News & Events

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

E-Newsletter / May 22, 2017

Posted: Monday, May 22nd, 2017 at 1:23 pm in E-Newsletters

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Julie Bates MacGillis

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 5:04 pm in International Program Reflections

Blog Reflection: Julie Bates MacGillis
Cultural Affairs

We had a great meeting with Dale Kreisher, Cultural Affairs Officer and Akihito (“Aki”) Nakanishi, Cultural Affairs Specialist, Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Our goal was to meet these supporters of arts and culture and introduce them to our work in Japan. Our time with the officers was short, but we made the most of our 30-minutes at the US embassy. They were incredibly warm, positive and interested in the work we are doing in Japan. They had been working for Caroline Kennedy until the Trump administration took over and recalled all ambassadors. As no replacement has been appointed, they are in a bit of a holding pattern right now waiting for the new ambassador, and to learn who that person is and what their priorities are.

By the time we left, they were enthusiastic and very shocked they hadn’t known about this project before now. For their part, they brought up the issue facing Japan of having literally thousands of museums, and very little training available for curators. They are particularly interested in connecting with Western institutions for curatorial exchanges (for both performing and visual arts, though this seems more established in visual arts and more need in performing arts) to mentor Japanese curators.

They loved the project. They really want to stay in touch, and they were impressed by our emphasis on real two-way exchange between cultures, as well as the curatorial exchange aspect, rather than simply a touring program for individual artists and shows.

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Colleen Furukawa

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 5:03 pm in International Program Reflections

Blog Reflection: Colleen Furukawa
International Commonalities

This was my first foray into meeting a variety of artists from around Asia on non-US soil. It was an interesting first day of attending different roundtables on a wide range of areas artists are working in. The world gets smaller and smaller as we find we all know common artists, shared interests, and commonalities on social issues, cultural perpetuation, activating, facilitating and community engagement. Through these exchanges, we have gained new awareness and insight into the impact of social structures in different cultures that are causative forces in the kinds of social issues that we all face. The power of one-on-one conversation is sharing knowledge.

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Benjamin Akio Kimitch

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 5:01 pm in International Program Reflections

Blog Reflection: Benjamin Akio Kimitch

This is the first of many travels to Japan to come. Already, it has been a humbling and stimulating adventure, where even as a fourth-generation Japanese-American, my own cultural assumptions are challenged and my understanding is expanded. As we engage with Japanese artists and cultural workers, I am so grateful for their trust to share so openly and honestly. I’m learning that there are a lot of parallels to the political climate that Japanese artists are facing, and that us in the U.S. fear is just on the horizon. There is so much we can learn from one another as we build our networks and fight together to uphold our values and through art share these across our diverse communities.

“Telling Our Stories” part of NPN/VAN Knowledge-Building Initiative

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 4:44 pm in News

March 3, 2017
Paul Bonin-Rodriguez

Under the Knowledge Building Initiative (KBI), a research project led by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and Media Lead Elliat Graney-Saucke, NPN/VAN has begun documenting, assessing, and reflecting on its three-plus decades of accomplishment – in other words, planning for how the NPN/VAN archive will serve as a site for knowledge building and sharing.

To seed the KBI, a breakout session at the 2016 Annual Meeting, “Telling Our Stories/Documenting and Archiving our Work” assembled artists, partners, and colleagues to share strategies and experiences in archive building.

Artistic Director Stephanie McKee told how her work assembling the Junebug Productions’ archives provided deeper insight into the organization’s history, vision, and importance. Executive Director Laurel Raczka shared the process by which the Painted Bride assembled and moved its archives to the University of Pennsylvania Van Pelt Library. Sixto Wagan, Director of the University of Houston Center for Arts and Social Engagement, shared his experiences of digitizing Diverseworks’ history while serving as Co-Executive/Artistic Director. Dr. Eric Colleary, the Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts, Harry Ransom Center, an archive repository at UT Austin, offered a host of resources, rationales, and strategies for archive building. His presentation paid special attention to the work of the American Theater Archive Project (ATAP), a grassroots effort that bearing similar partnership ethos as NPN/VAN.

The following suggestions are taken from all four presentations and the 20 people in attendance.

Why do it? Rationales for Building an Archive
(From ATAP’s Why Archive Theater? – A Call to Action)

  • Preserving the present can inform an artist’s/company’s future, artistically and organizationally.
  • The presence of the archive offers a tool for advocacy, artistic practice, and teaching, among other things.
  • A wide variety of individuals (scholars and students, artists, and advocates) may have a vested interest in learning from the archive.

What to save? Notes on Content
In its free online “Archiving Theatre” manual, the American Theatre Archive Project (ATAP) has a sample retention policy and schedule that lists what documents a company or artist should consider saving in perpetuity and what should be discarded after a set period of time. A sampling would include

  • Production/show materials (photos, programs, scripts and scores, videos, etc.), including those related to development.
  • Grants and reports, i.e., documents that demonstrate how the artwork was created to make an impact
  • Relevant agreements (contracts) and correspondence that demonstrate how the work functioned as an element of both practice and arts policy
  • Press, i.e., promotional materials, reviews, and letters, which demonstrate reception.

How to Get the Work Done? Strategies for Starting and Sharing an Archive

  • Decide who you’re preserving history for, what you’re going to save, and how.
  • Determine a consistent approach for saving materials and be sure to put dates on all articles that might one day be saved, so that the history can be accurately documented.
  • Also, think about where you might place this work – in a dedicated repository (collection), such as the library, or in the Cloud?
  • Determine an appropriate retention schedule and method (see In other words, on a consistent basis (quarterly, every six months, or year, perhaps), check on the location and status of saved items.
  • Talk to performance historians – scholars, who are key end users and emissaries for your work.
  • Start early. Even doing a little bit now is better than postponing the work for later. It’ll only pile up.
  • Board retreats and volunteer working sessions can be times where a lot of organizing can happen quickly and effectively.

Who can help? Additional Resources

Grantmakers in the Arts Seeks New CEO

Posted: Friday, April 21st, 2017 at 12:20 pm in Job Announcements, New

Grantmakers in the Arts is working with Koya Leadership Partners to conduct a search for its new CEO, and the position profile is now available online. As announced in December, GIA President & CEO Janet Brown will step down from her position at the end of 2017. GIA members are encouraged to share this email and the position profile with any interested parties. Candidate interviews are expected to begin in late May / early June. 

E-Newsletter / March 31, 2017

Posted: Friday, March 31st, 2017 at 12:53 pm in E-Newsletters

Seeking a Consultant Coordinator for LANE

Posted: Thursday, March 30th, 2017 at 3:11 pm in Job Announcements, New

Consultant Coordinator
Leveraging a Network for Equity


NPN/VAN seeks a Consultant Coordinator for the program Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE). LANE is an initiative that engages arts organizations of color and geographically isolated arts organizations in a four-year process to support their leadership and organizational health. The 4-year process includes regular convenings, capitalization funds, and subsidized consulting from a curated pool of consultants.

Work Relationship/Accountability

This position is a contracted administrative position that requires coordinating information from multiple sources. The majority of work can be done remotely but once-a-week, in-person meetings at the NPN/VAN office are required. Additional meetings may be required during high volume work periods. This position reports to the LANE Specialist.

Time Commitment

Duties will require 10 – 15 hours per week. Hours may vary depending on the volume of work.


This is a one-year contract compensated at $18,000 per annum. The Consultant Coordinator is an independent contractor. The position includes no benefits or healthcare and NPN/VAN will not be responsible for payroll taxes.


  • Co-develop systems for communication with the consultant pool
  • Support scheduling of LANE meetings including video conferences and in-person meetings
  • Manage travel logistics with the LANE program assistant
  • Secure and organize the required notes and reports
  • Facilitate payment process for the consultants

Please submit a cover letter, and resume by email to Search is open until filled.

Download a PDF copy

The National Performance Network (NPN) provides equal employment opportunity to all persons without regard to social and economic background, political affiliation or belief, race, color, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, mental or physical disability, national origin, current and/or former service member status, sexual orientation, health status, age, physical characteristics or marital status, and promotes the full implementation of this policy through a positive, continuing program of outreach. NPN actively encourages applications by all interested people who meet the above requirements.

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Caitlin Strokosch

Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017 at 12:11 pm in International Program Reflections, New

Blog Reflection:
Caitlin Strokosch, President & CEO, NPN/VAN

Our public round-table discussion at TPAM in February 2017 gave us an opportunity to engage face-to-face with artists, curators, and presenters from Japan to explore the role of the arts in addressing Japan’s most critical social issues. What we heard in response was frustration at the frequent disconnect between the arts world and the “real world” in Japan, and a resistance from many audiences and public funders toward artists who are engaging in controversial social or political topics. These topics include Japan’s aging population and the difficulties of the younger generation as caretakers, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, wealth disparity and hidden poverty, and the 3/11 earthquake in Tohoku. Our shared urgency to invest in risk-taking artists and their work, particularly in the face of increasing censorship in both the U.S. and Japan, gives greater focus to our U.S.-Japan Connection program, to ensure our limited resources are filling a critical need. It was a powerful introductory meeting, just the start of the deep relationship-building and learning our U.S. curators and I are embarking on. I left the convening inspired, imagining how we might support each other as colleagues through a shared commitment to freedom of expression and centering marginalized voices.

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:

Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017 at 12:04 pm in International Program Reflections

Sha Cage, Catalyst Series Curator, Intermedia Arts (Minneapolis, MN)

In the February 2017 trip to Tokyo and Yokohama, the U.S-Japan Connection group consisted of Julie Bates MacGillis (Intermedia Arts), who attended in my stead, along with incoming curators Benjamin Akio Kimitch (P.S. 122), Colleen Furukawa (Maui Cultural Arts Center) and, from NPN/VAN, President/CEO Caitlin Strokosch and program consultant Kyoko Yoshida. The majority of research was done in Yokohama at TPAM (Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting). The group also had a chance to take in some fringe shows and meet with partners and allies as part of the overall agenda. Throughout the nine-day TPAM convening, there was the opportunity to view more than 50 artists/companies that presented more than 200 performances, and attend more than 300 meetings, discussions and seminars. The conference hosted more than 700 people from over 40 countries. More specifically, those attending were professionals engaged in performing arts as artists, festival directors, venue producers, facilitators, company managers, presenters and in other forms in the profession. More than 15,000 people visited the “Creative City” of Yokohama looking for encounters with performing arts. As one of the new curators, this level of curated performance is both exciting and provocative. We invite you to follow the blogs and reflections throughout the year.  Here is a link to learn more about TPAM and what this convening is all about:

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