439-1796 and he will put you in contact with the PAR Partner(s) who can provide you with the most appropriate assistance. performingartsreadiness.org

 

Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA)
TCA is concerned about the arts organizations and artists impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Visit their website for information about resources that may be helpful.
www.arts.texas.gov/resources/hurricane-harvey-resources/ 

 

Texas Workforce Commission – Disaster Unemployment Assistance
If you lost your job or work because of Hurricane Harvey, you can apply for unemployment benefits.  You may be eligible for DUA if one of the following occurred as a direct result of the disaster:

  • You lost your job, which was more than 50% of your total income.
  • You live in, work in, or travel through the disaster area.
  • Your place of employment was damaged or closed.
  • You were scheduled to start work but the job no longer exists or you can no longer reach the new job.
  • You suffered injury or incapacitation.
  • You became the breadwinner or major support of the household due to the death of the head of household.

www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/disaster-unemployment-assistance

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If you want to Make a Donation

American Red Cross
Donations will support the larger Houston community. Please visit the Hurricane Harvey Relief website at:
www.redcross.org/donate/donation

 

Charity Navigator
To make a donation to national and local organizations that are providing food, shelter, and medical support for those in need, here is a list of highly rated charities responding in the wake of the Hurricane Harvey devastation.
www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=5239

 

Greater Houston Community Foundation
For those wanting to make monetary and/or in-kind donations, please visit the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund website:
ghcf.org

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E-Newsletter / August 16, 2017

Posted: Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 10:54 am in E-Newsletters

Physical Translations: Notes and observations from a conversation with Darrell Jones, Justin Mitchell, and J’Sun Howard

Posted: Friday, August 11th, 2017 at 3:37 pm in International Program Reflections

By Grace Walters and Milena Berbenkova, Links Hall

Introduction

The U.S.-Japan Connection is part of the International Program of the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN). In 2014 as part of the project, Links Hall in Chicago, The Flynn Center in Burlington, Vermont, and Fusebox Festival in Austin, Texas, were selected to join three curatorial partners in Japan: Kyoto Experiment Festival, Dance Box in Kobe and NPO Arts Link for a three-year term to foster meaningful artistic and cultural exchange between Japan and the U.S.. Led by Kyoko Yoshida, project director/consultant, the partners were able to learn about artists and organizations and the strengths and challenges of cultural production in Austin, Burlington, Chicago, Kobe, Kyoto, Portland, Rikuzen-Takada, Shiogama, Tokyo, Tulsa, and Yokohama.

Together the U.S.-Japan curatorial team developed a new model of artistic exchange: providing concurrent residencies and performance opportunities in both countries for a Japanese dance artist and an American dance artist. Their goal was to create new works by learning from each other’s cultures and ways of making. This would build upon the strengths of Dance Box and Links Hall as incubators and The Flynn, Fusebox Festival and Kyoto Experiment Festival as presenters.

The two artists invited to partner with NPN’s U.S.-Japan Connection team were Chicago-based choreographer Darrell Jones and Tokyo-based choreographer Kaori Seki. The first leg included a month-long residency in the U.S. in November-December 2016 including Thanksgiving in Burlington, the NPN Annual Meeting in Austin, and three weeks working in the studios at Links Hall. Darrell and Kaori and their collaborators sat in on each other’s rehearsals, participated in each other’s workshops and warm-ups, and began their research into creating their separate new works.

The second leg took place in May 2017, as Darrell, Kaori and their collaborators then spent three weeks at Dance Box in Kobe furthering their research and development and offering workshops to the local community of dancers. Darrell and Kaori have returned to their home bases to further their works’ development. Darrell will premiere his new work CLUTCH at the Kyoto Experiment Festival in November 2017 followed by the Chicago premiere of CLUTCH at Links Hall in April 2018 on a shared weekend with Kaori Seki’s new work as part of a U.S. tour.

Links Hall’s Associate Producer Milena Berbenkova and Apprentice Producer Grace Walters sat down with Darrell Jones and two of his collaborators, J’Sun Howard and Justin Mitchell, to learn more about their recent residency at Dance Box in Kobe.

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During the residency at Dance Box in Kobe, Japan, Darrell Jones focused on community workshops as a method of building material for his new work CLUTCH. As an artist Jones has spent years analyzing oppression as it lives in the body and excavating how individuals accumulate identity and mirror culture through movement. CLUTCH responds meaningfully to the need to build interpersonal empathetic bridges between individuals. In this liminal space, he engages a powerful question about the ontological reality of oppression. Can we transcend oppressive structures through movement? And can we help one another to find restorative moments of liberation? Over the course of the residency Jones conducted workshops every other morning; Kaori Seki led workshops on the alternate dates. These workshops incorporated both choreographers’ ensembles as well as the Dance Box community.

Jones’ reflection on his experience developing CLUTCH in Kobe unveiled how significant cross-cultural engagement can be to uncovering the truths of our own culture’s oppressive forces. Spending workshop time with movers from another country, the choreographers were instantly able to start picking up small, embodied differences between the groups through the everyday postures and inherent movement patterns of the countries and communities in which they grew up. Working next to an international peer gave Jones the space to question how we have developed differently – what influences set personal patterns and shaped rhythms and reactions.

The first major difference the artists discussed was around sound and how it imprints or expresses itself on and from the body. Justin Mitchell shared, “I think as Americans we are pretty boisterous and noisy and that I think is reflected in the way we hold ourselves in space, especially as people of color, that is part of life. The celebration and the expression of that is through noise and that felt like a really stark contrast to being in Japan and their practice and kind of silence. And it was pretty quiet at night where we were living, like almost deadly silent. It was like we were out in the country, but we weren’t; we were in the city. And so there was this economy of noise.” Jones added, “I was going to use the word ‘volume’ because it also felt like in how space was shaped — of how the bodies use space — just the volume that they take up in space, the volume that we take up in space, the volume of the size of our country, the volume of the size of their country. The density of the size of their country. On a practical and also a subconscious level it affects the way you relate yourself in space, your volume and also your sound and the way that you hold your body. “

CLUTCH looks at how we have been trained to move by our cultures – how as a child Jones was trained to shun any “feminine” movements. Diving into a workshop-based creation process with Kaori without a shared verbal language created a platform for Jones to communicate in more embodied ways, unpacking movements that were socially impressed upon movers from the U.S. and how they differed from movements socially impressed upon movers who were from Japan.

Even in simple tasks the American and Japanese dancers differed in physical expression. Finding himself submerged in this communal method of devising on an international field, Jones’ starting focus was on “translation,” speaking about the literal, verbal translation that he went through as he attempted to communicate verbally with Japanese dancers and movers, as well as the translation of physical communication he experienced in learning to understand the ways in which Japanese dancers moved.

Justin Mitchell, Darrell’s DJ/Sound Artist collaborator, noticed that “the language gap” regularly created situations where participants were “reaching for communal understanding.” Mitchell offered that “as individuals sometimes the Japanese dancers didn’t understand [Darrell’s] instruction, but as a group they seemed to pool their understanding and find a collective way of communicating.” Mitchell also noted “being able to communicate through music and movement was a bridge when language couldn’t fill in the gaps. We were able to communicate stories and foster understanding about who we were and that was a really powerful tool to have.”  Over the process of watching these bodies with their different cultural accumulations communicate with each other, Jones became fascinated by “translations of movements in the body, how given a directive, a certain demographic of bodies might respond very differently.”  For instance, when Jones cued with a hand gesture “to gather and be ready to move together” American dancers reacted by getting low to the ground and balancing on the balls of their feet, “like basketball players.” The Japanese dancers on the other hand responded by coming together and standing completely upright.

Initially Jones interpreted this posture as distancing or withholding from “readiness” until he saw a singer perform in a club in Kobe. In the crowded venue, the singer was sitting down and someone in the front recognized that they were blocking others’ view of the stage and squatted. Within seconds the entire crowd had dropped to the ground in the same position so everyone could see. The audience had assumed a state of readiness based on the needs of the specific scenario; they figured out how to be “ready” as a whole. He brought this back into the studio with the realization that the Japanese dancers were not un-ready in their upright position, but rather they were prepared to act together. Throughout the residency Jones sought these small differences of movement, posture, and embodied communication as the grounds where he could investigate the different cultural forces that shape physical vocabulary that unconsciously instruct or oppress bodies.

Since both Jones and his collaborators and Kaori Seki and hers observed each other’s studio time outside of the workshops, they were able to discover philosophical commonalities, especially around “disruption.” Mitchell observed that Seki’s work with her collaborators involved “a lot of balance work and off-balance work that was trying to get at disrupting this sense of what the body’s been conditioned into doing and behaviors of what the body’s used to doing.” Mitchell went on to say, “I think maybe that’s something we carry with us as Americans, too. As Black Americans, the ability to disrupt traditions in order to get at something new out of something old, to really access liberation.”

This new residency model functioned primarily as a peer-to-peer exchange. Jones and his ensemble brought experiences to share and received many in return. Reflecting on Seki’s rehearsals, Jones recalls watching his Japanese counterpart directing her ensemble through intricate weight-bearing exercises, pressing them to not take the simplest or most understood route, and complicating their physical engagements. Seki’s process of complicating movement was in counterpoint to Jones’ own process of finding ways to simplify. “I think our environment [in the U.S.] is complicated,” Jones reflected. “[In Japan] I knew that I didn’t have to worry about certain things. I didn’t worry about my public safety. I let go of my guard while I was there, so it felt like my thought processes were a little simpler…. Whenever I get the opportunity to get in the studio and make things simple, it feels like a luxury.”

J’Sun Howard agreed that existing felt simpler in Kobe: “I could just go do the work and not have to look over my shoulder and think ‘oh, there’s a police car’.” Jones himself says he’s “still digesting” the difference and that when he returned home he held onto the sense of “Oh, I’m really calm. I’m so safe and when I wake up I’m going to have my tea” like in Japan. Jones eventually felt that the environment in the U.S. was too different to maintain the tranquility. As a result, some of the work they are doing in the studio now is figuring out what influences from their time in Kobe will become part of CLUTCH and what influences won’t work for the project within their home environment.

The ensemble is definitely retaining the vocabulary of shared experiences that they now have after participating in Seki’s workshops. These communal, focused moments have made new imprints on their movement patterns that continue to affect their conversations about the development of the work. Jones didn’t feel like they learned a technique, per se, but rather they were able to “try things on their bodies.” They are continuing to acknowledge physical moments in their process that originated with experiences they shared with her but when placed on their bodies “morphs into something else.” Howard specifically pointed to “time,” which Jones referenced as “Kaori Pace” as a significant lingering influence from their shared experience with the Japanese choreographer. Howard implied that this pacing lingers because it resonated with the needs of the material they’re investigating: “If we’re talking about disruption or liberation, that takes a long time. I felt like when I was in [her] class it took time to get to where we needed to go.”

The American artists also mentioned how fruitful the low-pressure structure of the international exchange was for them. To Jones this process of shared experience rather than collaboration was “more beneficial to me than certain collaborations where we make something together. Sometimes that can be a good friction, but having an experience together that we can bring back to the work we’re doing feels very valuable.”  Not having the pressure to collaborate allowed both artists and ensembles the opportunity to impact each other in a way that, according to Jones, didn’t “feel like appropriating movement, but referencing an experience we shared together.”

Jones says that like “Kaori Pace” other physical habits from their time in Kobe “emerge in my body sometimes.” In addition, Jones’ partner was able to join him in Japan toward the end of the residency, and Jones was able to witness first-hand the process of his partner’s body learning and adapting to the new culture’s movement patterns. “It was beautiful because I saw his body change because of the mass of the culture. I just saw him intuitively orient himself around that. It’s that kind of perspective, when you’re inside something you don’t see how it’s affecting you and you need somebody from the outside to be like ‘wow, your tone has changed’.”

Through NPN’s U.S.-Japan Connection, Darrell Jones and the CLUTCH ensemble were able to witness the accumulation of culturally dictated physical identity and work across two different cultures to disrupt learned technique and ways of communicating. Jones, Howard and Mitchell promised to let us know how this experience continues to impact them as they have just started to process their experience.

One thing they are all certain of is they are grateful to NPN/VAN for the experience, especially as Jones worried, “I think we are at a time when these kind of programs might feel like they’re not important or like money might be diverted to other things.” For all four of the artists it was their first time in Japan and for Howard it was his first time out of the country. Jones, Howard and Mitchell all agreed that we can learn so much about ourselves – about our culture and how we move and think and feel – by spending time elsewhere. Jones hopes this article will “extend what we experienced to a wider group of people because not everyone gets the privilege to get out of this (gestured to encompass America).”

Darrell Jones: So thank you, thank you
Justin Mitchell: thank you
J’Sun Howard: Arigatōgozaimasu
Justin Mitchell: with a bow.

Thoughts from Outgoing Board members Rosie Gordon-Wallace and Shannon Daut

Posted: Friday, August 11th, 2017 at 3:23 pm in News

Rosie

1. What does NPN/VAN mean to you?

My involvement with NPN/VAN has been a long conscientious journey and it took many twists and turns. To quote André Lorde, “I have come to believe … that what is most important to me must be made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it misunderstood.” This environment has been dear to me because I am here with my “tribe” and I have grown and deepened my ability to serve through service. I will miss the meetings and the camaraderie very much. Hopefully, you all will call up the sistah frequently. 🙂

The Partners, staff and board of directors at NPN/VAN inspire me as the organization brings together artistic leaders who represent achievement in their professional lives. I recognize and honor their work and lives. I honor the amazing diversity and friendships I have cultivated. I appreciate the support over the past ten years and look forward to what we still need to accomplish together.

I will recall the changes brought about by our collaborations and the interactive discussions and live presentations that will trigger memories and provoke new insights. I will reflect on the lessons learned in trying to improve support for artists and communities. I will hold dear what I take away from the NPN/VAN experience to inform my future endeavors.

Given the extraordinary time in which we live, it is no surprise that I will miss the discussions at the board level and among member friends, much of which is focused on the role of NPN/VAN in the conversations on current cultural policy and equity. As we prepare to meet the systematic challenges that persist of underfunding of Native American, Rural, Black, and Latinx organizations, we must continue to push for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

2. What has being on the NPN/VAN board meant to you?  How did it influence you over the years?

The service on the NPN /VAN board means a commitment to fostering diversity and artistic exploration. It means seeking always to integrate the arts into the public experience, further artistic pluralism and act as an advocate for cultural equity and social justice. We advocate for greater support for artists regardless of means or access to resources. It is critical that artists be paid. It is important that artists tour their creations and exhibit their visual arts. It is so important to garner public and private support that will invest in artists and the organizations that support them. But as we advocate for greater support, it is critical that organizations continue providing dedicated support by paying artists at whatever cost.

3. How involved will you be in NPN/VAN after your board membership?

I will remain actively involved with NPN/VAN and will be here to volunteer as we continue to our social action that speaks to our mission of inclusion and diversity. In this xenophobic atmosphere, this is what I have dedicated my life to and I need to be with “my tribe” to feel encouraged and to encourage.

4. What message do you have for the current board members and advise to the incoming members?

As a founder, I long for the sweet comfortable spot that assures me I have stability and an independent organization that will flourish without me. What are the odds of that? (Ha!) Likewise, as a board, they must act as a fiduciary body, supporting the programs and partners and our new CEO and staff. How they approach fundraising and how they think of development and what success looks like will continue to be important. How they trust the friendships made and become ambassadors for NPN/VAN will deepen the joy with which they serve. I welcome the new board members, one of which is an artist DVCAI introduced to the network. So I am proud.

5. Tell us something you would like people to know about yourself.

I am young and fun! I cherish and hold dear friendships made and I love working with next-generation professionals who are optimistic, bright and fearless. See you all at the annual conference in December 2017.

 

Shannon

1. What does NPN/VAN mean to you?

NPN/VAN has been a profound and significant organization for me, both personally and professionally. I entered the NPN family back when I was a young arts administrator. My first experience was the Western regional meeting, held in Montana in 2003, which coincided with the NPN-supported Geyserland, a site-specific video installation on a train. It blew my mind and instantly expanded my conception about the possibilities of artistic expression and art experiences. Over the years, the intersections of the arts with social and racial justice that NPN/VAN embodies challenged me to interrogate my own complicity in the racist, patriarchal and hegemonic systems that exist in every fiber of our nation’s (and citizenry’s) fabric. And yet, NPN/VAN is joyous, exuberant and fun, celebrating the arts, artists and our shared humanity. I cherish the friendships I have made through NPN/VAN and know they will continue on.

2. What has being on the NPN/VAN board meant to you?  How did it influence you over the years?

NPN/VAN was my first national board experience and I learned so much about the regular organizational things like governance and financial oversight but, more importantly, I learned about the tremendous value of holding shared values firmly within every aspect of the organization. In my time on the board, I moved from Denver to Anchorage to Santa Monica. NPN/VAN was a throughline that helped me stay rooted in my own values and instill a deep sense of purpose into each organization I led.

The board and organization evolved significantly during my tenure–we diversified even more, the organization moved into a new space, we managed the significant transition of leadership from our long-time CEO, MK Wegmann, to our new leader, Caitlin Strokosch. We said a heart-wrenching goodbye to Wesley Montgomery, and welcomed new lives (both human and furry) into the family. We went to awesome parties hosted by MK at her wonderful home, which features the best balcony patio in all of New Orleans. Through it all, the NPN/VAN staff, board, partners and friends continued the necessary work to make this world a more just, art-filled and soulful place.

3. How involved will you be in NPN/VAN after your board membership?

I am excited that I will get to continue my work with the organization because I am chairing NPN/VAN’s Strategic Planning Committee, which has been doing work in the background for the past year and will begin the actual planning process very soon. NPN/VAN is at a critical point in its life, and now is the time to envision the next wave of the organization’s work. With all that is going on in our world, the timing could not be more critical for NPN/VAN to reaffirm its values of social and racial justice, while exploring new paths to providing meaningful national leadership that will advance these causes and be deeply rooted in honoring the role of artists and communities in this work.

4. What message do you have for the current board members and advice to the incoming members?

Speak up, use your voice passionately and respectfully–it advances our work and our culture. Think critically, challenge assumptions, invent new frames for the issues we face and explore how to tackle them from a generative, creative and empowered stance. What do we want to create for the next generation? What do we want the world–and the arts world–to look like in ten years? Imagine what is possible and set yourselves to making it our reality. I know that the NPN/VAN family can do it.

5. Tell us something you would like people to know about yourself.

My partner and I are cat ladies with no cats. We started with five when we merged our homes 15 years ago and we just said goodbye to our youngest (who by then was our oldest) girl last week. Current odds are that we won’t make it more than a month without starting a new furry family–which is a bet I would happily make!

Live & On Stage Artists Announced for the NPN/VAN Annual Conference in San Francisco

Posted: Friday, August 11th, 2017 at 3:02 pm in News

Live & On Stage is a two-night production that will take place during the NPN/VAN Annual Conference, December 15 and 16, 2017. This year’s production will be hosted by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and will feature the work of nine Bay Area performing artists/artist companies.

Live & On Stage provides an opportunity for conference attendees to experience the work of artists living and working in the Bay Area. It also provides those performing artists an opportunity to show their work to the attendees of the Annual Conference, an audience made up of presenters, curators, colleagues, funders, and artists from across the nation.

The selection process included a full application and review by a panel comprised of the Bay Area Host Committee, NPN/VAN Partners, NPN/VAN staff, production staff, and artists. Applications were evaluated based on feasibility, stage readiness, potential audience, and Partner interest. All artists are creating work in alignment with NPN/VAN’s commitment to anti-oppression and freedom of expression, and we are thrilled about presenting them this December.

In an effort to provide attendees the opportunity for deeper local engagement and organizing, all performers were chosen from a pool of artists nominated by members of the Bay Area Host Committee. Nine artist companies were chosen that represent the racial, geographic, aesthetic, career stage, disciplinary/genre, and cultural diversity of the Bay Area artist communities.

The Bay Area artist companies selected for the 2017 Live & On Stage performances are:

  1. DelinaDream Productions, An Open Love Letter to Black Fathers
    www.delinadream.com
  2. Embodiment Project, Ancient Children
    www.embodimentproject.org
  3. Echo Brown, Black Virgins Are Not for Hipsters
    helloechobrown.com
  4. AXIS Dance Company, Divide
    www.axisdance.org
  5. Campo Santo, H.O.M.E. (Hookers On Mars Eventually)
    camposantosf.tumblr.com
  6. Ryan Nicole Austin, If You Give a Black Girl a Lemon
    www.msryannicole.com
  7. Guerrilla Rep, Mommy Queerest
    katevascolive.com
  8. Star Amerasu, Rebecca
    www.starmusic.tv
  9. Rotimi Agbabiaka, Type/Caste
    www.rotimionline.com

Announcing the next LANE Cohort!

Posted: Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 at 1:51 pm in News

LANE: Leveraging A Network for Equity. See leaders. Make change.

The National Performance Network/ Visual Artists Network is excited to introduce the next cohort of organizations to join Leveraging A Network for Equity (LANE). In partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund and with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, these organizations will engage in a four year process to develop sustainable business models that are rooted in their cultural and community strengths. The process includes cohort convenings, subsidized consultancy, general operating support, recovery capital and change capital.

These amazing organizations were selected through a rigorous panel process. We look forward to supporting their leadership and growth.

LANE Beta Cohort

More information about LANE:
https://prezi.com/im1l2ysss4bg/lane/

Seeking Development & Communications Manager

Posted: Thursday, July 20th, 2017 at 11:49 am in Job Announcements

Download a pdf copy of this job posting


Development + Communications Manager

The National Performance Network / Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN), a national, nonprofit arts organization based in New Orleans, LA, seeks a Development + Communications Manager. This new, full-time position requires excellent oral, written, and computer skills; strong attention to detail and project management timelines; and the ability to coordinate work across multiple departments. The NPN staff is a collegial, energetic team, and we offer a flexible environment, excellent benefits, and opportunities to travel.

WHO WE ARE
The National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network believes artists and arts organizations are essential for creating a just and sustainable world, and we believe communities deserve broad access to art and culture that reflect their own experiences and inform the experiences of others. Through our commitment to building an arts sector rooted in justice, the mission of NPN/VAN is to foster a 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 arts in the United States.

WHAT WE DO
In collaboration with more than 80 partner organizations across the U.S., as well as Latin America and Japan, NPN/VAN seeks to provide original, risk-taking performing and visual artists with the resources needed to develop and tour new work, to ensure arts leaders have the skills and opportunities to be change-makers in the arts presenting field, and to influence cultural policy for more just and artist-centered practices. Learn more about our programs at www.npnweb.org.

POSITION DESCRIPTION
The Development + Communications Manager is an opportunity for an energetic professional to work collaboratively with NPN/VAN staff across departments to drive the creation, management, and execution of development and communications activities. The ideal candidate will enjoy crafting communications strategies that better message and integrate our many programs, execute project management skills to coordinate development and communications activities across departments, and contribute to a holistic and evolving strategy to tell the stories of our organization’s impact.

DEVELOPMENT RESPONSIBILITIES (50%)

  • Research and track new funding opportunities
  • Manage fundraising calendar and track development activity in Salesforce (database) for current and upcoming grants and individual donors
  • Proofread and edit development submissions
  • Coordinate the submission of letters of intent, proposals, support materials and reports to funders
  • Work with staff to create and evaluate development plans and priorities

COMMUNICATIONS RESPONSIBILITIES (50%)

  • Manage and execute communications efforts for the organization, including monthly e-newsletter, periodic e-blasts, social media posts and other communication platforms
  • Develop and manage communications calendars and timelines
  • Coordinate and edit communications content developed by each department
  • Coordinate marketing efforts, particularly for facility rentals and fiscal sponsorship
  • Liaison to web developer / designer to ensure up-to-date messaging and content
  • Work with staff to create and evaluate communications plans and priorities

QUALIFICATIONS

  • At least 3 years of relevant experience
  • A deep commitment to social justice and equity
  • Energetic, positive, and self-motivated
  • Excellent command of English language and grammar, both verbal and written
  • Proficient with computer applications, including Salesforce or a similar CRM and Microsoft Office. Graphic design, photo editing, and social media development a plus.
  • Proficient in social media platforms
  • Excellent organizational skills with the ability to pay close attention to deadlines and detail
  • Ability to work individually and collaboratively
  • Experience providing day-to-day support to team members

DETAILS

  • Reports to:Chief Operating Officer
  • Full-time, salaried position
  • Salary: $36,000-40,000/year
  • Benefits: 100% of individual health and dental plans; annual FSA (Flexible Spending Account) plan; vacation, personal and sick leave; life insurance; professional development and travel opportunities

TO APPLY

  • Application deadline August 15, 2017. The position is available immediately, and we expect to begin the interview process within 2-3 weeks of the application deadline.
  • Please include cover letter, resume/CV, and at least two writing samples (may include catchy headlines, short blurbs, long articles, blogs, grant proposals, press releases, inspirational e-blasts, etc.!). Email to hr@npnweb.org (no phone calls or snail-mail submissions, please).

 

In alignment with NPN/VAN’s commitment to creating an arts sector rooted in justice, we are committed to ensuring a space that is free of racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, misogyny, classism, or other bias. NPN/VAN does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, creed, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, mental or physical disability, marital status, sexual orientation, physical characteristics, marital status or military status, in any of its activities or operations. We encourage diverse applicants to apply.

E-Newsletter / June 26, 2017

Posted: Monday, June 26th, 2017 at 12:23 pm in E-Newsletters

Say Hello to Meijun Wang, NPN/VAN’s New Intern

Posted: Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 2:44 pm in News

NPN/VAN is happy to introduce Meijun Wang, our new intern, to the Network.

Meijun is from Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province, in southwest China. She obtained a bachelor’s degree at the Arts College of Guizhou University, majoring in dance performance, teaching, and choreography. She also spent four years learning professional Chinese folk dance, including Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongolian, Northeast Yangko, Dai, Miao, Buyi, Tujia, Yi, as well as Korean, Spanish, Latin, and American Modern dance.

Meijun began studying dance when she was five years old and has participated in performances and dance competitions across China and in the United States. She performed as a dancer in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Opening Ceremony. In 2010, she was honored to perform for the Chinese Spring Festival, which was broadcast nationally on China Central Television 1 (CCTV). She is proud to have received numerous national dance awards thanks to these opportunities.

Meijun participated in a dance learning exchange with American arts and dance schools in 2009 and credits this experience with sparking her desire to study abroad. After graduating from Guizhou University in 2011, Meijun decided to study in the United States and studied English for a year in preparation. She moved to New Orleans in 2013 where she met her husband, Cheng. They have a two-year-old daughter, Melanie.

This year, Meijun completed the coursework for a master’s degree from the Arts Administration Program at the University of New Orleans and is spending the summer as an intern at NPN/VAN, working with the National Programs staff.

Meijun is a welcome addition to the NPN/VAN team!

Photo description: The Flower Blooming in the Spring – Dance from the Miao culture of Guizhou Province, southwest China.

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