News & Events

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

Going Extra Miles

Posted: Monday, April 4th, 2016 at 5:27 pm in News

Ron Berry (Fusebox, Austin), Roell Schmidt (Links Hall, Chicago), Kyoko Yoshida (US/Japan Connection Consultant), Steve MacQueen (Flynn Center, Burlington), (left to right)

(left to right) Ron Berry (Fusebox, Austin), Roell Schmidt (Links Hall, Chicago), Kyoko Yoshida (US/Japan Connection Consultant), Steve MacQueen (Flynn Center, Burlington), Ritsuko Mizuno (Japanese Contemporary Dance Network)

by Kyoko Yoshida, U.S./Japan Connection Consultant

On a sunny October morning in a meeting room of the newly opened Kyoto Experiment Festival office, I looked around the table and said to myself in appreciation, “a small miracle happened again.” Curators for NPN’s Asia programs arrived in the old capital of Japan after visiting Seoul and Gwangju, South Korea and Tokyo.  Their travels originated from Burlington, VT; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; and I flew in from San Francisco, to meet with the Japanese partners based in Kyoto and in Kobe (Hyogo prefecture).  I wondered, how many international and domestic miles and hours of travels combined in the room to make this bi-national dialogue happen? Not to mention how much we each do – presenting artists, developing audiences, planning and fundraising for festivals, seasons, field convenings and advocacy, etc, – managing deadlines and adjusting schedules to all be here!

Japanese and US curators

Japanese and US curators

At this October meeting, the six curator-partners and NPN staff rolled up their sleeves and really kyokin-wo-hiraita (opened up and talked ones’ mind) as we started to discuss the practical framework of artistic exchange.

The U.S./Japan Connection: Building a Community, the convener of this meeting, is NPN/VAN’s program that nurtures cultural exchange between artists and organizers in both countries through learning, relationships, and reciprocity. Leading up to and during this meeting, the Japanese partners articulated­ their concerns around the conditions and typical models through which Japanese performing artists are creating work.  Of particular note was the “short-sightedness” in Japan of the creative process demonstrated by very restricted application windows of major grant programs (between the announcement and the deadline) and the scarcity of multi-year funding programs. Also there is a lack of infrastructure and market for touring work within Japan, as most arts philanthropy supports creation of new works, not tours. This situation seems to be causing stagnation, particularly in the contemporary dance scene in Japan. The Japanese representatives shared the insights that artistic products and projects have mostly become objects of consumption, be it a long running commercial musical theater piece or even an experimental small-scale solo dance performance, the former being for mass-consumption and the latter being for self-satisfaction.

The Japanese partners then expressed their desire and ambition to create a new framework together with the U.S. partners that can trigger even small changes in these trends – even though the United States is perceived as the leader in global economic consumerism. How can NPN not respond to this?

Inspired, and also recognizing both similar and different challenges faced by artists in the U.S., Links Hall proposed an initial structure that the bi-national team has been collectively designing, temporarily called “creative residency and tour exchange.” Through this model, Japanese and American artists will create new works side-by-side in residencies in both countries and present/tour the works that come out of the residencies. Unlike existing models of “international collaboration” practiced in the field, in which the artists from different countries create one production together, the artists will create two respective productions, but share the creative process with each other by actively interacting and giving feedback, criticism, and stimulation to each other during the residency. The exchange will also provide facilitation and interactions by creative minds from different industries during the residency – meeting various needs as agreed upon by the artists.

While honing the details, timelines and funding strategies, the partner-curators also organized and attended live showcases in Chicago, Austin, Kyoto, Kobe, and at the Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama and at NPN’s Annual Meetings in Tulsa, OK and Portland, OR. Some of these have been reported in past editions of the E-news.  Very soon, we will be making an announcement of the artists participating in this new exchange program.

This is just one part of the whole picture, as we have also been working on and making a series of panel presentations regarding ­­arts and disaster relief/preparedness, as well as socially engaged art.  The next report from the U.S./Japan Connection will feature our recent visit to Tohoku, the region of Japan that was most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, to share some new developments!

The Next Steps

Posted: Monday, April 4th, 2016 at 5:27 pm in Field News

Harold Steward, Candace L. Feldman, Jonathan McCrory, Ashley Walden Davis

(left to right) Harold Steward, Candace L. Feldman, Jonathan McCrory, Ashley Walden Davis

by Jonathan McCrory

A future is a system of variables yoked together, impacted by the past and conducted by the present. The concept of a future is a collective generative act and Next Generation National Arts Network (NextGen) is a collective generative response to help orchestrate a transition happening in the arts sector. Looking at the current state of the arts administration field there is a huge gap appearing in age and skill. Through a collective effort led by artists and administrators, both emerging and established, NextGen has galvanized a safe space that shares information equitably among our peers and our colleagues. As with all movements – yes this is a movement – NextGen was formed out of a need to “name.” We wanted to name where these gaps were happening in our sector, what was happening, who it has impacted, and how we are going to walk into the next era of arts administration in America as a success story.

Looking specifically at small to mid-size anchoring cultural arts institutions, it became clear that the pending event that was looming in the next few years would be a changing of the guard – a transition where legacy holders step down and burgeoning new torch bearers emerge to take command. I am personally an example of that now, holding the position of Director of Theatre Arts Program at a 47-year old institution. When I originally took on the position in 2012, I was 26 years old, and from there forward my life changed. This position at the National Black Theatre, founded by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer in Harlem, was my first institutional job. However I wonder if, like myself, these next generational leaders are being equipped with the tools to manage this massive transitions and forgo some of the learning curves of their predecessors? We were wrestling with the age old question; are we ready?

So, sitting in New Orleans, LA at the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network Annual Meeting in November, 2013, a group of artists and administrators wrestled with how to solve this conundrum. That initial collective gathering sparked four arts administrators of color to start what was originally called NextGen, which now has grown into NextGen National Arts Network. We sought, and continue to seek, to create a healing ointment that will help to protect mid- to small-sized culturally specific institutions, because those veteran organizations are historically most vulnerable to this pending transition. This is due to the discrepancy in the lack of equitable resources given within the art sector. Not waiting for this to happen or pleading for help, Harold Steward, Candace L. Feldman, Ashley Walden Davis and I assumed leadership, and recently expanding this leadership to include Elliat Graney-Saucke. Together we have formed a free resource platform and potential stop gap to help groom each other and our colleagues to gain access to the experiential, visionary and avant garde knowledge needed to helm these gigantic leadership positions. We are creating a living virtual bridge for legacy to be transferred.

We are the generation of generosity. A generation that seeks to find holistic ways that support each other while maintaining our culturally rich ecosystems that truly represent the diversity of the cities we live in. We are leaders who are not homogenizing into the mainstream fanfare, but rather, challenging the system to accept the nuance found in our beautiful differences: locally, nationally, sexually, racially, and religiously, to name a few.

Over the past three years, NextGen also has facilitated workshops at national arts conferences; namely, the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network Annual Meeting, the South Arts Performing Arts Exchange, and the Theatre Communications Group National Conference. These landing points have helped us to connect ”person to person” instead of solely through our virtual community. Through such activities, we have been able to learn the actual needs of our membership base.

Through our growing membership, which is currently approximately 250 members, NextGen has been able to utilize Facebook and Google Drive as digital tools to grow membership and share information. I am particularly proud of the fact that we have been an active resource in providing job opportunity notifications. To document and store our work, we currently have a Google Drive folder that holds all the recordings, articles and NextGen reports. Google Drive, Mailchimp and Facebook have allowed us to share with the field while exercising a culture of transparency within the organization. As we publicly proclaim our progress and challenges, we not only attract more people to be at the table, we are also inspiring our peers and colleagues to dismantle the ”crabs in a barrel” scarcity mentality.

Currently NextGen is completely volunteer based and run, from a heart and soul mentality that is committed to the betterment of our field at large.

The potential and future of NextGen lies in many different directions. One is a possible national convening of self-identified next generational leaders. Serving not only as a training session, this convening could help us to break the silos of silence that we tend to find ourselves stewing in. The arts, though communal, is so isolated. Outside of the convening, another aspect of the future of NextGen lies in our online presence, including our active website, which helps to further our mission by the brand messaging of the organization. NextGen has the potential to become and to offer so many things. In sustaining its growing network through online and physical presence and resources, fiscal support that sustains its operations may also be in the future mix.

I am clear that the NextGen National Arts Network is potentially an opportunity to help with the building of the secession plan for this generation. A plan that helps us document the legacies of what has happened, analyze the bumps in between, and create a space where self-love and self-care are at the forefront for those who work in the arts. NextGen National Arts Network is here to breathe with our community, brag about the successes of our community, and envision with gratitude the future of our community. We are the farmer tilling the land and planting the seeds of deep desire that will build stronger formidable institutions that truly highlight and show the diversities of our community.

Musings from the Annual Meeting in Portland 2015

Posted: Monday, April 4th, 2016 at 4:05 pm in Events, News

by Mimi Zarsky
Senior Program Specialist, Convenings Mimi Zarsky and Trixie

The Portland Annual Meeting was in 2015…locations over the years have included these amazing cities: Tulsa, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Knoxville, Cedar Rapids, Dallas, Tampa, Miami, and Seattle. Trying to keep track of every city and its corresponding year is my personal anti-aging brain game—and I fail every time!

But being in a new city every year keeps the job of organizing the AM incredibly fresh (and sometimes a bit frustrating). Along with learning about a city through the eyes of our Partner Hosts, each Annual Meeting planning season brings us into contact with a new set of personalities to communicate with, unanticipated challenges, successes, creative notions and local dynamics. And it’s truly different every year. Building relationships—one of the hallmarks of the Annual Meeting—starts when the plane lands, and NPN/VAN begins to navigate all the logistical ins and outs of organizing a meeting for 350 artists, Partners and colleagues. And yes—I’m still Facebook friends with the hotel sales manager from the 2006 AM in Cedar Rapids!

Over the years, I’ve witnessed a sea change in the area of technology at the AM. In 2001, we included a “Video Den,” where folks could bring tapes to view on a VCR. The space, which was originally designed for sharing work, morphed into the “Media Lounge,” but was eliminated this year because of the access to virtual platforms that most of us carry.

As at previous AMs, the Live & On Stage performances ranked as the favorite scheduled activity, but I think this year we earned that slot. We set out to make the shows run tighter and smoother, and the quality of the work was awesome.

There were some Big Ideas that permeated this year’s AM, and they didn’t just bubble up during programmed sessions. They became natural topics for informal discussions where a group of attendees gravitated, and included: Hybridity, Curation, Equity, Access and Succession. We looked at WHERE we were through the lens of two local Native artist activists; told each other WHO we were by shouting our names from the stage; and—guided by Keynote speaker Kristy Edmunds—contemplated WHERE WE’RE HEADED.

I have one more plug to make: the Annual Meeting is designed and facilitated in large part by the people attending it, and would not be what it is without their contributions. Twelve brilliant Idea Forums over the course of 2 days represented collaborations among 60 artists, Partners and colleagues, and spoke to pressing issues that face our field. And the Peer-2-Peer Workshop for Artists brought five artists together to engage and guide 50 artists through personal and professional discussions addressing the sustainability of a career in the arts.

I gotta say: organizing this event is pretty cool.

To see program selections from Portland, including the Live & On Stage Performances, click here:

NPN/VAN Announces the Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE) Pilot Cohort

Posted: Monday, April 4th, 2016 at 9:00 am in Field News, News, Press Releases

For Media Inquiries
Contact: Tricia McKenna

Arts Nonprofits Embark On Multi-Year Initiative to Strengthen Organizational Health and Bolster Sector-wide Equity

National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network and Nonprofit Finance Fund partner to support diverse cohort of 6 arts organizations in intensive program

NATIONAL—April 4, 2016—Six nonprofits are leading a new phase of the Leveraging A Network for Equity (LANE) initiative to address sustainability challenges created by systemic financial inequalities within the arts and cultural infrastructure of the U.S. LANE is a partnership between the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN), Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It is an expansive multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to build the financial and organizational health of the NPN/VAN network and bolster arts organizations that have often been overlooked by mainstream funding.

Organizations selected to participate in the current phase include: Carpetbag Theatre (Knoxville, TN), Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas (Seattle, WA), Junebug Productions (New Orleans, LA), Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) (San Jose, CA), The Myrna Loy Center (Helena, MT) and Su Teatro (Denver, CO).

These nonprofits include groups that are led by or primarily serve people of color, small- and mid-sized organizations, and those based in geographically-isolated locations. These organizations have deep connections to their communities, demonstrated equity within their organizations and exemplify innovative solutions to a changing field with shifting demographics.  Over the next four years, these groups will receive expert assistance and access to significant capital investments to help strengthen their business models and fundraising strategies, with the goal of also informing shifts in the sector at large.

“These organizations preserve and innovate aesthetics that are not often well-represented in mainstream venues, though their contributions are vital to the cultural expression and legacy of their communities,” said Sage Crump, LANE Program Specialist at NPN/VAN. “The entire NPN/VAN network will benefit from work addressing shared challenges, such as gentrification and displacement of core audiences, limited staff capacity, and facilities-related issues.”

Among the first activities that the cohort will participate in is a three day Financial Leadership Clinic, during which each organization will receive a customized financial analysis of business model dynamics and insight into how to effectively communicate financial needs and goals, and begin to articulate the objectives that will inform their activities over the next 4 years.

“As we consider capitalization in the arts, it’s imperative to understand the unique dynamics facing small and mid-size arts organizations that have been marginalized,” said Claire Knowlton, Director for Advisory Services at NFF. “LANE and this deep work with the small cohort may inform philanthropic strategies that better support diversity and equity in the arts.”

For information about LANE, visit


 About Nonprofit Finance Fund

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) unlocks the potential of mission-driven organizations through tailored investments, strategic advice and accessible insights. Founded in 1980, NFF helps organizations connect money to mission effectively through established and innovative approaches to social sector finance. A leading community development financial institution with over $300 million in assets under management, NFF has provided $575 million in financing and access to additional capital in support of over $1.5 billion in projects for thousands of organizations nationwide. NFF is headquartered in New York City and serves clients from five offices across the country.


NPN/VAN is a relationship-based network of presenters and exhibitors that serve and connect diverse cultural organizations, artists and communities. Annually, NPN/VAN provides over 1.5 million dollars in support to artists through its network of 77 Partners. NPN/VAN generates paid opportunities for artists to create, exhibit, and tour work to diverse communities across the globe. Partners facilitate collaborations that inspire artistic experimentation, honor cultural heritage, and promote social change.

Preservation and Arts Organizations Partner on Performing Arts Emergency Preparedness Initiative

Posted: Monday, March 21st, 2016 at 4:42 pm in Field News, News, Press Releases


Contact: Meg Blum, Associate Director of Marketing & Communications, LYRASIS
720.215.2179 or

March 17, 2016, Atlanta, GA – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently awarded a grant of $50,000 to LYRASIS, a leading member-based non-profit organization serving libraries, archives, and museums, to facilitate planning with eight partner organizations to design a program to build capacity and improve emergency preparedness within performing arts organizations.

The six-month planning grant will support identification of strategies to increase knowledge, ability, and readiness among performing arts organizations to plan and execute emergency recovery plans.

The project planning committee brings together expertise in emergency preparedness from both the cultural heritage and performing arts communities with representatives from: ArtsReady at South Arts, The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), LYRASIS, Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC), National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response, National Performance Network, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), and Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service (WESTPAS).

Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, ArtsReady Director at South Arts, notes that “These nine groups have expertise and have developed programs, services and tools focused on emergency preparedness and recovery. We are now bringing that body of knowledge together to identify potential collaborations and adaptations of what has already been created.”

Through research, in-person meetings, and focus group sessions, the partners will develop a plan that will be user-centered and scalable to have broad reach across different types and sizes of performing arts organizations. This white paper will include recommendations and opportunities for leaders in the performing arts field to support the readiness and resiliency of their constituents. It will seek to build resiliency in the performing arts sector by increasing the number of organizations with emergency response and recovery plans, and build expertise within the performing arts sector to advocate for and sustain emergency preparedness more broadly.

The group expects to complete its planning work by June 30, 2016. We welcome your input on this project. For more information or to get involved, please contact Project Manager Tom Clareson, LYRASIS’ Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services,

Download a PDF of this news release: Mellon Project – News Release (03.21.2016)

Emergency Preparedness Coalition logos


LYRASIS (, a non-profit membership organization, partners with member libraries, archives, and museums to create, access, and manage information, with an emphasis on digital content, while building and sustaining collaboration, enhancing operations and technology, and increasing buying power.

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at

About ArtsReady at South Arts

ArtsReady, an online emergency preparedness service by and for arts/cultural nonprofits, provides arts organizations with customized business continuity plans for post-crisis sustainability. ArtsReady is a national initiative of South Arts. South Arts, one of the nation’s six regional arts organizations, strengthens the South through advancing excellence in the arts, connecting the arts to key state and national policies and nurturing a vibrant quality of life. South Arts works in partnership with the state arts agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. South Arts is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, member states, foundations, businesses, and individuals. Learn more at

About Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts

The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) is a nonprofit conservation facility specializing in the treatment of works on paper, photographs, and books through conservation and state-of-the-art digital imaging services. Founded in 1977, CCAHA serves nonprofit cultural institutions, private individuals, and other collecting organizations. Learn more at

About Midwest Art Conservation Center

The Midwest Art Conservation Center is a non-profit regional center for the preservation and conservation of art and artifacts, providing treatment, education, and training for museums, historical societies, libraries, other cultural institutions, artists, and the public. Learn more at

About National Performance Network

The National Performance Network, including the Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN), is a group of diverse cultural organizers and artists, working to create meaningful partnerships and to provide leadership that enables the practice and public experience of the arts in the United States. Learn more at

About National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response

The Coalition is a voluntary network of government agencies, private organizations and individuals dedicated to building and sustaining an organized safety net of services, tools and information for those involved the arts and culture sector –artists, arts/culture organizations and arts businesses– before, during, and after disasters and emergencies. The Coalition also collaborate with other sectors at national, regional, and local levels to strengthen recovery efforts in the larger community.

About New Jersey State Council on the Arts

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is the division of the NJ Department of State. It receives funding in direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1966, its volunteer members and professional staff have worked to improve the quality of life in New Jersey by helping the arts to flourish. Learn more at

About Northeast Document Conservation Center

Founded in 1973, the nonprofit Northeast Document Conservation Center serves museums, libraries, archives, and individuals nationwide. NEDCC provides conservation treatment for book and paper collections as well as digital imaging, audio preservation, assessments, consultations, training, and disaster assistance. To learn more, visit


Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service: WESTPAS is an NEH-funded preservation information, education, and training program designed to extend the access lives of heritage collections, including performing arts libraries and archives, throughout the 14 U.S. Western and Pacific states and territories. WESTPAS also supports collaborative disaster planning and assistance. Learn more at


NPN/VAN Announces
Ten New National Partners

Posted: Friday, March 18th, 2016 at 6:22 am in Member & Partner Announcements, News, Press Releases

Download PDF

March 18, 2016

Please Contact: Stanlyn Brevé, Director of National Programs or 504.595.8008 ext. 204

The National Performance Network, including the Visual Artists Network, (NPN/VAN) based in New Orleans, is pleased to announce that the NPN/VAN Board of Directors has approved ten new NPN and VAN Partners to join the Network on July 1, 2016.

This concludes a two-year process that balanced a number of factors simultaneously including geography, aesthetics, and cultural diversity; values and mission alignment; and expanding new opportunities for artists. NPN/VAN received 100 nominations and invited 45 organizations to submit full applications. From this group ten organizations were selected to join the Network.

Partnership Committee Chair and Cowles Center Community Engagement Consultant, Michèle Steinwald says, “The board and staff conducted thoughtful and sensitive work to come to this decision. The slate of new partners is a dynamic group of organizations, representing varying perspectives and practices across the country.”


Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, MI)
Art2Action (Tampa, FL)
Bunnell Street Art Center (Homer, AK)
Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
International Sonoran Desert Alliance (Ajo, AZ)
Kelly Strayhorn Theater (Pittsburgh, PA)


All My Relations Arts (Minneapolis, MN)
Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (Indianapolis, IN)
McColl Center for Art + Innovation (Charlotte, NC)
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (Brooklyn, NY)

The addition of these organizations expands the Network to 77 NPN and VAN Partners in 47 cities and 31 states across the country. Stanlyn Brevé, director of national programs stated, “As NPN/VAN begins a new chapter, we are excited by the opportunities and energy that this group of organizations will infuse into the Network.”

NPN/VAN is a relationship-based network of presenters and exhibitors that serve and connect diverse cultural organizations, artists and communities. Annually, NPN/VAN provides over 1.5 million dollars in support to artists through its network of 77 Partners. NPN/VAN generates paid opportunities for artists to create, exhibit, and tour work to diverse communities across the globe. Partners facilitate collaborations that inspire artistic experimentation, honor cultural heritage, and promote social change.

# # #

NPN/VAN is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation, Japan Foundation – Center for Global Partnerships, Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of the Tides Foundation, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, Quixote Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Southwest Airlines and Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF).

E-Newsletter / March 2016

Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016 at 11:41 am in E-Newsletters

Caitlin Strokosch Named
New President & CEO of NPN/VAN

Posted: Friday, March 4th, 2016 at 10:00 am in Field News, Member & Partner Announcements, News, Press Releases

Caitlin Strokosch

Caitlin Strokosch Named as President and CEO of the National Performance Network,
including the Visual Artists Network

The National Performance Network, including the Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN), has named Caitlin Strokosch, currently executive director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, as its new President and CEO. Strokosch will assume responsibilities in July 2016 and will succeed MK Wegmann, who is retiring after 15 years of leading NPN/VAN.

Strokosch’s selection comes after an extensive national search that generated a pool of highly qualified candidates. Abe Rybeck and Abel Lopez, outgoing and incoming board chair respectively, and members of the search committee express enthusiasm about Strokosch’s appointment: “We are very excited to welcome Caitlin to NPN/VAN. She is an internationally recognized advocate for artists and has strong business acumen. In addition, she has a demonstrated commitment to advancing equity and social change through artistic expression and dialogue. Her inspired leadership will ensure that NPN/VAN remains at the forefront of efforts that promote the practice and public experience of the arts in the United States.”

Strokosch has served the Alliance of Artists Communities, ­­an international association of artist residency programs since 2002, and was named executive director of the organization in 2008. During her tenure, she organized international residencies for emerging Arab writers, conducted national ­level research on the sustainability of artist residency centers, and expanded the Alliance’s grantmaking in partnership with the Ford Foundation, Pew Fellowships in the Arts, 3Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and others. Prior to joining the Alliance, she managed several nonprofit music ensembles in Chicago, including the acclaimed chamber choir Bella Voce and the pioneering new music group CUBE.

“It is an honor and a delight to be selected as the next President and CEO of NPN/VAN,” says Strokosch. “I have long admired MK Wegmann’s extraordinary leadership and the organization’s commitment to supporting artists at the forefront of social change. NPN/VAN’s core values of cultural equity and freedom of expression are more important now than ever, and I look forward to joining an incredible team to further this work.”

NPN/VAN is based in New Orleans and supports a local network as well as its national, international and regional programs. Caitlin looks forward to working with the New Orleans community. New Orleans native Gia Hamilton, director of the Joan Mitchell Center on Bayou Road, says, “I have worked with Caitlin for years now and I am excited to welcome her to New Orleans. She understands how to build strong and deep partnerships that strengthen the infrastructure of the local and national arts community. Bravo!”

Strokosch is a frequent public speaker and has served as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joyce Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She currently serves on Grantmakers in the Arts’ board of directors. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Columbia College in Chicago and a master’s degree in musicology from Roosevelt University in Chicago, where her research focused on music as a tool for building communities of resistance and social dissent.


MK Wegmann Receives National Recognition

Posted: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 at 12:16 pm in Field News, Member & Partner Announcements, News

Fan Taylor award presented to MK Wegmann

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) honored the top performing arts leaders of 2015 at its annual Awards Ceremony and Luncheon on January 18, 2016. Actor Ben Vereen addressed the honorees and attendees at the event that is part of APAP|NYC 2016, the association’s annual conference and gathering of performing arts professionals. One of the most popular events each year at APAP|NYC, winners are nominated by their peers for having had a significant impact on the industry and on communities worldwide. “This year’s awardees have forged paths of progress for performing arts through vision, passion and hard work. From inspiring great performance to supporting artists and advocating for arts, these beloved leaders continue to make an impact and we are proud to shine a spotlight on each of them and their achievements,” said Mario Garcia Durham, president and CEO of APAP.

The Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award, APAP’s highest honor, is presented annually to an individual whose outstanding service, creative thinking and leadership have had a significant impact on the profession of presenting and/or on the Association of Arts Presenters. This award honors Fan Taylor, Arts Presenters’ first executive director, for her many contributions to the field of presenting.

Last year’s winner, Alberta Arthurs, introduced the 2016 honoree, whose identity remains a secret until the awards luncheon, as a colleague who “has been in the field for more than 30 years, though not in a usual way. Known to us all, touching us all, this colleague commands no specific stage or schedule, but sweeps amongst us, stimulating ideas, stirring things up, casting the critical thoughts and ideas that help make the field significant.” Arthurs went on to describe the honoree as “fierce in convictions, ‘like a tiger,’ said one informant, ‘like a terrier,’ said another, our colleague is outspoken in the fights for racial and cultural equity, for the roles of community and creativity in lifting lives and lifting values.”

Going on to describe the honoree’s leadership, “The organization led by this singular person provides ‘a web of relationships’ and ‘a bubbling culture of cultures,’ as one seasoned observer describes it. The organization supports artists’ work and access to it, defends artistic expression and experimentation, and asserts that ‘change must come from within the arts.’ That’s a quote from our singular person. An expert evaluator has written, ‘Over its 25-year history, this organization has supported the creation and touring of socially grounded performance, played a catalytic role in developing careers of hundreds of diverse artists, and fostered deeper engagement between artists and communities.’ A second evaluator wrote that its leader is exemplary, ‘a national asset.’”

Arthurs continued, “As often as this colleague is described as fierce, this colleague is also described as quiet, even shy; a good listener, a good learner, absorbing what other people say and observing what they do; outspoken and plain spoken, but also soft-spoken; fierce, but not noisy; a renowned fighter for the good and a well-known party giver; a deep commitment to national and international action and deep, deep dedication to home and dogs; a profound appreciation of makers: makers of art, of ideas, makers of change and makers of good meals and very good martinis.” And then before presenting her, Arthurs said, “Thank you for saluting NPN’s warm and wonderful, deeply ethical, engagingly honest, always inspiring, absolutely unique, MK Wegmann.”

An astonished MK addressed those gathered, “I am so surprised and honored and appreciative. As many of you know, I am stepping down, retiring from this position, looking forward to the opportunity, as I’ve said, to many, to become a colleague again. There are so many people to thank. I want to especially acknowledge Lisa Mount, my partner in life, but Mario Garcia-Durham, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, so many colleagues in the field, David White, who was the founder of the National Performance Network, my colleagues at NPN, Steve Bailey, Stanlyn Brevé…. I could go on and on and I don’t want to take any more time. Thank you so much for this honor. It means a great deal to me and I am totally surprised.”

Arts Presenters has posted on YouTube a video of the awards ceremony. Here’s a link to “clip 3” and the presentation of the award to MK begins at 22:25.

Connections Made at VAN Annual Meeting Exhibition

Posted: Saturday, February 20th, 2016 at 3:38 pm in Events, Member & Partner Announcements

Exhibition opening at Disjecta

Exhibition opening at Disjecta, December 11. 2015

Unintended Connections presented the work of thirteen artists in an exhibition that spanned two venues and many modes of presentation. Yvonne Buchanan (VAN Exhibition Residency, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT, 2015) and Gregory Michael Hernandez (VAN Exhibition Residency at MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San José, CA, 2012) presented new work reflective of their interests in excavating, exposing and altering complicated community histories through installation. Their work investigates the politicized body, place and presence. While both artists were trained as painters they push at the limitations of materials and genres by expanding into the more ephemeral practices of video and installation. Takahiro Yamamoto (Portland) presented a series of photographs as a way to ask the questions, “Who is being seen?” or “What is the tipping point between individual and community?” Similarly, the Portland-based artists in the exhibition, Michael Reinsch, Sharita Towne, Ashby Lee Collinson and FLOCK members Tahni Holt, Allie Hankins, Eliza Larson, Lucy Yim, Tracy Broyles and Danielle Ross, work in-between performance, social practice, comedy, photography, dance, video, installation, collaborative and individualistic practices. For Unintended Connections these artists presented a series of performative actions at the exhibition’s opening. These artists choose to present ideas as material, moving bodies as visual art, experience as social sculpture.

Karoaking the Museum

Sharita Towne/Weird Allan Kaprow, Karoaking the Museum

The work presented in Unintended Connections was created independently by the participating artists and illustrates the vibrant state of contemporary art. The work was diverse and varied and never specifically intended to be presented together. But, serendipity brought this work together and connections were inevitably drawn between the work by the viewer and the artists, creating a community of ideas that could never exist in isolation.

This varied and shape-shifting exhibition was emulative of the Visual Artists Network (VAN)’s own form and mission, one that is responsive not only to artists needs but to the evolving conversation around the intersections of Visual and Performing Art and our dedication to connecting artists to diverse communities in meaningful and potentially transformative ways.

Michael Reinsch, Albatross in front of Michael Reinsch and the City by Takahiro Yamamoto

Michael Reinsch, Albatross in front of Michael Reinsch and the City by Takahiro Yamamoto

VAN is a national network of visual artists, curators, and exhibitors providing opportunities and subsidy support for under-recognized visual artists, nurtures the creation of experimental artwork and supports the touring of contemporary visual artists and their work. Patterned after the National Performance Network’s model performing arts program, VAN was launched in 2007 as a pilot, and in 2009 the program was formally established through the induction of the VAN Partners, fifteen leading contemporary arts organizations from across the United States.

Unintended Connections, was organized by the Visual Artists Network, with the support of NPN/VAN 2015 Annual Meeting host, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (NPN/VAN Partner Organization); Venue host Disjecta Contemporary Art Center; Exhibition Preparator and VAN Site Coordinator, Spencer Byrnes-Seres and NPN/VAN intern W. Orchid Robinson.

The NPN/VAN Annual Meeting Exhibition is made possible, in part, with generous support from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Quixote Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Official Airline of the National Performance Network, WESTAF

Photos: worksighted

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