August 2018 Community News and Events

Image left: Stefanie Batten Bland. Photo by JC Dhien. Image right: Company SBB// Stefanie Batten Bland in Bienvenue欢迎WelcomeBienvenidoأهلا بك. Photo: Sally Cohn

CompanySBB at Spoleto & Lecce Festivals, Italy
Current MFAIA-VT student Stefanie Batten Bland’s project Bienvenue欢迎WelcomeBienvenidoأهلا بك, an interdisciplinary piece in collaboration with visual artist Benjamin Heller and composer Paul Damian Hogan, examines our willingness to embrace and share space with others. Countering the present political climate in which walls have become synonymous with barriers that separate people and places, Bienvenue… considers the graffiti-decorated walls of cities as communal canvases that express the past and present of its neighborhood people. Bienvenue… will have its European debut at the Spoleto and Lecce Festivals in Italy.

Stefanie Batten Bland – American Ballet Theatre Women’s Choreographer’s Initiative
American Ballet Theater announced a multiyear initiative that will support the creation and the staging of new works by female choreographers. Stefanie Batten Bland will begin a three-year performative and research-based partnership with American Ballet Theatre and Duke University for 2019, 2020 and 2021. Batten Bland, studying in the MFAIA-VT performance creation concentration, will explore historical monuments through the lens of the physical monument of classical ballet, and complex feelings surrounding its construction and transformation. Read about it here in the New York Times.

Sleeping Weazel’s 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show. Left to right: Wesley T. Jones, Vienna Carroll, Michael Bryan. Photo: David Marshall

Sleeping Weazel Earns Elliot Norton Award
Boston-based theatre company Sleeping Weazel co-directed by alumna Adara Meyers, (MFAIA-VT ’18) received an Elliot Norton Award in the “Outstanding Production, Fringe Theater” category for its November 2017 production, 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show, written by James Scruggs and directed by Mark Rayment. 3/Fifths’ was produced at Boston Center for the Arts, where Sleeping Weazel is in residence, and named one of 2017’s best shows of Boston in both WBUR’s ARTery and The Arts Fuse. Read about it here in the Boston Globe.

A Total Fiasco EP release Summer 2018!

A Total Fiasco Album Release
Alumnus Sam Vance (MFAIA-WA ‘15) has released an EP entitled A Total Fiasco.  The album features Sam and his family: wife Candace, son Max (age 14), daughters Echo (11) and Zoe (9). They are playing a number of shows around the Pacific Northwest and on the east coast this summer. The album will be available on Apple/iTunes soon! For concert and booking information go to www.atotalfiasco.com

The Chechen’s opens as a part of four play festival series
Current MFAIA-WA student Tess Howsam partners with alumna Catherine Mueller Melwani (MFAIA-VT ‘14) to produce Exquisite Corpse Company’s four play festival “This is a Distraction” as a part of The Institute for Collaboration and Play (IFCAP) RAW Residency at The Parlor in New York City. Howsam directs one of the produced new works, “The Chechens” by playwright Phillip Christian Smith. The play explores the recent news stories surrounding Chechen homosexual camps and supported ‘honor killings’. It is a universal story of acceptance and familial love set within a contemporary conversation. Running Thursday – Sunday August 2-12 at The Parlour, IFCAP’s new artistic home. A full floor loft located just west of Union Square in the heart of the Flatiron District on 144 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Image left: Artist Jan Wade with Deanna Bowen, artist Afuwa Granger, and poet/activist Cecily Nicholson with, image right, the lovely gathering at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver, Canada, presented by Kimberley Phillips for the Contemporary Art Gallery. Photos: Laiwan

Deanna Bowen at the Burrard Marina Field House Residency
Working across film, sculpture, performance, installation, drawing and photography, MFAIA-VT faculty member Deanna Bowen mines traumatic episodes, neglected archives and invisible histories rooted in genealogical and historical research to create works of great political potency. This summer Bowen joins the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver as artist-in-residence to begin the next phase of development in the multi-year research project On Trial The Long Doorway, revisiting a 1956 CBC live-to-broadcast production that featured her great uncle Herman Risby in a supporting role. Bowen is interested in the screenplay as a rare dramatic work that deals with black/white race relations in Canada. While in residence, Bowen’s investigation will expand to consider the history of an oft-forgotten Black Vancouver-based Jazz singer and variety show host, Eleanor Collins. She will collaborate on a new video project drawn from this research with artist and choreographer Justine A. Chambers and dance historian Seika Boye. Commissioned and produced through a partnership between the Contemporary Art Gallery and Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, Toronto, the culmination of this project will be presented in a solo exhibition at CAG in spring 2019.

On Saturday, July 21, a conversation with Deanna Bowen and Vancouver-based poet, activist and community organizer Cecily Nicholson was held at Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. They discussed intersecting concerns in their respective practices.

Deanna Bowen is a Toronto based interdisciplinary artist whose practice examines race, migration, historical writing, and authorship. Bowen makes use of a repertoire of artistic gestures in order to define the Black body and trace its presence and movement in place and time. In recent years, Deanna’s work has involved rigorous examination of her family lineage and their connections to the Black Prairie pioneers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Creek Negroes and All-Black towns of Oklahoma, the extended Kentucky/Kansas Exoduster migrations, and the Ku Klux Klan. She has received several awards in support of her artistic practice including 2017 Canada Council New Chapter and Ontario Arts Council Media Arts production grants, a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2014 William H. Johnson Prize.

Heavenly Bodies. Image courtesy of Risha Rox

Heavenly Bodies by Risha Rox at ChaShaMa, Brooklyn, NY
Based on a lifetime of sky gazing, Heavenly Bodies is autobiographical in nature. The paintings are depictions of the skies above very specific (to the minute and latitudinal/longitudinal point) times and places in alumna Risha Rox’s (MFAIA-WA ’16) life. These skyscapes illustrate the moments that appear in her tales and exist within the psychic landscape from which she pulls visually, time and time again. The event will take place from August 1 to 8, 2018 at 360 Furman Street Brooklyn, New York 11201, with a reception on August 1, 2018 from 6pm-10pm. For more information visit Heavenly Bodies at ChaShaMa.

Risha Rox is an interdisciplinary artist working in body art, storytelling, installation and sculpture – a practice, which she refers to as Corporealism. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 2003 with a major in African Diaspora Studies, she began to develop her artistic practice in the rich black loam of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY.

Risha is the current Artist-in-Residence of Chashama, Squarespace and See Me. She will be in residence at the Woman’s Studio Workshop in Upstate New York this fall. Risha’s work is concerned with reimagining art as a conduit for community action and engagement. To this end, she has commenced a tour in support of Black Lives, during which she has enacted live art performances in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago and New York City. She presented a talk in pursuit of a Black Feminine Archive at the Archives Matter Conference at Goldsmith’s College in London in 2016. That year she was also awarded an art and social justice fellowship in Lecce, Italy by the Musagetes Foundation. Risha also works as a makeup artist in film and television. Most recently, she acted as HMU Department Head on Suicide by Sunlight by director Nikyatu Jusu (a 2018 project funded by the production grant THROUGH HER LENS sponsored by the Tribeca Film Institute and Chanel) and Random Acts of Flyness (a new variety show exploring the zeitgeist by director Terence Nance, airing August 3rd on HBO). Seeking to exalt the base, temporal or ordinary, and redefine commonly held notions regarding the human body (and the Black body in particular) by inserting the largely missing Feminine Gaze, Risha’s practice is autoethnographical in nature. Heavenly Bodies is dedicated to Tameko Shambrey (01/30/1979 – 01/30/1999)

Petra Kuppers’ speculative fiction collection, Ice Bar

Petra Kuppers Interview at The Future Fire
MFAIA-WA faculty advisor Petra Kuppers was interviewed about the connections between disability, performance art, dance and genre writing on The Future Fire. Click here for Petra’s interview.

Three-year Black Earth Institute Fellow
Petra Kuppers has been named one of six fellows of the Black Earth Institute, a progressive think-tank dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society. She will hold her fellowship for three years, from 2018 to 2021. During her BEI fellowship, Petra will work on a hybrid poetry/fiction speculative manuscript, Corals and Pearls, and convene a symposium on Ecopoetics, Speculative Embodiment and Practices of Hope in Michigan.

The R.A.W. Welcomes the Ecosexuals to Philomath, Oregon!
The Rural Alchemy Workshop (R.A.W.) and K-Haw Hart (aka alumna Karin Bolender MFAIA-VT ‘07) had the intense and joyful pleasure of welcoming the fabulous and venerable performance artists and ecosexual revolutionaries, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, to our home ground in Philomath, Oregon on July 19-20, 2018. On July 19th, the E.A.R.T.H. Lab Mobile Unit arrived at the historic site of Mary’s River Grange in Philomath, bearing Stephens and Sprinkle and filmmaker Jordan Freeman. That evening, an intrepid group of art adventurers from local and regional places (including the amazing Felicity Fenton, MFAIA-VT 2006 and devoted others from Portland, Eugene, and nearby Corvallis) gathered in the old Grange Hall to enjoy a special screening of Stephens’ and Sprinkle’s exciting new feature film, Water Makes Us Wet! An Ecosexual Adventure, which originally premiered at Documenta 14. On Friday the 20th, the R.A.W ass barn and pastures were transformed by the radiant generosity and rigorously joyful living-art practice of the Ecosexuals, who are in the process of gathering video and interviews with environmental artists for a future film project and online class offering. We spent the day hanging out and shooting in an exquisite barn-light with Aliass, Henry, barndust microbes, and the whole ass herd. Needless to say, there was lots of dusty ass-kissing and celebration of dirty words. The R.A.W. cannot express enough gratitude for this beautiful day with these artists who give so powerfully to our collective capacities for radical joy and embodied worldly care. The R.A.W. will never be the same. For More information visit Ecosexuals at Philomath!

Sandra Paola performing Races as part of the exhibition The Road Home. Picture credit: Bruce McKaig

Sandra Paola Performs at Equal Justice Residency, Santa Fe Art Institute
Throughout the month of June, current MFAIA-VT student Sandra Paola López Ramirez was a sponsored Equal Justice artist in residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico. As part of her research on decolonization, Sandra Paola performed a new work in the group exhibition The Road Home, a collaboration between artists from Colombia, Syria and the United Sates. This show explored themes of belonging, ancestry, identity and value through painting, prints, site-specific interventions and live performance. Sandra Paola’s work explored family lineage and ancestry to continue the embodied decolonizing activity of both her improvisation practice and her family’s history.

Image left: Photo Allison Kazmierski. Image centre: L-R starting at top: Nick Olsen, Allison Kazmierski (photo: Miranda Murdock), John Speier, Mike Pasini (photo: Ted Kim), Krista Leigh Pasini (photo: Ted Kim), Eliot Gray Fisher, Alys Marshall. Image right: L-R starting at top: Bruno Augusto, Kate Jordan (photo: P Emerson, Erica Gionfriddo, Camille Griep, Sara Kremer, Jayme C Green, Patrick Scott-Wilson, Maribel Parman (photo: Jayden Engelhardt), Billie Parrott (photo: Ted Kim), Susan Kennedy Sommerfeld. All photos courtesy of the artists

Perform[ing]ance
HaltForce Art Collective directors Mike Pasini and current MFAIA-WA student Krista Leigh Pasini along with guest artists from Austin, Bozeman, Missoula, and Seattle will connect with artists in the Billings community. They will participate in a two-week exploration on how performance lives in our daily interactions and how the spaces between each can be blurred, simplified, curated, interpreted, integrated, and what happens when agendas are stripped away. At the center of this two-week residency is an intention for self-organization and the conscious decision to not predetermine expectations — to be present to the space and spaces we create. It is a long form inquiry on presence as performance, where artists will enter and exit the project sharing their interpretations on the theme. This 2018 performance residency artists will present new work, works in progress, along with performative pieces that will develop over the course of the residency.

Perform[ing]ance community: Kate Jordan, Bruno Augusto, Erica Gionfriddo, alumnus Eliot Gray Fisher (MFAIA-WA ‘15), alumnus Jayme C Green (MFAIA-WA ‘16), current MFAIA-WA student Sara Kremer, Camille Griep, current MFAIA-WA student Krista Leigh Pasini. Mike Pasini, Allison Kazmierski, Nick Olson, Patrick Scott-Wilson, Billie Parrott, Susan Kennedy Sommerfeld, and more. For more information visit HaltForce Art Collective.

Humans Against Music. Photo: ©Reuben Radding

Humans Against Music in the NY Times
Current MFAIA-VT student Reuben Radding had his photos and story about the Humans Against Music karaoke night featured in the NY Times recently in both the Lens Blog online, and in the Sunday print edition in the Metropolitan section. The piece centers on Radding’s interdisciplinary past as a musician whose photography practice returned him to the world of music, and then to the oddball karaoke community of his Brooklyn, NY home. Read the article here in the NY Times.

Invite for Launching Ships, with Janet Hayatshahi as Helen. Photo: Kirsten Brandt

Multimedia event Launching Ships
Launching Ships is a multimedia event by current MFAIA-WA student Kirsten Brandt and collaborator Janet Hayatshahi that takes a deep look at society’s ideas of “beauty” through the mythical journey of Helen of Troy. As Helen prepares for a formal gathering in honor of her homecoming, she must confront her own image. A woman once deemed as the most beautiful in the world prepares to face the newer, younger, and opinionated public. Traitor to her sex or architect of a movement, Helen must defend her life. Limited engagement at Center Stage Theatre in Santa Cruz, CA. August 17th and 18th, 2018 at 7pm. For more information visit the Launching Ships webpage. Click to see the trailer here.

We Almost Didn’t Make it. Image courtesy of Beverly Naidus

Beverly Naidus, We Almost Didn’t Make it
Community member and former faculty advisor Beverly Naidus has an interactive installation at ONCA 14 St George’s Place, Brighton, BN1 4GB, UK, made with support from the Seattle-based ARTifACTs collective, addressing the uncertainties faced by humanity as climate change and ongoing ecocide and environmental injustice affect many populations around the world.  Exploring ways to negotiate the barrage of daily assaults on our psyches by imagining the lives of our descendants and what we might do to improve their lives, visitors are offered an opportunity to transform painful emotions into fuel for creative activism. Asked to imagine themselves as ancestors as they walk through a series of curtains to a “portal of possibilities,” while encouraged to create an ‘artifact’ containing a commitment to an action that might help our descendants or future generations to not only exist but thrive. A goal of the installation is to foster more dialogue about ways to move past “dystopic” thinking and support resilient activism, no matter how discouraging things may seem.

Event with Beverly Naidus, 30 August, 6 – 8.30pm: Launch event and artist talk – What makes a socially engaged art practice resilient in this time? For more information visit: ONCA We Almost Didn’t Make It.

A note about ONCA: “In 2007, Laura, ONCA founder, met a puma called Wayra at a small refuge in the Bolivian jungle, run by the NGO Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY). Wayra had been a pet until she came to the refuge when she was ten months old. She was, and still is, terrified of the jungle. Over the years, Laura developed a friendship with Wayra, learning more from this cat about trust, patience and love than she can express. In 2011, Laura came back to the UK, wanting to find a way to tell Wayra’s story, intertwined with the stories of all the other animals (human and non-human) that she met in the jungle. She had the idea for ONCA (Panthera onca is the scientific name for jaguar), a storytelling space dedicated to issues that affect animals like Wayra. With the help of many other wonderful creatures, ONCA moved from an idea to reality and our gallery and performance space opened in Brighton in November 2012.”

Wells in the Art Against the Odds Studio. Photo courtesy of Edie Wells

Sam Houston State University 2018 Faculty Excellence Awards
Alumna Edie Wells (MFAIA-WA ’12), received one of four faculty excellence awards at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, where she is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Art. Wells began a program, Art Against the Odds, for children with incarcerated loved ones during her practicum semester in the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at the Port Townsend site of Goddard College. The Hospitality House, a local non-profit that provides services for families of inmates, partners with Wells to host the weekly program. The Academic Community Engagement program at SHSU is a teaching model that combines community engagement with academic instruction. To help students recognize their roles as community members, ACE courses integrate community involvement as an extension of the classroom experience. Wells and her student volunteers contribute hundreds of hours to make this ongoing program a successful and meaningful experience for families with incarcerated love ones.

Hiveland Debut September 2018
Hiveland, the newest production of alumna Kim Holman’s (MFAIA-VT ’18) company Luminarium Dance, will debut at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge, MA in late September. This interdisciplinary dance theatre piece utilizes unique scenic and lighting choices as well as an original electronic score, to enhance the plight of seven individuals in close proximity in a new environment. The show runs September 21, 22, 28, and 29 at 8pm at the Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second Street, East Cambridge, MA 02141. Telephone: 617-577-1400. For more information click here for Luminarium Dance tickets.

Pi Luna: Business Coach for Creatives. Image courtesy of Pi Luna

Business Coach for Creatives
Alumna Pi Luna (MFAIA-WA ’12) is teaching creative people how to turn their passions into thriving, sustainable businesses. She helps clients with marketing, graphic design, finance, time management and organizational skills. Pi meets with individuals in person and online. The first session is always free! To learn more, email or call Pi Luna at pilunapress@gmail.com, or telephone (505) 469-7311. For more information see Pi Luna Press.

Image left: Paul Wong’s year-long residency Occupying Chinatown, includes screenings this month of Movement for Two Grannies by Laiwan. Image right: Laiwan with Paul Wong at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens in Vancouver, Canada. Photos courtesy of Paul Wong

Occupying Chinatown 鹹水埠溫哥華/咸水埠温哥华/ Haam Sui Fow Wun Goh Wah
In the Scholar’s Study as a part of artist Paul Wong’s Occupying Chinatown, from July 13 to September 23, 2018, MFAIA-WA faculty advisor Laiwan’s short 10-second video Movement for Two Grannies will be shown in Five Variations.

Occupying Chinatown, a year-long artist residency of Paul Wong will take place at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver, Canada. He will be creating a series of multidisciplinary artworks based on seven hundred letters in Chinese sent by ninety writers to his mother Suk-Fong Wong over the course of her life, evoking memories and loss for the generations of Chinese-Canadians who built a community within a segregated Chinatown.

Movement for Two Grannies features two Chinese grannies engaged in a moment of intimate and affectionate friendship and was originally commissioned for the rapid transit system by Paul Wong, which he curated for the 125 Celebration of the City of Vancouver in 2011.

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