Thursday, November 1, 2018

November 2018 Meet Our Artists: Candice Segarra

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!


 Name: Candice Segarra

What do you do?
Choreographer, Poet, Director of Segarra Dance Theatre Projects

What are you proud of?
I am proud of being able to evolve my work from where I began years ago as a choreographer. I am definitely not the same person or artist I was back then when I first started. I am much freer in terms of dance-making and more out of my head. I am proud of getting my dance collective into major dance festivals and showcases that I never thought my work would qualify for, sometimes I can be my own worst critic. I'm proud of being able to afford rehearsal space so far in my choreographic career although it has been super challenging and my wallet is falling short now; the more my company's opportunities grow. It's fascinating to see your hard work cultivate into something bigger than yourself! I'm also super proud of my dancers and other artists who collaborate with me and give me their time and energy to grow our company.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by hard-working fellow artists of any kind that make a living creating and inspiring others. I love colors and the complexity of human emotions and thoughts; they really intrigue me. My environment and nature inspires the way I think and create and human relationships inspire me to write. My work is based on these concepts as well as how society's treatment of certain classes and races- these really ignite the ideas in my mind and transform them into my artwork.

What are your goals?
I have so many goals! For my company, I aspire to take my company in a tour nationally and maybe even perform internationally if possible. I also hope to have our own full-length evening show where we showcase our repertoire at a NYC venue within the next year!

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
I wish someone had told me how hard it was going to be to be a professional dancer and a professional choreographer growing your own company in these times. It's hard! But if art – whether it’s music, dance, theatre, or visual – is what you truly love to do, it is totally worth it to be at times, broke, hungry, exhausted and stressed out. We only got one life, so we have to do what we absolutely love to do.

How does The Field help you?

Since I'm new to The Field, I am excited to see what we can do together. I am very much looking forward to receiving help with fundraising and grantwriting and to see how much my collective will grow under the sponsorship of The Field.


Click to enlarge images.

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!



Monday, October 1, 2018

October 2018 Meet Our Artists: Kevin Augustine

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!

 Name: Kevin Augustine

What do you do?
Actor, Sculptor, Puppeteer, Artistic Director - Lone Wolf Tribe

What are you proud of?
My tenacious spirit. Finding an artistic voice that's part archeologist and investigative journalist; a purpose that keeps me digging towards discovery-- towards unearthing a story that deserves to be seen and heard.

What inspires you?
Self-expression, challenge, choice, freedom, spontaneity, authenticity, compassion, integrity, mutuality, efficiency, discovery, creativity, beauty, equanimity, space.

What are your goals?
To tour the world with my company's first show in a new solo performance cycle: the dance/puppet hybrid, BODY CONCERT. I am also looking forward to completing the script for my 10th production (solo show) on human and animal rights: The PEOPLE Vs NATURE. This will involve a unique form of audience participation which I am eager to experiment with!

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Gently embrace your creative tough times too. It's all connected so just stay open and be kind to yourself (and others). Do your best and let go of the outcome. Meditate. Broaden your valued community by leaving animals off the menu.

How does The Field help you?

The Field has been my fiscal sponsor for many, many years. They have been a valued partner in all the grant writing my company has had to do to secure production funding.

 
Click to enlarge images.
the LEG BODY CONCERT

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!



Saturday, September 1, 2018

September 2018 Meet Our Artists: Ranardo-Domeico Grays

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!


Name: Ranardo-Domeico Grays

What do you do?
Choreographer, Founder/Artistic Director of VISIONS Contemporary Ballet (VCB), an ethnically diverse company committed to presenting spiritually uplifting contemporary ballet works.

What are you proud of?

I am proud to be a four-year brain cancer survivor...and to be creatively flourishing. After taking two years off for treatment I returned to VCB with even more of a story to share. I have completed past works in progress and I'm presenting new work. I created Roots, a new work presented in 2016 and Through the Valley, presented in 2017 for our 10-year anniversary performance, Healing Works. Currently I am working on our fall 2018 Healing Works II program, which will include the newly completed Dash - Between, and will be presented at The Theatre at The Riverside Church in NYC on November 10.

For the first time since leaving my hometown of Detroit, Michigan to attend The Juilliard School in New York, I will be returning to present my company in a concert dedicated to the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on December 19 – bringing my company home to share my work with the community that first nurtured dance in my life!

What inspires you?
I feel that The Lord has given me the opportunity to present VISIONS Contemporary Ballet to the community with more focus and even more passion than ever. I choreograph to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life in the local community and beyond. I feel that art can be used for healing. When people see themselves in my work or tell me that they were moved, it motivates me to keep going and creating.

What are your goals?
My goal is to build VISIONS Contemporary Ballet to be a strong contemporary ballet company with a voice of encouragement and inspiration and to embark on a multi-city US and international tour to share my work on a broader spectrum.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
We each have our own path. Continue to persevere, especially when you feel like giving up. As long as you are putting forth your best efforts, everything will fall into place eventually, even if it may not appear that way. Don't be distracted by things that don't seem to come through. They just may not be meant for you at that time.

How does The Field help you?
As an artistic director and choreographer, I am able to take advantage of opportunities that would not be available to me if I was not a Sponsored Artist of The Field. I was recently awarded the 2018-2019 UMEZ Grant as an inaugural recipient. I would not have been able to receive this important grant without the support of The Field.






Click to enlarge images. Photography by Andrew Williams

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August 2018 Meet Our Artists: Nisha Pradeep

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!



 Name: Nisha Pradeep

I am...
Director of Takajum LLC. Our mission is to create dance and drama productions using the principles of Classical art forms of India. Preserving the art forms and, at the same time, finding innovative ways to make it relevant and enjoyable to a diverse set of audiences. Takajum LLC. Our mission is to create dance and drama productions using the principles of Classical art forms of India. Preserving the art forms and, at the same time, finding innovative ways to make it relevant and enjoyable to a diverse set of audiences.

What inspires you?
I am inspired most by the appreciation we get for works that we present. I have always believed that dance and music can break any barriers like language or ethnicity. When I see a very diverse set of audiences feel and understand our work, it makes my belief strong. An artistic work presented with the most sincere and true emotions will evoke the rasa (Sanskrit) or feelings in the audience. When someone tells me, “I cried watching the performance,” or, “it reminded me of those days,” I know I have made them feel something. The connection I make with my audience and the satisfaction I get from that drives me to better myself as an artist and a performer.

What are you proud of?
I am proud of the fact that I never let fame or money dilute my mission. My mission has been to preserve the art form I have learned from my teacher/Guru and find innovative ways to make it more enjoyable and understandable to all. Quality has always been my priority. It has had its downside because it slows my growth. But I am still proud that I did not compromise on quality and I stuck to my roots. My success is not defined by the money I make but by the impact my work has on the audience.

What are your goals?
I try to follow the path as it unfolds. But my ultimate wish is to become a good artist whose work is appreciated and remembered. I am a teacher and I wish that I inspire my students, too, to love and nurture the art form that I teach.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Don't be disheartened if something does not happen the way you envisioned. Sometimes things fail so you are reset and put on the right track. If you think like that, every failure will seem like a stepping stone to a brand new idea. And it will not be a failure anymore. Never define failure as "I did not achieve my goal," for a goal is just a dream until you reach it. But the path or phase you are in is what is real. Make the most of it. Listen to what that path is telling you.

How does The Field help you?
I have many projects and ideas and I was looking for a way to get sponsorship or grants. I am excited to have found The Field and hope to make my projects a reality through the many programs they have to support artists like me.


Click to enlarge images. Photos by Tom Paul Nettikadan Photography
© Nisha Pradeep / Takajum LLC

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!

Friday, July 6, 2018

How Can We Really Earn the Name, The Field?

by Jennifer Wright Cook, Executive Director of The Field

The name “The Field” is ambitious. It implies that we believe that the whole ecology of artists and makers is vital to the health of our world. “The Field” means that we believe that all voices and visions are key. Maybe we haven’t earned that name?

From May 2017 til May 2018 The Field was one of 60 arts organizations in the Race Forward’s Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab, an amazing yearlong training program to improve racial equity in the arts and culture sector. Representing The Field was former Program Manager Wilfredo Hernandez, and myself - Executive Director, Jennifer Wright Cook.

Race Forward | The Center for Racial Justice Innovation | logo
Click to read their June 2017 press release,
"Race Forward Announces Distinguished Roster of
Participants for Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab."
After several workshops and skill-sharing (and dance parties), each organization had to launch a prototype to advance equity in their organization. The Field focused our prototype on Fieldwork, our 32 year old flagship feedback program that has been used by tens of thousands of artists and educators nationally and internationally. 

For context, Fieldwork artists/participants have historically skewed primarily white, primarily female, primarily dance/movement-based work. Our four Fieldwork facilitators are artists of color; three of whom have facilitated for 10+ years. In order to support our facilitators and sustain the program as a whole, we realized (1) We have some work to do, and (2) We are gonna do that work.

Wilfredo and I analyzed the pedagogy and practice of Fieldwork by looking hard at the Facilitator Manual and the participant Guidelines. We looked for coded language and silent references to the lifting up of white Eurocentric aesthetics around style, structure, design, body type, etc.

The work we set out to do was co-created with our Fieldwork facilitators. They are vital to the work. We collaborated with Fieldwork facilitators Pele Bauch, James Scruggs, Shalewa Mackall and Naoko Maeshiba via discussions, and review of writing and processes.

Current Fieldwork facilitators, L-R: Pele Bauch, Shalewa Mackall, Naoko Maeshiba, and James Scruggs
Field Deputy Director Shawn René Graham and National Field Network Manager Katherine Longstreth participated in our discussions and revisions. Full Field staff was looped in to the process and resulting programmatic changes.

Here are two key problem areas we identified together, and our processes to address them:
  1. Problem: The emotional labor of our facilitators is real. We need to support them more, check in more, listen more, and pay them for check-ins and debriefs.
    Process: We are baking in regular check-ins and debriefs to our facilitator engagements, and we are adding money to the budget to support this work.
  2. Problem: We need to be race explicit. Our public-facing Guidelines had not intentionally and authentically included artists of color.
    Process: We added more inclusive language. For instance, we included the following text to the Guidelines used by all participants, and made them available on our website: “If you feel like the feedback is too much or is biased by race, gender, culture or other -isms, the facilitator will lead the group to ensure that the artist’s work and vision is centered authentically and respectfully.”
In case you’re wondering, “Is this just a Diversity Initiative that just aims to get more artists of color in Fieldwork?” – the goal of this work is not to get more artists of color in Fieldwork – although that might happen.

The goal is to ensure that artists of color feel intentionally and authentically seen, supported, and engaged. As Wilfredo said,
"If we are going to create the circumstances in which artists of color feel supported and uplifted, then we need to scaffold that experience and make sure we are co-creating that reality each time we enter into the room. That requires some level of standard language and practice."
So what’s next?
  • Fully bake in the new practices and protocols so that Fieldwork can better support artists of color
  • Share our work with our national Fieldwork sites
  • Connect to more outer borough and/or artists of color led spaces for Fieldwork
Overall we are deeply grateful to Race Forward for this incredibly ambitious effort to impact the NYC arts and culture sector - for putting in heart, muscle and brains, and for empowering us to move ourselves and our organizations forward toward equity; and to the NYC Cultural Agenda Fund for funding this ambitious effort – and for putting out the RFP that made space for the work to happen! If there is no incentive for equity work, unfortunately, most white-dominated organizations will not do it.

We also want to thank our cohort partners at DanceNYC, ARTs East New York, and Spaceworks; as well as our coach Ellen Gurzinsky for making us work harder and laugh more.

The work is ongoing and consistent. It doesn’t end; it is iterating and shifting and growing forward.

PS. Here is full scoop on what we did and what we learned.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 2018 Meet Our Artists: Nicola Bullock

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!

Name: Nicola Bullock

I am…
A dance-maker, performer, teacher, and student

I’m inspired by…
The people who have come before me - back to the first humans to ever walk upright – and by the generations yet to come. I am inspired by the fact that dance has always held an important role in connecting people to themselves, each other, the world, and the cosmos. I am inspired by the endless wealth of ways that different bodies move as they seek to lead fulfilling lives.

I’m proud of…
Championing the voices of local dance-makers in Durham NC by producing shows, cofounding an organization that curates a season of dance, and working with theater companies to bridge the theater and dance communities.

My goals are…
To hear the ancient wisdom of the body; to learn how to transmit a visceral sensation to others through dancing; to adventure places outside of prescribed roles and movement patterns; and to keep a good sense of humor while at it.

How does The Field help you?
I'm excited to be a Fiscally Sponsored Artist at The Field! This allows me to fundraise and apply for grants with the backing of an incredible organization.

Any advice for fellow artists?
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” - Samuel Beckett
Click to enlarge images. Couch photo by Noah Rosenblatt-Farrell. Bullock. Mustache photo by Mayra Wallraff. Field photo and other content ©Nicola Bullock

Additional viewing: Creative Block 

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!




Friday, June 1, 2018

June 2018 Meet Our Artists: André de Quadros


Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!


 Name:
André de Quadros

What do you do?
Artistic Director of Common Ground Voices (CGV), an international choir project consisting of equal groups of Arabs, Israelis, and Swedes

What inspires you?
The common ground of music unites and acts as a tool for fruitful dialogue based on creativity, compassion, and respect.

What are you proud of?
In Jerusalem, we are confronted with ethnic, religious, political, and socio-economic diversity, segregation, and fragmentation. Over a five-day residency in March 2018, the singers were able to converse about the conflict, realizing the importance and platform of CGV.

The Swedish singers functioned as artistic and project partners by being able to mediate conversations. Several of the Israeli and Palestinian participants testified that CGV gave them the opportunity, for the first time, to have a fruitful dialogue with the other party, based on mutual respect.

What are your goals?

Common Ground Voices aims to form a circle of understanding in a world of differences between human beings.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?

Peace-building and conflict resolution takes patience.

How does The Field help you?

The Field assisted in raising money for the travel, accommodation, and food costs for the singers; providing the resources to make the 2018 March residency in Jerusalem possible.

Click to enlarge images. Content ©André de Quadros


Additional viewing:

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!