News & Events

Notices for partners, news for artists, announcements from the field, job postings. Submit news items using our online form.

11 NPN artists awarded 2019 USA Fellowships

Posted: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 at 3:15 pm in News

Above: Photo of Allison Akotchook Warden by Nicholas Galanin. Below: Photo of Alice Sheppard.

NPN celebrates the announcement of the 2019 United States Artists (“USA”) Fellows, including 11 NPN artists. The 45 selected artists and collectives span all disciplines. Each will receive $50,000 in unrestricted funding.

“Each Fellow is a reminder of the breadth of our cultural landscape, and the 2019 cohort is yet another testament to how much incredible work is happening across the country,” United States Artists President & CEO Deana Haggag said. “From painters to podcasters to pop musicians, we’re lucky to have these artists reflecting our collective humanity and stirring the public’s imagination.”

Please join us in congratulating the following 2019 USA Fellows:  

DANCE

  • David Dorfman, Choreographer (New London, CT)
  • Lenora Lee, Dancer & Choreographer (San Francisco, CA)
  • Alice Sheppard, Dancer & Choreographer (Los Altos, CA)
  • Merian Soto, Dancer & Choreographer (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Yara Travieso, Choreographer & Filmmaker (Brooklyn, NY)

THEATER & PERFORMANCE

  • Charlotte Brathwaite, Director (New York, NY)
  • Complex Movements, Installation & Performance Collective (Detroit, MI)
  • Teo Castellanos, Theater Artist (Miami, FL)
  • Kaneza Schaal, Theater Artist (Brooklyn, NY)

TRADITIONAL ARTS

  • Allison Akotchook Warden, Multidisciplinary Artist & Performer (Anchorage, AK)

VISUAL ART

  • Wu Tsang, Filmmaker & Artist (Los Angeles, CA)

For more information, read USA’s press release.

10 NPN Artists Receive Creative Capital Awards

Posted: Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 at 12:14 pm in News

Photo courtesy of niv Acosta, “BLACK POWER NAPS.”

NPN celebrates the announcement of the 2019 Creative Capital Awards, including 10 Network-supported artists and projects. The 50 selected projects will receive up to $50,000 in project funding and an additional $50,000 in long-term career development support — a total value of $100,000.

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Brathwaite, “Forgotten Paradise: Gazette’s Sun.”

The projects were selected from a pool of over 5,200 applications, and they represent “some of the most exciting work being conducted in all disciplines,” according to Creative Capital’s press release (read more).

Please join us in congratulating the following artists:

NPN at and around APAP! 

Posted: Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 at 1:03 pm in News

Photo by Lance J. Reha.
Edisa Weeks/DELERIOUS DANCES, “Three Rites: Liberty”

Next week, we’ll join thousands of colleagues from around the country for APAP|NYC in early January. We’ve compiled a few of the many places that you can see and engage with NPN Partners, artists, board members staff and friends:

NPN CREATION & DEVELOPMENT FUND PERFORMANCES:

PROTOTYPE @ HERE ART

  • Graham Reynolds Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance @ BRIC

LIVE ARTERY @ NEW YORK LIVE ARTS (NPN PARTNER)

  • Abby Z and the New Utility: Radioactive Practice (Work-in-Progress)
  • Sean Dorsey: Boys in Trouble
  • Bill Shannon: Touch Update
  • Netta Yerushalmy: Paramodernities (3 Installments)

AMERICAN REALNESS

PMG ARTS SHOWCASE

  • Delirious Dance | Edissa Weeks: Three Rites

FUTURE OCEANS @ JCC MANHATTEN

  • Pavel Zustiak and Palissimo Company: Custodians of Beauty
  • Plus other work by New Orleans friends, creep cuts, Goat in the Road, Meryl Merman/Flock, Screaming Trapps and more!
  • RSVP: lu.rsvps@gmail.com 

Photo by Lydia Daniller
Sean Dorsey, “Boys in Trouble”

OTHER NPN PARTNER HOSTED WORK:

PREGONES THEATER/PUERTO RICAN TRAVELING THEATER 
Flaco Navaja: Evolution of a Sonero co-presented with Under the Radar Festival

PERFORMANCE SPACE NEW YORK
First Nation Dialogues: KIN
Conversation, Performance and Workshops curated by NPN Creation & Development Fund Artist Emily Johnson

Photo courtesy of Miguel Gutierrez
Miguel Gutierrez, “This Bridge Called My Ass”

A SELECTION OF THE MANY APAP SESSIONS
WITH NPN FRIENDS:

ASSOCIATION OF PERFORMING ARTS PRESENTERS

Note: We tried to include as many NPN friends as possible, but this list is not exhaustive! Please click on the links for more information.

If you have questions about connecting with NPN at APAP, contact Stanlyn Breve at stanlyn@npnweb.org.

NPN’s Next Chapter

Posted: Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 8:04 pm in News

Dear NPN Friends:

Our strategic plan was born in a time of disruption, not just at NPN, but all around us — in our country, our communities and throughout our world. Over the last two years, this spirit has carried us through a holistic process of transforming the way we work. We’re excited to share some of the major changes and lessons from our planning process as well as what to expect from NPN moving forward.

Transformation takes time, and we have allowed our values to bloom as we have disrupted our processes, resisting the tendency to rush to outcomes. Moving forward, we recognize being nimble and responsive to the evolving needs of our constituents requires an intentional and ongoing practice of critical reflection, imagination and growth.

In this spirit of iteration, there is no final document. We plan to continue this process and share along the journey where we commit to change, reassert our values or set new intentions. I invite you to be part of this dialogue! In addition to the reflections and changes offered below, we’ve included some next steps and ways our colleagues can be part of this work.

Laying the foundation

Our mission articulates the four pillars through which all of NPN’s work — programs, practices and policies — will flow as we move forward:

  1. building power for artists,
  2. advancing racial and cultural equity,
  3. fostering relationship-building and reciprocity, and
  4. working toward systems change.

Mission: NPN contributes to a more just and equitable world by building and shifting power for artists; advancing racial and cultural equity; fostering relationship-building and reciprocity between individuals, institutions and communities; and working towards systems change in arts and philanthropy.**

Our vision reaffirms our long-standing focus on our core areas of impact — artists, our network of Partners, the communities with which our Partners engage and the broader cultural infrastructure (funders, colleagues, policy-makers, etc.) in which NPN is situated.

Vision: We envision a world in which artists have greater power and resources for meaningful, sustainable careers; strong networksmaximize their collective wisdom, resources and leadership; cultural infrastructure reflects deeper partnerships and more equitable practices and communities have greater capacity for civic engagement, representation and joy.**

**While these statements are not yet fully wordsmithed, the concepts and values they embody have been enthusiastically adopted by NPN staff and Board of Directors.

Summary of changes & impact on Network

  • Justice: NPN is committing to justice, as both an outcome and a practice. Advancing equity moves beyond diversity and inclusion, and prioritizes work of, by and for people of color, immigrants and Native and Indigenous peoples; people with disabilities; trans and LGTBQ people; people in rural communities and others who are systemically marginalized.
  • Belonging: We believe systemic disruption calls on us to engage in inclusive, spirited movement-building. We welcome everyone who is committed to the core principles in our mission to be part of our work, and we know our network composition will inevitably change as we put these values into practice. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to advancing equity in our field, and our intention is to foster a collaborative and reciprocal network where our entire learning community participates fully in this work in diverse and responsive ways.
  • On the move: In September 2018, NPN bid farewell to the Arts Estuary, which we operated as an office space for other arts nonprofits, a community gathering place and an event rental venue since 2014. Our new office allows us to streamline operations and opens up new partnerships for programs and gatherings in support of our New Orleans arts community.
  • International exchange: In this time of increased xenophobia, we assert our belief in global humanity. We have discontinued NPN’s stand-alone Performing Americas Program and U.S.-Japan Connection in order to better respond to our Partners’ international exchange activities, engagement with immigrant communities and support for artists working toward global justice. We invite Partners and other presenting organizations to participate in NPN’s survey on international engagement so we can focus our resources and attention where they can have significant and timely impact.
  • Return to “NPN“: In August, the Board of Directors adopted the return to National Performance Network (“NPN“) as our organizational name. This reflects our recent decision to clarify our artistic focus on supporting live, experiential exchange between artists and communities and to integrate the Visual Artists Network into this framework. We recognize “performance” does not adequately describe the full scope of our work, and while our Board considered a full name change at this time we wish to challenge ourselves to reimagine our work while still honoring the legacy embedded within the name NPN.

The process 

NPN approached strategic planning with a holistic examination of our history, operations, programs, finances, context within our sector and alignment with other social justice movements. We set out to address two major areas in parallel: to deepen our work in building a more just and equitable field, and to address significant, long-standing financial challenges. We entered this work with openness and humility, examining NPN’s internal practices, our outward-facing programs and the systems in which we are rooted.

External teams: Our planning engaged with the expertise of consultants Justin Laing and Ian David Moss (overall strategic planning), Nonprofit Finance Fund (financial assessment and capitalization planning), a collaboration with Creative Capital, MAP Fund and New England Foundation for the Arts (peer assessment), our Knowledge Building Initiative (KBI), led by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and participation in Grantmakers the Arts’ racial equity committee.

Internal teams: Committees of NPN staff, Board members, artists and Partners developed strategies, outcomes and guiding principles around major impact areas within NPN:

  • Team Artists: advance equity through direct support to artists
  • Team Organizations: advance equity through direct support to arts organizations
  • Team Network: build a stronger network committed to systems rooted in justice
  • Team Praxis: model and advocate for more equitable organizational practices
  • Team Vernacular: embody our values in words

What’s next? 

    • Resource library: We are building an online library linking to readings, models for organizational practices, ways to evolve our language, and more. Do you have an article or model you believe is essential for advancing our work? Please share!
    • NPN’s identity: In 2019, we plan to share a new website, logo and branding to embody NPN’s values and offer a platform for more collaborative information-sharing. Stay tuned!
    • Engaging artists: In December, we will host a roundtable of artists to explore how NPN can better build and shift power for artists.We will also develop a survey, in collaboration with Grantmakers in the Arts’ Support for Individual Artists committee, to develop priorities for expanded support for artists within NPN.
    • Founding documents: We are working with writers and visual communicators to fine-tune NPN’s new mission, vision, values and guiding principles.
    • Network composition: In December, our Partners will explore ways we can foster greater collaboration and resource-sharing within the network. And throughout the year, our Partnership committee, Board and staff will be developing a new evaluation process for current and potential Partners. We expect to begin a new process in FY20.
    • Quarterly updates: We want to share more about upcoming opportunities, programming changes, highlights from our network and lessons learned in cultural policy and philanthropy. Look for in-depth quarterly updates, as well as more regular blog posts and social media stories.

    Thank you to all who have walked this journey of reflection and transformation with us, including the NPN staff and Board of Directors, Strategic Planning Chair Shannon Daut and all who have shared feedback, advice and inspiration throughout this process. We are so grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Lambent Foundation for their support of our strategic planning and for being such extraordinary thought partners to NPN.

    Onward!


Caitlin Strokosch
President & CEO

Weekly Roundup // Oct. 22, 2018

Posted: Monday, October 22nd, 2018 at 8:27 pm in E-Newsletters

Guest Post: Art at the Center of Civic Planning

Posted: Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 at 3:27 pm in News

Artists are used to dancing in the complexity. We like to make something where nothing exists; to explore new language around a struggle; to listen profoundly; to create new ways to see the world. Why not put artists in problem-solving roles?

By Krys Holmes
The Myrna Loy (NPN Partner, LANE Alpha Cohort) 

Helena, Mont. >> In this torn-apart world the one thing we all share is that everybody lives somewhere. Under a bridge, on a mountaintop, down the street from Grandma’s house—we all claim some place, in some way, as our own.

Celebrating our human connective tissue through place is one way communities are solving their most intractable problems. I spent three days in May at the ArtPlace America 2018 Annual Summit, a convening of more than 300 people engaged in creative placemaking. I learned about how artists, city planners, police chiefs, tribes, and social organizers are exploring new ways to transform communities through art.

Creative placemaking puts artists in the center of civic planning to help solve complex problems: transportation issues, public safety, inequities, land-use conflicts, neighborhood disputes. It was exciting to be around people developing best practices for this new field that is so different from arts presenting and curating.

Artists are used to dancing in the complexity. We like to make something where nothing exists; to explore new language around a struggle; to listen profoundly; to create new ways to see the world. Why not put artists in problem-solving roles?

America loves to put art in service to something else (STEM education, brain function, physical therapy…) What intrigues me about creative placemaking is what I loved about Church growing up: it facilitates communities sticking it out together because they believe in something bigger than their individual selves. I think this work—creating connectedness that is grounded in a place—is critical to healthy society. Only with creative placemaking it’s art, rather than religion, that is the gateway to transformation.

We all know the power of art to create change. Placemaking gains traction is shifting the spotlight away from the artist, to focus on connectedness. Community. Relationship. The art doesn’t have to be epic; the experience doesn’t have to be spectacular. But the relationship has to be authentic and enduring.

The field is only 10 years old, but there are plenty of resources and tools already in place: from ArtPlace America, Policy Link, Springboard for the Arts, the Kresge Foundation, the Orton Foundation and Alternate ROOTS just to name a few.

In a nation so painfully factious, using our creative superpowers to build community around a city block, a river, a wall, a highway, or a town seems like powerful peacemaking.

About Krys Holmes

Holmes has been a writer, musician, non-profit administrator, interpretive historian, and (for one winter) a marten trapper in the Talkeetna Mountains of Alaska. She has organized book festivals and literary events; arranged music for choral and jazz performance; presented at international fisheries conferences; and is the author of the award-winning history book, “Montana: Stories of the Land.” She is the Executive Director of the Myrna Loy, a vibrant cultural hub in Helena, Montana.

Photos courtesy of ArtPlace and Lydia Brewer Photography. 

NPN Announces 2018 Creation & Development Fund Awards

Posted: Thursday, June 28th, 2018 at 3:51 pm in News

NEW ORLEANS (June 29, 2018) – The National Performance Network (NPN) announces its 2018 Creation & Development Fund Awards totaling $305,000 in support of 14 new artistic works across disciplines, geographies and cultures. The selected artists reflect NPN’s commitments to equity and access through the arts.

The Creation & Development Fund supports the creation, development and mobility of new artistic work resulting in live experiential exchange between artists and community. The Fund provides a framework for relationships to develop over time among diverse artists, arts organizations and communities, with co-commissioners from across the country and Mexico.

Through the investment of commissioning funds from arts organizations and NPN direct subsidies, each project is eligible for multilevel support. Forty-two arts organizations from Kahului, HI to Birmingham, AL will host the projects as co-commissioners, which will result in at least 52 paid artist engagements over the next three years. NPN support will be leveraged to bring in $1.3 million dollars in additional support to these projects.

Projects range from a documentary performance challenging notions of borders and bordering; an evolving slow-motion party/installation/teach-in that maps a new approach to old questions about identity; a collaborative performance combining jazz an puppetry and developed in community with an Emerging Puppeteers of Color Program and the reenactment of a profound journey through the criminal justice system that includes music, dance and spoken word.

The Creation and Development Fund is made possible with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency) and Commissioners. To learn more about National Performance Network and its subsidy programs, visit npnweb.org.  

 

2018 Creation & Development Fund Recipients

Abby Zbikowski/Abby Z and the New Utility – New York, NY – “Radioactive Practice”

Commissioners: New York Live Arts, New York, NY; Dance Place, Washington, DC; American Dance Festival, Durham, NC; Wexner Center for the Performing Arts, Columbus, OH

Radioactive Practice is a new work by Juried Bessie award winning Illinois-based choreographer Abby Zbikowski, commissioned by New York Live Arts and set to premiere during their 2019-20 Season with additional support from the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. Based on Zbikowski’s rigorous physical practice that processes diverse aesthetic and cultural information, this work pushes a team of ten dancers from the United States, Taiwan, Senegal and Canada past perceived physical limits and conventions of established dance forms.

Andresia “Real” Moseley – Auburndale, FL – “Five Black Women”

Commissioners: Art2Action, Inc., Tampa, FL; ASU Gammage, Tempe, AZ

Five Black Women is a one-woman show that reveals the lives distinctively different Black women characters and their struggles with identity, sexuality and religion. Through poetry, song and DJ mixes, it reveals more than just the stories of diverse black women, but the struggle to identify as a human in this complex world. It’s about the hood, the church, the club and the stage. What happens when we let go…and how do we find acceptance for who we really are? What happens when circumstances push you, what’s too far, and how do we find our way back?

Edisa Weeks / DELIRIOUS Dances – Brooklyn, NY – “THREE RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness”

Commissioners: 651 ARTS, Brooklyn, NY; Mount Tremper Arts, Mount Tremper, NY; Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Brooklyn, NY

THREE RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness involves three performance rituals (rites) that integrate movement, live music, text, video and art installations to examine what these rights mean; how the rights have changed (or not changed) since the forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence; and in the age of Citizen’s United, Black Lives Matter, NAFTA, the Patriot Act, DACA, and the longest war in American history, how and for whom are these rights protected and promoted, and how they manifest in the body. THREE RITES uses interdisciplinary performance to spark discussions about urgent issues in American society today.

Jumatatu Poe – Philadelphia, PA – “Let ‘Im Move You: This is a Formation”

Commissioners: Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA; Abron Arts Center, New York, NY; BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Bronx, NY; Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME; Dance Place, Washington, DC; Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH PICA, Portland, OR; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL

Let ‘im Move You: This is a Formation is a new dance work by Philadelphia-based choreographer jumatatu m. poe and Dallas-based J-Sette artist Jermone “Donte” Beacham that unites Black dancers of various genders addressing choreographic, emotional, and spiritual forms present within J-Sette and other Black queer dance vocabularies. With live-constructed music and media design, Formation confronts historic imaginations and limitations of art institutions centering white aesthetics, and outdoor spaces within predominantly Black neighborhoods.

KJ Sanchez – Austin, TX – “Matanza (The Killing)”

Commissioners: Fusebox Festival, Austin, TX; California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley, CA

Matanza (The Killing) is a durational performance based on the New Mexican ritual of the Matanza, created by award-winning playwright and director KJ Sanchez. Mining Sanchez’s research into her family’s New Mexican ancestry and history, this 24-hour performance tells the story of the Spanish Crown granting 250,000 acres to thirty families (Sanchez’s ancestors) and a feud that broke out over the rights to the land, which tore the community and her family apart. Sanchez combines the matanza, a social ritual in Hispanic culture, with a personal performance about family, community, and land-rights, which features cooking, feasting, storytelling, and song.

Marike Splint – Los Angeles, CA – “On The Other Side”

Commissioners: Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA; Art and Design Research Incubator at Penn State, University Park, PA

On the Other Side is a new documentary performance created by Marike Splint, challenging notions of borders and bordering in our present era. The project questions and challenges our growing tendency to draw these territorial lines and borders. The US/Mexico border is a clear starting point, but the performance aims to unpack the act of bordering beyond current flashpoints.

Miguel Gutierrez – Brooklyn, NY – “This Bridge Called My Ass”

Commissioners: PICA, Portland, OR; Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA; The Chocolate Factory Theatre, Long Island City, NY; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME; Walker Art Center; Minneapolis, MN

This Bridge Called My Ass is a new evening-length dance/performance by Miguel Gutierrez for a group of five Latinx performers, with Stephanie Acosta as dramaturg. Part slow-motion party, part evolving installation, part embodied seminar/teach-in taught by futuristic (Spanish speaking) survivalists, the piece looks at longstanding tensions between form and content to map a new, irreverent approach to old questions about what constitutes identity politics and the avant garde. How do experimental artists of color, specifically “brown” artists, navigate terrain that is dominated by legacies of predominantly white artists? What can “brown” do to complicate inherited ideas about identity and abstraction?

Morgan Thorson – Minneapolis, MN – “Public Love”       

Commissioners: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI

Public Love (PL) is a dance intervention redefining power through physical tenderness and the human need for touch—both attributes of a kind of love. Positioning the dancing body as the generative center, choreography is composed from the inside out—from the vital, intimate experience of moving, not from an exterior position of seeing. From this location, virtuosity is mediated on the ensembles’ terms, disrupting hierarchical modes of power within dance creation itself. Transforming as it is re-situated, PL offers a rhizomatic, tactile structure that churns in a choreography of affection—as queer alternatives to might and control.

Myra Su and Tatsu Aoki – Chicago, IL – “Fault Lines and Expanding Forms”           

Commissioners: Links Hall, Chicago, IL; Asian Improv aRts, San Francisco, IL

Links Hall and Asian Improv aRts (San Francisco) are co-commissioning a collaborative performance by world renowned Jazz musician Tatsu Aoki, and accomplished shadow puppet artist/Manual Cinema company member Myra Su. This work will be developed in community with the artists participating in our Emerging POC (puppeteers of color) Program and it will premier during the January 2019 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.

Paul S. Flores – San Francisco, CA – “We Have Iré”          

Commissioners: Pregones Theater/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Bronx, NY; Miami Light Project, Miami, FL; GALA Hispanic Theatre, Washington, DC; MECA, Houston, TX; MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose, CA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

A new multidisciplinary theater work by award-winning poet, performance artist and playwright Paul S. Flores, We Have Iré explores the lives of Afro-Cuban and Cuban-American transnational artists living in the United States, and their influence on and experience with American culture. Directed by Rosalba Rolón of Pregones Theater, with live music composition by Yosvany Terry and Dj Leydis, and choreography by Ramon Ramos Alayo, We Have Iré also looks at the challenges of being an immigrant artist and the triumph of establishing one’s voice in a new country.

RMwase Cultural Projects – New Orleans, LA – “VESSELS”

Commissioners: Junebug Productions, New Orleans, LA; Annenberg Center for the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

VESSELS is a seven-woman harmonic meditation on the transcendental possibilities of song during the Middle Passage. Experienced within an interactive and acoustically rich sculptural environment that invokes those infamous ships, this interdisciplinary ritual performance explores singing as a survival tool and asks, “What does freedom sound like in a space of confinement?” VESSELS will premier in 2018 on a floating barge in New Orleans and then tour to East Coast port cities that were active during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Roberta Uno and Dahlak Brathwaite – San Francisco, CA – “Try/Step/Trip”

Commissioners: Youth Speaks, Inc., San Francisco, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL; Miami Light Project, Miami, FL; Center for New Performance, CALARTS, Valencia, CA; Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

Try/Step/Trip is a dramatic reenactment of a profound journey through the criminal justice system. Through spoken word, live music, dance and character monologues, the devised work will chronicle the process of the playwright’s own criminalization along with his struggle to be vindicated in the eyes of the law and society. The piece works through the personal shame of criminal stigmatization to examine the factors – both internal and external – that has misplaced him and the black male body in what appears as a cultural rite of passage.

Rosy Simas – Minneapolis, MN – “Weave”

Commissioners: Dance Place, Washington, DC; Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI; Alabama Dance Council, Birmingham, AL PA’I Arts & Culture Center, Honolulu, HI

Native choreographer Rosy Simas (Seneca) creates Weave, a dance project drawn from the interwoven and interdependent nature of our world. In Weave, individual and embodied stories are the vibrant threads that mesh in a performance woven of story, dance, moving image, and quadrophonic sound.

Unit Souzou – Portland, OR – “A Constant State of Otherness”

Commissioners: The Myrna Loy, Helena, MT; Caldera Arts, Sisters, OR; Dance Place, Washington, DC; Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA

The Constant State of Otherness is a multi-layered performance and community engagement project exploring the isolation and displacement that comes from not having an easy sense of home. This project focuses on the conversational, narrative, and collaborative art of Taiko drumming to create artistic and social dialogs that will question, challenge and upheave the mainstream narrative of identity and belonging, especially within this current American landscape.

Photos (from top): 1) RMwase Cultural Projects, “Vessels Intensive;” photo by Melissa Cardona 2) Unit Souzou, Promotional Photo; photo by Yuen Design. 

Present at our 2018 Annual Conference!

Posted: Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 at 11:52 am in Events

Join your colleagues at the National Performance Network & Visual Artists Network Annual Conference in Pittsburgh on December 13-16, 2018!

The Annual Conference brings together 350+ artists, arts leaders, funders, policy makers, community organizers, and educators to explore building a more just and equitable world through the arts. All are welcome at the conference, and newbies and veterans alike are encouraged to submit session proposals! Deadline for submissions is June 8, 2018.

GUIDELINES
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. We also encourage freedom of expression and we aim to create a brave, generative space. Our expectation is that all conference sessions and participants honor these ethics.

Content
NPN/VAN is committed to fostering a peer-to-peer learning environment that challenges conventional practices and encourages discussion and exchange. The conference offers a mix of nuts-and-bolts sessions, conversations that examine our work through a lens of equity and justice, and opportunities for artists, presenters, funders, and others to be in community together as thought partners. (See 2017 Conference Schedule for examples from our most recent conference.)

The Content Committee encourages sessions that:

  • Include participants who represent historically marginalized people and communities
  • Include artists (we are happy to provide recommendations of artists who will be attending)
  • Include participants from the local community (we are happy to provide recommendations of Pittsburgh participants)
  • Stimulate discussion and debate, challenge conventional thinking, and offer different points of view
  • Showcase current or emerging trends and creative responses to challenges or opportunities facing artists and artist-centered organizations

Idea Forums
Idea Forum sessions are 45, 60, or 90 minutes: 45- or 60-minute sessions may have up to two presenters; 90-minute sessions may have up to four presenters, including the moderator. Except in rare circumstances, we will not include the same speaker in more than one session per year; please consider this when proposing speakers. Reach out to NPN/VAN staff if you would like speaker recommendations.

In addition to traditional panel formats, please consider the following options or propose your own.

  • Roundtable: All attendees participate in a group discussion.
  • Long Table: Designated participants start by sitting at a long table surrounded by audience; discussion participants change as people join and leave the table.
  • Snowball: Session presenters set context for discussion; audience continues discussion in pairs, then in groups of 4, groups of 8, and so on.
  • Point of View: Two presenters offer distinct case studies or models for how they addressed a specific challenge.

Peer-to-Peer Workshops 
Peer-to-Peer workshops are organized by artists for artists — from career hacks, to professional development, to work-life balance, to hands-on creative activities. Workshops are up to 2 hours long and can include one or more artist organizers.

Financial Policy
A small honorarium is available for practicing artists (not represented by an institution) who are presenting. We are not able to provide additional travel support or honoraria for those organizing or participating in conference sessions. For session participants who are not planning to attend the conference otherwise, we provide a one-day complimentary registration the day of the participants’ session.

How to Propose a Session

  1. Read the guidelines.  Read the guidelines. Please email info@npnweb.org no later than Monday, June 4 if you have questions about submitting a proposal.
  2. Submit a completed proposal webform no later than end of day Friday, June 8
  3. A Content Committee consisting of NPN/VAN Board Members, Partners, Artists, and Staff will review proposals, and may provide additional suggestions.
  4. Organizers of selected sessions will be notified by the end of June.
  5. Final session descriptions and confirmed speakers are due from organizers in mid-July.

Click here to propose an Idea Forum session

Click here to propose a Peer-to-Peer session

Download a PDF of the guidelines here

16 Partner organizations receive NEA funding

Posted: Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 1:27 pm in News

NPN/VAN celebrates 16 Partner organizations awarded NEA funding in the first round of FY18 grants to organizations. The grants ($480,000 in total!) were awarded in artist communities, dance, museums, music, presenting/multidisciplinary arts, theater and visual arts. Read NEA’s press release for more information. 

Please join us in congratulating the following organizations: 

ARTIST COMMUNITIES
DANCE
  • On the Boards (Seattle, WA) – $30,000 to support dance presentations, residencies, and developmental activities for choreographers
  • President and Trustees of Bates College (Lewiston, ME) – $40,000 to support the Bates Dance Festival
  • The Yard (Chilmark, MA) – $30,000 to support contemporary dance performances and artist residencies
MUSEUMS
MUSIC
  • Outpost Productions (Albuquerque, NM) $25,000 to support musical performances, educational and related audience engagement activities at the New Mexico Jazz Festival
PRESENTING & MULTIDISCIPLINARY
  • City of Dallas, Texas (on behalf of South Dallas Cultural Center) – $10,000 to support the creation and presentation of multidisciplinary works by artists of African descent
  • Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans, LA) – $40,000 to support programming about women artists of color from the 20th century
  • Fusebox (Austin, TX) – $50,000 to support selected presentations at the Fusebox Festival
  • Myrna Loy Center (Helena, MT) –  $25,000 to support a series of guest artist residencies
  • Junebug Productions (New Orleans, LA) – $35,000 to support a series of multidisciplinary arts performances and exhibitions
  • Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland, OR) – $40,000 to support the Time-Based Art Festival
THEATER
  • Pregones Theater (Bronx, NY) – $20,000 to support the development of “Tito & the Cement Pagoda,” a new play with live music developed by Jorge B. Merced and Desmar Guevara, and to conduct related outreach activities
  • Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, CA) – $20,000 to support a Family Puppet Festival
VISUAL ARTS
  • Women & Their Work (Austin, TX) $25,000 to support a series of solo exhibitions with a focus on emerging and mid-career women artists of Texas
  • Real Art Ways (Hartford, CT) $20,000 to support an exhibition series featuring the work of emerging artists

 

 

Revolution & Reflection: Performing Americas Program in Mexico

Posted: Thursday, January 25th, 2018 at 3:55 pm in International Program Reflections

Our International Program asks the question “What does justice mean in a global context?” This framework commits us to better understanding how our work upholds or subverts power structures, questioning assumptions about race and equity across borders, and challenging ourselves to ensure all our programs are rooted in justice. Eleven NPN/VAN delegates participated in the Performing Americas Program’s recent trip to Guadalajara and Guanajuato, Mexico, meeting with funders, cultural organizers, curators, and artists, as well as seeing work at Festival Internacional Cervantino.

This year’s festival theme was revolution, examining political and personal transformations and the outcomes and process of change. The Mexican, Argentine, French, and Russian revolutions were represented throughout the festival program, through humor, rage, shame, sorrow, triumph, and hope, offering complexity rather than absolutism. Never far from view was the image of the U.S. as colonizer, ideologue, or instigator. The festival setting itself raises critical questions of access and resources – Who gets to tell the stories? What histories are left out? And, particularly in the context of the Americas, where are the Indigenous voices?

We approach this work not in a vacuum but in the complexity of our own time, to respond with support to Latinx communities in the U.S., to resist nationalism and build community across borders, and to grow the seeds of revolution needed to transform our work for justice. Our delegates’ writings about the trip state this even more clearly, in reflections both personal and professional. Documenting this trip is just one demonstration of our intent to grow the International Program beyond the immediate groups of traveling delegates, in order to share, inform, and engage throughout the NPN/VAN network as a community of learning and activism, whether working locally, nationally, or globally.

Thank you to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and APAP’s Cultural Exchange Fund for supporting this work!

EDGAR MIRAMONTES, Associate Director, REDCAT (Los Angeles)

Guanajuato – the vibrant colonial city in the mountains where houses of every color appear to parade down the hills – was the setting of encounters with colleagues, artists, art, and conversation as part of the Festival Internacional Cervantino. It was also where the delegates engaged in re-imagining NPN’s Performing Americas Program’s important role on the international platform. The conversation surfaced several critical ideas, including the dwindling funding available for this and other international programs; the importance of equity and justice as guiding principles for this work; as well as the question of how this program can support the multiplicity that is NPN, given that few organizations within the network have participated in PAP as delegates. We unanimously agreed the program is vital, for a variety of reasons. For REDCAT, NPN has historically facilitated and allowed for international exchange to happen with artists from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, and NPN’s role has been essential for our international work.

As an individual and a new U.S. citizen, the issue from our conversations most present for me is the importance of PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO MOVE. Given the alarming times we’re experiencing in the U.S., this value is critical to preserve and protect now more than ever. The movement of artists and colleagues facilitates many kinds of exchange. But disparities clearly exist: who has the right to move and why? In my geographic immediacy, the border between Mexico and the U.S. is further changing, while contractors build prototypes for border walls. As a presenter and an immigrant from Mexico, I question the importance of what I do, especially in this moment. What I keep coming up with is a call to resist, subvert policy, and fervently continue the work REDCAT has been championing: presenting international artists who challenge and enlighten our current state, and cross borders in their collaborations; and building stronger international relationships with other presenters, colleagues, and communities. That is my form of protest — one of many. Thank you NPN and the Performing Americas Program for facilitating this exchange.

ESTEVAN AZCONA, presenter, scholar, and educator (Houston, TX)

Mexico holds a constant point of attention in the U.S. public sphere, largely due to issues of immigration but also as a target in our now poisonous public politics. For the arts communities of the U.S., support for Mexican artists is an apt strategy to maintain and further explore the Mexico-U.S. relationship to better understand the political dynamics currently taking so much of our headspace. But, as we learned in our conversations with Mexican artists, the relationship is much more elemental. For generations, there has been a northward movement of Mexicans into the U.S. to the point that the vast majority of Mexican families have cross-border family relationships. (I also heard similar stories from people I met in Seoul, South Korea, during an NPN Asia Exchange trip in 2015.)

How do we think through the complex web of interests that further the impact of residencies and presenting programs with artists from Mexico? As arts presenters, we have the opportunity to explore with artists not only contemporary public discourse, but also the embedded histories that have formed regions, cities, and communities along the border and deep within both countries. While the geopolitical boundaries and limits of movement are being reinforced by the state, the boundaries of the lived experience of Mexicans broke down a generation ago. It’s time to see how artists and communities on both sides of the border are exploiting it.

SARAH GREENBAUM, Artistic & Community Program Manager, Dance Place (Washington, DC)

On challenging assumptions

I pull a folded schedule from my pocket as I pile into a cab in front of the Hotel Gran Plaza along with other delegates traveling with the National Performance Network’s Performing Americas Project. Quickly, my eyes drift from the day’s activities at the Festival Internacional Cervantino to the delicious hills of Guanajuato, Mexico, with innumerable, brightly colored houses nestled in jagged rows. We speed through the massive, looming tunnels under the city center and emerge in front of the Museo Casa Diego Rivera, paying five pesos each to explore the renowned artist’s preserved birthplace. A square staircase through the center of the house takes us to a third floor lecture hall with chairs facing Mexican writer Estela Leñero, who waits to speak to us about the creative process of the play Light Defeat, the Anarchist Revolution of the Magón Flowers.

I do not speak Spanish and have never traveled to a place where English is not the primary language. As a person who sees a great deal of performance – primarily dance – I was confident I could navigate on this trip to a point of understanding through performative context clues like physicality, sound, and costume. But I was worried how I would fare in this lecture without these clues to lean on. I was also acutely aware of my own travel fatigue, and dreaded nodding off disrespectfully in the cozy space.

As Leñero begins to speak, my anxiety evaporates. Her communication style emphasizes physical cues I recognize, like placing her hand on the table in front of her, lowering her eyelids, raising her shoulders up to her ears and releasing them with a deep exhale. By following these cues and picking up a word here and there – comunista, anarquista, familia nuclear – and by tracking the pace and emphasis of her speaking patterns, I get a sense of the lecture’s themes: how political leanings arise based on the family one comes from, how these different ideologies influenced and were influenced by the Mexican Revolution, and how they continue to affect Mexican politics today.

The lecture transitions to a Q&A and I recognize a universal moment of communication (or lack thereof) when a woman in the audience speaks with the stubborn passion of someone whose opinion will not be swayed. I cannot understand her exact meaning but her body language and tone are familiar, as I have attended other Q&A sessions where a participant takes the opportunity to belittle the presenter and state their own feelings as immovable facts. When the woman pauses, Leñero takes a breath to respond; the woman cuts her off before she can begin. At another pause Leñero interjects, and the woman speaks over her until Leñero concedes and allows the berating to continue. It is uncomfortable, but the Q&A pushes forward after the woman has her say.

The event concludes, we applaud, and I make my way out to the lecture space’s narrow balcony overlooking a breathtaking spread of Guanajuato’s streets, hills, and houses. I reflect on how thoroughly Leñero’s lecture captivated me, contrary to my expectations. I thought I might be hopelessly lost, but I enjoyed the challenge of piecing together meaning from context clues in Leñero’s engaging presentation.

I ask a fellow PAP traveler what the woman who responded with such aggressive passion during the Q&A was speaking about. It turns out she lost someone close to her due to political conflict and didn’t agree with Leñero’s presentation as it related directly to her situation. Grateful to have greater context for the woman’s commentary, my frustration towards her aggressive tone melts as I learn about the difficult history she has lived.

My shift in perspective on the woman’s reaction, as well as my positive overall experience at the lecture, reminds me to think deeply about the importance of regularly challenging my own assumptions as an arts manager and curator. In a social and political climate that is constantly evolving and progressing I must be comfortable with (and adept at) having my assumptions ripped from under my feet and responding quickly and proficiently.

This situation also pushes me to ask whether my own institution, and other presenting organizations in the U.S., do enough to challenge the assumptions of our patrons and to support artists who do this important work. Do we intentionally make space for work that has the capacity to help people see things in a new way, and do we foster engaged conversation around subjects that need to be interrogated? I admire the Festival Internacional Cervantino for including programming like Leñero’s lecture, which educates and sparks important conversation on sensitive, politically relevant subjects.

Over the course of the trip, my assumptions and expectations continue to be challenged and expanded. Throughout, I am grateful to be surrounded by fellow curators and presenters who help me understand and process the works we see, as well as the cultural differences we encounter. Going forward, I know I can reach out to them to continue conversations we began on this trip and to partner in new ways on future projects that push our audiences and ourselves to challenge assumptions and spark meaningful dialogue around societally relevant subjects.

ANDREW FREIRE, Exhibition & Operations Manager, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions / LACE (Los Angeles)

Notes on Mateluna and safe houses

I participated in this trip as both an artist and an organizer within art organizations (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and Los Angeles Contemporary Archive), looking for opportunities to learn from practices that are challenging, difficult, and often marginalized. I want to examine how artists are making work and understand the structures, strategies, and models of support imagined by ambitious and talented individuals at home and abroad. In the context of the partnerships we are building during this political climate, how can we learn from other platforms, such as those rooted in social justice or moral leadership? How do we keep each other healthy — as creative individuals and collective efforts — during difficult times?

While watching Guillermo Calderón’s Mateluna, I felt Teatro Santiago A Mil’s collective urgency, frailty, and scattered humor in comprehending the political circumstances surrounding the accusations and sentencing of their comrade to prison. How does one take care of this history and make sense of this type of trauma? The group powerfully conveyed their energy through an overall rapid delivery of sometimes indecipherable language (to my pocho-Spanish abilities at least!) and conflation of past, present, and imagined scenarios. I found myself continually catching up with their memories and reconstructions of spaces, often arriving, haphazardly, at these proposed, nondescript, safe houses. In this treatment I became more aware of the bare minimum setting of the theater as a secret place where we were all challenged to make sense of this traumatic series of events. I remember audience members laughing when the narrator would casually prefigure scenes by mentioning their location at safe houses. I can’t pinpoint what this collective laughter indicated; perhaps it made it easier for the audience to absorb surreal, dark, sometimes absurd events (when the group fights over whose turn it is to excrete into the home-made bomb, for instance). This process of fragmentation and messiness felt all the more necessary to challenge the established narrative.

It was also important to follow how transparently the characters operated in producing the scenes. As viewers we witness characters create music, propose ideas for new plays, project testimonial videos, and reflect on their own images. At one point characters stand in front of projected images of themselves and summarize what had been said in previous video recordings advocating justice for Mateluna. Some characters dictated their recorded messages verbatim with similar affect, while others were brief and seemingly exhausted in front of their own projections. Despite each individual’s intimate accountability to their own past actions in these moments, what I most strongly identified was a group dynamic. Their presentations became something not merely rehearsed, but a repetitive effort to communicate urgent ideas and expose precarious truths. In this way we glimpse what is truly at stake here – not merely a performance, but the very real political and social repercussions for those involved and the viewers newly implicated.

DEBRA GALLEGOS, Executive Associate, Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center (Denver, CO)

NPN/VAN’s International Program is based on core values of partnership, equity, and leadership development, and rooted in the belief that engagement with others outside our boundaries – whether political, geographic, national, aesthetic, or otherwise – is critical to building our empathy for others, our understanding of ourselves, and a more just world. The purpose of our trip is to re-establish relationships and forge new ones with artists and arts organizations in Mexico, and we’re especially excited about talking with artists and share our visions of social justice.

In Guadalajara we met with Diego Escobar, Secretary of Culture for the State of Jalisco. Although Mexico’s central government has cut arts funding recently and changed the process for artist support, Mexico (and the State of Jalisco in particular) is far ahead of the U.S. and Colorado in their financial support of artists and the arts. Public arts funding continues to be important because the community values and demands it, and the Ministry of Culture provides grants directly to artists in various disciplines, including dance, theatre, visual arts, music, and writing. As a result, there is a thriving contemporary and traditional art scene in Guadalajara. One of Guadalajara’s most noted theatre companies is Teatro Luna [link to: http://www. tereslunamorena.com/ESP/index.html]. The company was established in 2001 and remains stubbornly independent. Their creative puppetry and unique and experimental performances have made them an established part of the Guadalajara theatre community.

Later in the day we visited the Instituto Cultural Cabanas and the Palacio del Gobierno where, in awe, we viewed the work of Jose Clemente Orozco. The murals that adorn these two building are truly magnificent, and provides the world with his unique view of Mexico’s history, wars, foreign intervention, and more.

As has been my experience in my past visits to Guadalajara, I continue to be moved by the brilliance and joy I feel when I visit. The City and the State of Jalisco have such historical significance and relevance to today’s world. From Orozco’s murals to other work from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, I see that Mexico was a leading voice for social justice. Their artists and intellectuals moved discussions forward and started the conversations necessary to make changes in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Our explorations of Guadalajara, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, and everything in between were the perfect time to discuss among artists and colleagues the importance of justice from a global perspective, as well as between the U.S. and Mexico specifically. We hope that our work will spur further discussions and a re-emergence of a revolutionary spirit among artists.

Deborah’s complete travel diary from the trip can be found here: http://www.latinlifedenver.com/community/debra-gallegos-su-teatro-travels-to-mexico-to-forge-relationships-with-arts-organizations/

Thank you to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and APAP’s Cultural Exchange Fund for their generous support of the Performing Americas Program.

The travel team for Performing Americas Program in Mexico (October 2017) included PAP delegates as well as individual travel fellows:

  • Estevan Azcona, presenter (Houston, TX) – PAP delegate
  • Ever Chavez, Fundarte (Miami, FL)
  • Yolanda Cesta Cursach, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL)
  • Elizabeth Doud, NPN/VAN (Miami, FL, and Bahia, Brazil) – PAP coordinator
  • Andrew Freire, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Debra Gallegos, Su Teatro (Denver, CO) – PAP delegate
  • Edgar Miramontes, REDCAT (Los Angeles, CA) – PAP delegate
  • Sarah Greenbaum, Dance Place (Washington, DC)
  • Janera Solomon, Kelly Strayhorn Theater (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Caitlin Strokosch, NPN/VAN (New Orleans, LA)
  • Samuel Valdez, theater artist (San Diego, CA, and Tijuana, Mexico)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 17 18   Next Page »




Past Issues