Community Engagement 101

The Yes Men

Launching Successful Community Engagement Campaigns has define the Career of Creative Capital Grantees the Yes Men

Powerful, disruptive ideas beg to be spread. Successful community engagement depends on setting clear objectives, finding your audience, and activating them. Stephanie Bleyer is a master of the community engagement campaign who runs the firm Six Foot Chipmunk. Stephanie helps artists across disciplines create strategic plans, raise funds, and reach and mobilize new audiences. On November 12, she will lead the webinar Producing & Funding Your Community Engagement Campaign. This webinar is essential for artists projects involving social justice, education, public art, or community building. It takes participants through the entire process of producing your campaign starting with letters of inquiry and grant applications all the way through to measuring impact. Artists can ask themselves these five questions as a foundation for your engagement strategy.

1) What are the social goals of my campaign?
Keep in mind that the social goals of your campaign will likely be different from the goals of your art work or overall practice. Think, “I want my audience to think about how many plastic bags they regularly take from grocery stores and ultimately reduce that amount,” instead of, “I want my project to receive awards and praise from environmental foundations and get written up in ArtForum.” Continue reading

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

Braden King & Matthew Moore Collaborate on “Cumulus” at Grand Central Art Center

Braden King and Matthew Moore, CUMULUS

Braden King and Matthew Moore, CUMULUS

This fall, Braden King (2005 Film/Video) and Matthew Moore (2008 Visual Arts) were in residence at Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) in Santa Ana, CA, creating the multimedia installation Cumulus (on view through January 5, 2014). A massive, four-ton, 60-foot long sculpture and video installation that employs custom programming and projection mapping, Cumulus is a meditative reflection on the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

GCAC’s Director and Chief Curator, John Spiak, describes the installation: “Through the use of building materials, specifically used scaffolding planks, the artists have created a massive pipeline that emerges from one side of the gallery before quickly disappearing into the other. Projected upon it are moving images of atmosphere and landscape, traversing its surface as fluidly as water flows through the aqueduct itself.” Continue reading

Video: Kyle Abraham & Wendy Whelan in the Studio

This week at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Kyle Abraham (2013 Performing Arts) performs with renowned ballet dancer Wendy Whelan in the world premiere of Restless Creature, a project initiated by Whelan in collaboration with four male choreographers. Restless Creature is a suite of four duets, each with its own distinct style and artistry, created by and danced with Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo. Following the premiere at Jacob’s Pillow (August 14-18), the work will tour in Spring 2014 to nine cities, including New York, London and Boston.

Jacob’s Pillow created this video to give some insight into Abraham and Whelan’s process in the creation of this new dance, entitled The Serpent and the Smoke. Whelan, who has danced with the New York City Ballet for 29 years, initiated this project to work with choreographers outside of the ballet world and expand her practice. She writes, “I have a lot of energy, curiosity and desire that I want to keep exploring.”

Shih Chieh Huang Creates New Commissioned Work for Glasstress 2013

Shih Chieh Huang, Seductive Evolution of Animated Illumination, 2013
Shih Chieh Huang, Seductive Evolution of Animated Illumination, 2013

The art world has gotten used to managing their calendars around the Venice Biennale every two years. In 2009, a collateral event was added to the offerings. In an effort to connect the history of Venetian glass production to the slew of contemporary art enthusiasts coming to town, Glasstress was formed. Seeking to illuminate the “…limitless possibilities inherent in glass,” organizers invited leading contemporary artists to collaborate with Murano glass blowers to create new work. Artists in 2009 and 2011 included Mona Hatoum, Chen Zhen, Fred Wilson, Dan Graham, Tony Oursler, Kiki Smith, Vik Muniz and Monica Bonvicini.

The 2013 iteration of Glasstress includes new work by Shih Chieh Huang (2009 Emerging Fields). Huang combined his process of making sculptures with household materials, animated by using original computer algorithims, with the traditional Venetian chandelier. The result connects Huang’s interest in technology and commercial culture with the great history of design from the islands of Murano. Continue reading

Ben Marcus Collaborates with Erin Cosgrove on Animated Book Trailer

We were so thrilled to hear that Ben Marcus (2009 Literature) is collaborating with fellow grantee Erin Cosgrove (2008 Film/Video) on an animated book trailer for his Creative Capital-supported project, The Flame Alphabet. Ben wrote to us, “The book trailer is going to be an exciting piece of art in its own right—Erin does amazing work, and in some sense this piece will also stand on its own as part of her oeuvre.”

The Flame Alphabet will be published in January by Knopf. In Library Journal‘s advance review of The Flame Alphabet, Barbara Hoffert writes:

Fierce, scary, hurtful, unsettling, and brilliant, this new work by award-winning novelist Marcus (Notable American Women) reminds us that language is dangerous and that we’ll do anything to protect our children, even when they are (literally) killing us. In the world imagined here, a terrible epidemic has descended: whenever children speak, adults sicken and eventually die. At first, only Jewish families are stricken, stirring echoes of history’s uglier sentiments. But soon every adult is affected. Continue reading