Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Art+Housing Collaborative Offers Affordable Housing & Art Space in Chicago

Dorchester Art+Housing Collaborative in Chicago

Dorchester Art+Housing Collaborative in Chicago

Seven years ago, Creative Capital Artist Theaster Gates (2012 Visual Arts) bought his home in Chicago’s South Side; by 2010, he had completed the Dorchester Project, renovating several other properties in the area and turning them into artist and cultural hubs, and founded his own non-profit, Rebuild Foundation, which revives neighborhoods by restoring underused spaces and creating cultural programming. Now, Theaster and Rebuild are embarking on an even more ambitious project: Dorchester Art+Housing Collaborative (DA+HC), made up of an art center and 32 refurbished townhouses open to mixed-income artists, is creating a tight-knit community of creative people who are expected to “collaborate with their neighbors and with Rebuild Foundation.” Jeffreen Hayes, Director of the Rebuild Foundation, told us, “At DA+HC, the spirit of collaboration is at the heart of the project! Rebuild is in a fortunate position of dreaming right along with our founder and working to stabilize, revitalize, and transform many urban communities. Access to affordable and safe housing is a big issue in Chicago for many people. We do hope to create more housing opportunities that will fulfill a need.”

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Musician and Composer Taylor Ho Bynum Embarks on Acoustic Bike Tour of West Coast

Taylor Ho Bynum

Taylor Ho Bynum

Beginning on August 28 in Vancouver, composer and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum (2013 Performing Arts) embarks on his Acoustic Bicycle Tour, a five-week, 1,800-mile performance journey of the West Coast that concludes at the Mexican border. Conceiving of the entire trip as a kind of composition, Bynum will travel solely by bicycle, presenting solo concerts and playing with ensembles of area musicians in a variety of contexts and venues ranging from pop-up outdoor concerts to art galleries to concert halls. The endeavor is a performance art piece, a philosophical statement, a celebration of musical community and an exercise in extreme physicality.

Highlights from the planned performances include duets and small ensembles with some of the finest musicians on the coast, including trumpeter Cuong Vu (9/3, Seattle, WA), pianist Myra Melford (9/19, San Francisco, CA) and bassist Mark Dresser (9/29, Mission Viejo, CA); large ensembles of local artists performing Bynum’s compositions and conducted improvisations, including the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (9/7, Portland, OR) and Phillip Greenlief’s OrcheSperry (9/16, Berkeley, CA); and two concerts featuring the music of Bynum’s longtime mentor and collaborator Anthony Braxton—a quartet co-led with saxophonist James Fei exploring Braxton’s classic 1970s small group music (9/17, Oakland, CA), then a concert under the leadership of the maestro at the Angel City Jazz Festival (9/27, Los Angeles, CA). Bynum will also appear at the Angel City Jazz Festival as a leader, with an all-star band of Los Angeles-area musicians performing music from his critically acclaimed Sextet and 7-tette recordings (9/28, Los Angeles, CA). Continue reading

Artists Summer Institute Celebrates 5th Anniversary!

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Kay Takeda (LMCC) and Alyson Pou (Creative Capital) celebrate five years of ASI.

Earlier this month, we were so thrilled to celebrate our fifth year working in partnership with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) to present the Artists Summer Institute (ASI), a five-day professional development intensive for 55 New York City artists. This year we convened from August 6-10 at 1 Liberty Plaza, home to LMCC’s Workspace Program. As usual, we had an incredible group, and we celebrated our anniversary with a special dessert for lunch on Saturday.

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Artist to Artist: Amy O’Neal and Degenerate Art Ensemble Discuss Collaborative Practices in Dance, Choreography and Site-Specific Performance

Haruko Nishimura performing with Degenerate Art Ensemble

Haruko Nishimura in Degenerate Art Ensemble performance

As part of our “Artist to Artist” interview series, Seattle-based artists Joshua Kohl and Haruko Nishimura of Degenerate Art Ensemble (2013 Performing Arts) spoke with choreographer Amy O’Neal (2006 Performing Arts), also based in Seattle, about collaboration in dance, choreography and site-specific performance work. The following is an edited excerpt from their conversation. You can listen online to the full podcast, or subscribe through iTunes.

Joshua Kohl: We thought we could talk about a whole bunch of things because we have a lot in common, and a lot of differences in our work.

Amy O’Neal: And we’ve known each other in the Seattle community for at least ten years, or more?

Joshua: Probably more.

Amy: And have been each other’s work in various ways.

Haruko Nishimura: Yeah. And we do both music and dance and different media. Maybe we could talk about process or collaboration? Amy, I know you have five projects right now, but, generally, how do you start the process from you, and how do you spread or hand over or share to another collaborator in your team or in your project?

Amy: So, this next project I’m doing is called Opposing Forces and I’m working with a cast of B-boy break dancers from Seattle. And I’m working with DJ WD40 to make original music. It’s going to premiere at On the Boards in October. Continue reading

Performing Artists: Learn More about MAP Fund’s 2015 Grant Round

2014 MAP Fund Grantee Faye Driscoll's project "Thank You For Coming"

2014 MAP Fund Grantee Faye Driscoll’s project “Thank You For Coming”

During the months of August, September and October, the staff of the MAP Fund (administered by Creative Capital) will be on the road, spreading the word about the program’s upcoming 2015 grant cycle. With the support of presenting partners across the country, Program Director Moira Brennan will lead sessions in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami, and Program Associate Lauren Slone will travel to Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Houston. Check here for specific dates and attendance information, and read on for a basic overview of the sessions, frequently asked questions and more.

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Banker White Uses Film To Combat Disease

This has been a busy year for artist and filmmaker Banker White (2008 Film/Video). On September 8, PBS will air his documentary The Genius of Marian, a portrait of his family’s struggle to deal with his mother’s Alzheimer’s disease. As he continues to work on his Creative Capital project, WeOwnTV—which helps young filmmakers in Freetown, Sierra Leone hone their craft—Banker has experienced firsthand a recent outbreak of the Ebola virus. We decided to check in with Banker to get his thoughts on his upcoming documentary, and what’s going on in Sierra Leone.

Alex Teplitzky: The Genius of Marian follows Pam White, your mother, as she begins to write a book about her own mother, Marian. A year after beginning the book, Pam is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and so the film picks up where Pam’s book may not be able to finish. As a filmmaker, do you see yourself as creating almost a prosthetic form of memory which empowers people to remember?

Banker White: Well, when I pressed record for the first time for this project that was absolutely the intention, but it was done for very personal reasons.  My mother’s book project was the point of departure, the deep desire to memorialize someone we love and to connect with the difficult and complex emotions that surround losing them.

I moved back to the Boston area in 2009 with my mother and father to help out just after her official diagnosis, and working on the book was our daily activity. We looked at old pictures, watched old movies, and talked about and relived many memories. I also learned a lot about my mother’s life that I never knew—mostly in the details.  I knew her folks were divorced while she was in high school, but never talked with her at length about it. Right after my mother’s diagnosis she was really paralyzed and depressed by the shame and she never talked about her own dementia, but this daily activity seemed to open her up. Talking with me and doing video diary entries became a kind of confessional for her. The project grew to be more about her own diagnosis and how it was affecting our family.

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A Page From Our Handbook: Intro to Budgeting for Artists

A photo from our recent workshop at Flight School in Pittsburgh, PA

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Budgets: A budget represents your work in numbers. It also indicates how you value aspects of your work in financial terms. The budget is a big part of fundraising. It helps you determine what your expenses really are and how you meet them, even if you are your primary supporter.

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Outdoor Performance “Cry You One” Celebrates Land, People, Culture and Sustainable Living

Cry You One cast photo. Photo by Melisa Cardona.

Cry You One cast photo. Photo by Melisa Cardona.

This week, New Orleans-based performance companies Mondo Bizarro and Art Spot Productions (2013 Performing Arts) launch the national tour of their site-responsive performance, Cry You One, at the Clear Creek Festival Grounds in Rockcastle County, KY. Cry You One is an outdoor performance and online platform inspired by the disappearing wetlands of Southeast Louisiana. Part song, part story, part procession for our lost land, Cry You One utilizes the unique music and stories of Louisiana to inspire connections between people working to steward the natural world wherever they live.

I spoke with Mondo Bizarro’s Nick Slie, one of the leading artists on the project, about the story behind Cry You One, adapting the work for the Kentucky presentation, and the national tour of the work.

Jenny Gill: Cry You One was originally developed to celebrate and mourn the disappearing wetlands of your native Southern Louisiana. Now, you’re touring it to other regions. What has your process been for adapting Cry You One to the Appalachian setting outside of Berea, KY? Was it a challenge to create characters for the performance that hold the same relevance for you personally as the original characters for the Louisiana iteration?

Nick Slie: The best way I can explain this is to take you back a couple of years. In 2009, I attended my first Clear Creek Festival. The festival is an annual, multi-disciplinary event, now in its 12th year, that brings several hundred Kentuckians from rural and urban communities together with artist-activists and other great people from throughout the south and across the country. The intention of the Festival is sharing good music and art, building community, and inspiring all of us to live more sustainably—in harmony with nature and with one another. Started by the renowned singer Mitch Barrett over ten years ago, the festival features nationally recognized music and theater acts next to edible food walks and rocket fuel workshops. Continue reading

Yaelle Amir Curates Art Exhibition on Our Prison Systems

Untitled (from Lockdown)

Dread Scott – Untitled (from Lockdown), 2000-04

What would a prisoner’s dream home look like? Which news publications would an inmate subscribe to? To Shoot a Kite, an exhibition at the CUE Art Foundation on view through August 2, begins with questions like these and proceeds to open a world previously unknown to anyone who has never experienced the prison system. The show, organized by curator Yaelle Amir, examines several projects—including two by Creative Capital artists, Dread Scott (2001 Visual Arts) and Laurie Jo Reynolds (2013 Emerging Fields)—that expose the “abject state of the incarcerated.” As an increasingly significant portion of the American population lives behind bars, an exhibition like this takes on obvious importance. We spoke to Amir to get a better sense of her inspiration.

Alex Teplitzky: The essay you wrote for the show starts off with the character, Alex, from Sesame Street, whose father is incarcerated. Was it this character or something else that gave you the idea for an art show about prison inmates?  

Yaelle Amir: I have been studying the issue of mass incarceration in the U.S. for a long while and had the idea of developing an exhibition about it a couple of years ago, after I became increasingly aware of the existence of many creative initiatives to raise awareness and provide services to prisoners, such as Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace’s collaboration, Temporary Services, and Laurie Jo Reynolds’ various efforts through Tamms Year Ten to connect with incarcerated men and women. My knowledge of Alex from Sesame Street came later, through initial research for the exhibition. Discovering this character really brought this issue home for me, making it evermore clear that mass incarceration affects a broad segment of the American population.

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Artist to Artist: Documentary Filmmakers Marshall Curry & Penny Lane

Penny Lane and Marshall Curry

Penny Lane and Marshall Curry

As part of our “Artist to Artist” interview series, Marshall Curry (2008 Film/Video) and Penny Lane (2012 Film/Video) connected over the phone to talk about their past and current documentary film projects. The following is an edited excerpt from their conversation. You can listen online to the full podcast, or subscribe through iTunes.

Penny: Hello! Where are you calling from, Marshall?

Marshall: My office in Park Slope.

Penny: Oh, you’re in Brooklyn. Neat!

Marshall: Where are you?

Penny: I’m in Waterville, NY, which is about five hours north and west of where you are right now. I moved to central New York this past summer for a teaching job. Continue reading