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

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


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.



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
  2. Embodiment Project, Ancient Children
  3. Echo Brown, Black Virgins Are Not for Hipsters
  4. AXIS Dance Company, Divide
  5. Campo Santo, H.O.M.E. (Hookers On Mars Eventually)
  6. Ryan Nicole Austin, If You Give a Black Girl a Lemon
  7. Guerrilla Rep, Mommy Queerest
  8. Star Amerasu, Rebecca
  9. Rotimi Agbabiaka, Type/Caste

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:

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.

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.

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

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.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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 (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.

The NPN/VAN Local Program in the spotlight again!

Posted: Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 2:27 pm in News

NPN/VAN is proud to be the recipient of another award for its contributions to its home community. The New Orleans Chapter of the National Conference of Artists annually honors outstanding individuals and organizations whose work enhances the creative, cultural, and economic climate of New Orleans. Stephanie Atkins, Director of Local Programs, accepted the award during the 6th Annual Margaret Burroughs Symposium on Saturday, June 10th. Other 2017 organizational honorees were the Center for African and African American Studies at SUNO and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. In the outstanding artists category were Mapo Kinnord, L. Kasimu Harris, and John Barnes; Dr. Stella Jones was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award. Past recipients include the Amistad Research Center, Arts Council of New Orleans, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, L9 Center for the Arts, McKenna Museums, New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Neighborhood Gallery.

The National Conference of Artists (NCA), founded in 1959, is devoted to the preservation, promotion, and furtherance of African and African American culture, and the creative forces of the artists that emanate from the African World experience. The NCA proudly proclaims its existence as the oldest African American visual arts advocacy organization in the United States. Its members include artists, educators, scholars, exhibitors, art distributors, art collectors, and supporters of African and African American art and culture. The New Orleans chapter has been at the vanguard of progressive cultural enlightenment by providing economic development, exposure, and acknowledgment for the arts and artists.

NEA Awards Two Grants to NPN/VAN

Posted: Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 1:12 pm in News

In June, the National Endowment for the Arts announced 1,195 grants totaling $82.06 million to support arts activities in every U.S. state and jurisdiction.

In the Art Works: Dance category, NPN has been awarded $50,000 for programs that support contemporary U.S. choreographers, dance artists, and presenters to create, commission, tour, and engage diverse communities with new work across the United States. The programs will support the development and touring of innovative, new dance works; nurture the careers of hundreds of dancers; and create spaces for authentic dialogue between diverse dancers and audiences across the United States. Art Works is the NEA’s largest category and focuses on funding the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and strengthening of communities through the arts.

NPN/VAN has also received its first Our Town grant. The $75,000 award will support the Knowledge Building Initiative, NPN/VAN’s creative placemaking research and archiving project. NPN/VAN is partnering with Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, PhD, and Elliat Graney-Saucke, to research and archive creative placemaking case studies and best practices in the 33 states represented by NPN/VAN’s network. The work will result in a series of written reports, blog posts, and filmed short interviews and oral histories, all of which will be accessible through NPN/VAN’s website. Research findings will also be disseminated through dedicated sessions at NPN/VAN’s convenings. Through this project, NPN/VAN will deepen engagement with its partner organizations, promote effective reflection and evaluative efforts, and better articulate the social change benefits of artistic production. The project will reach NPN/VAN’s national network of 84 organizational partners and their communities. Our Town is the NEA’s signature creative placemaking program that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal governments that work to revitalize neighborhoods. This practice places arts at the table with land -use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies to address a community’s challenges. Creative placemaking highlights the distinctiveness of a place, encouraging residents to identify and build upon their local creative assets.

Read more…


About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit

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.

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