Monday, November 4, 2019

The 2019 Field Network Conference

In April 5-7 this year we hosted the third Field Network Conference in Portland, Oregon. Held every other year (leap-frogging with the National Touring Exchange), the Conference gathers Fieldwork facilitators and participants from across the country to further develop the Fieldwork methodology, as well as to discuss other issues impacting artists in their respective communities.

The Conference welcomed Field Network site representatives from all over the country (representing The Field NYC were Executive Director Jennifer Wright Cook, Deputy Director Shawn René Graham, and Fieldwork facilitator Pele Bauch), joined by Portland-based artists, presenters, funders, and audiences for a tightly packed weekend of art-sharing and discussions - on stage and of both the round- and long-table nature.


While feedback forms the foundation of the Fieldwork process, the 2019 Field Network Conference schedule focused particularly on how equity (or lack thereof) shapes feedback in contemporary culture: How are artists using feedback? Is the feedback we’re getting useful or equitable? Who gets to give feedback? Whose feedback counts?

Brett Campbell of Oregon ArtsWatch recently published, "Field of Vision," an in-depth review of the Conference not just summarizing the weekend's programming, but also calling out the challenges in tackling inequity in the arts in collaboration with the very individuals who benefit from said inequities.
"These funders, even those who don’t use public funds (but do get tax breaks for donations), play a vital role in determining what we see and hear on Oregon stages," Cambell writes, "and that role demands scrutiny and constructive feedback from artists, arts lovers, and the rest of the community."
Read the full article here.

Special thanks to then-Network Manager Katherine Longstreth, and to Conference coordinator and current Network Manager Jen Mitas, and conference consultant Subashini Ganesan for organizing such an ambitious event, and for bringing both The Field Network and their local arts community together (in what feels like such an organic way) to engage in these important, pressing discussions.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

October 2019 Meet Our Artists: Maud Hixson

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, Pronouns:  Maud Hixson, she/her/hers

What inspires you?  Great songs, ranging from the classic Great American Songbook to the often unsung or forgotten compositions awaiting rediscovery.

What are you proud of?  Being a full-time artist!

What are your goals?  To be an ambassador for the wild country of lesser-known songs.

Maud Hixson with Rex Reed and performers at Jazz at Lincoln Center in a tribute to Sylvia Syms. Photo by Ann Hampton Callaway. (Original photo, above, by Olivia Wilcox.)
Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?  Yes, I feel it's important to listen to your instincts, regardless of your experience. Your senses and your own taste will be unique guides. Starting out, I tended to discount these valuable tools, which I now realize was a mistake.

How does The Field help you?  By leveling the fundraising playing field. I have never been in a position to offer my supporters tax-deductible status for their donations before. Working with The Field puts me on the same page with every nonprofit seeking donations.

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!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

September 2019 Meet Our Artists: Rachel DeGuzman

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 & Pronouns:  Rachel DeGuzman, she/her/hers

What do you do?  Arts administrator, producer, curator, convener and artivist

What inspires you?  I am driven by the belief that art and creativity – the most authentic and soulful expression of humanity – can provide the most effective platform to center the marginalized and bring us together. I want to foster more opportunity and equity for women of color (WOC). I seek to center the histories, voices and narratives of women of color. Together, with other women of color, I hope to harness our collective power to effect change in and through the arts.
Rochester City Newspaper "Power Peers"
cover story featuring WOC Art Collaborative

What are you proud of?  I am very proud of establishing At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice a year ago, and the 20 events it has produced because they were collaborative, inclusive, relevant, and centered the lives and perspectives of women of color. The At the Crossroads Long Table Conversations/ Installations are very meaningful to attendees, some of whom have attended at least half of them. Arts editor of City Newspaper Rebecca Rafferty has attended most of them – acting, in some ways, as a witness (à la James Baldwin) as well as providing critical feedback – and has deemed them (more than once) as some of the most important arts programming in Rochester, New York. 

More recently, I did found and launch WOC Art Collaborative with 10 other WOC creatives. We do have a headquarters and access to a 2,700-capacity rehearsal, performance, exhibition and event space 240 days per year. See more here and here.

What are your goals?  To continue presenting the Long Table Conversations, to deepen the connection to the 20+ collaborators that I worked with in 2017/18, and to establish new collaborative relationships with artists, higher education, presenting organizations, and the Rochester City School District. To establish a collaborative center for real equity in and through art – comprised of a diverse cohort of WOC artists/creatives. All of the aforementioned are in the planning phases or underway.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?  Follow your vision. When you encounter a roadblock, regroup, and then reroute. Trust your instincts and don't waste precious time on dead ends or regret.

How does The Field help you?  The Field provides my work with critical fiscal sponsorship and some exposure through its website and programs.

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!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

August 2019 Meet Our Artists: Isabelle Armand

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!


What inspires you?
Social issues and the human experience

What are your goals?
To tell stories which need telling and to create a record of anonymous people, who deserve recognition, and whose tales should be preserved for posterity.
My current project takes place in the poorest county of the Mississippi Delta. "Glendora: Sing About Me" is a multimedia project comprising a book of analog photography and in situ interviews, film and community projects. Its aim is twofold: to explore the connection between poverty and memory, and to record a town’s efforts to reclaim its lost heritage.

What are you proud of?
To give visibility, a face and a voice to people mostly vulnerable to silence and oblivion.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Art is a personal commitment and an inexorable need, it's your work every single day.

How does The Field help you?
More visibility and help to fund the projects I work on.


This selection of images is from my last book, Levon and Kennedy: Mississippi Innocence Project, powerHouse Books. Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer were wrongfully convicted of two separate crimes in rural Mississippi, and spent a combined 33 years in prison. They were exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project. This is their story and that of their families.


Cover photo from "Glendora: Sing About Me" 
Thumbnails from Levon and Kennedy: Mississippi Innocence Project
All photographs ©Isabelle Armand
www.isabellearmandphotography.com

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, July 1, 2019

July 2019 Meet Our Artists: Emily Kikta and Peter Walker

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!


What inspires you?
We’re inspired by music and what visuals can be created through different sonic qualities or arrangements. We’re also inspired by the potential created by controlling the perspective of the audience through the camera. Dance for camera gives us complete control over the audiences’ experience in a way that nearly impossible in a large theater. We’re excited about what this can inspire us to create.

What are you proud of?
We’re proud of being able to be the sole creators through every step of our work. On most projects we film, direct, choreograph, edit, produce and even sometimes perform in our own videos. We’re proud that even if it’s only us on board for a project, we can still make it happen.

What are your goals?
We hope to expand what ballet can be through video and how video can impact how audiences experience live performance. We also hope to get more collaborators interested in exploring this other side of ballet creation with us.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Just start making the work. Stop thinking about it and just start figuring out how to make it a reality. Ask all the questions you can of anyone who might be able to answer them.

How does The Field help you?
The Field helps us direct potential donors to a legitimate and reputable site. We find people are more willing to give when they learn we’ve taken the time to set up an established account with The Field.



 Additional Viewing: SPAC Project 2018

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, June 17, 2019

June 2019 Meet Our Artists: Nicky Sunshine

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!


What inspires you? I'm inspired by socially and economically challenged communities. My mission in my art and comedy is to uplift others. My current solo work seeks to raise awareness about police harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and the complexities of sex work.

What are you proud of? Despite the low pay and often unfavorable working conditions, I have been a professional stand-up comic since 2005. I have performed at Caroline's, Gotham Comedy Club, The Apollo, and The Laugh Factory. As an artist I suffered from low self-esteem and low wages. I embarked on a 10-year period of sex work. I went to jail, struggled with bouts of binge drinking, and found myself in a toxic, manipulative relationship with a married man. I was able to emerge from this chapter in my life and start writing a one-woman show, "Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam." I want to use my show to encourage others to never give up on their hopes and dreams.

As an actor with a security clearance, I helped train government managers and National Institute of Health employees for 15 years. After working through my childhood traumas and emotional blocks on the FYI Network reality show, A Question of Love, my boyfriend and I will wed in June 2019.

What are your goals? To use stand-up comedy, theater, improv, and writing workshops to educate, reduce harm, and spark conversations about issues affecting my community. Low self-esteem, negative child conditioning, abuse, exploitation, homelessness, lack of resources, and lack of familial ties are contributing factors in why someone would engage in commercial sex. It is dangerous work.

My show/true life story "Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam" addresses these issues. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and it’s never too late for a second chance. Incarcerated individuals, people in recovery, women who have suffered abuse, and the homeless need to hear this positive message: It’s never too late to pursue who you want to be. Never Give Up. My art is a reflection of my life and I won't stop creating despite my setbacks and personal demons.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists? I wish someone had explained the importance of "attitude." Rejection is inevitable. Rejection shut me down and made me feel bad about myself. It’s a part of the artistic journey. So is criticism. It’s important to have a resilient attitude.

I wish I had understood the power of networking. Entertainment is about relationships. Focus and consistency is important. In my younger years I wasn't focused enough. Professional relationships can mean so much. I wish someone told me that. I isolated myself and should have had a buddy system with a fellow artist. We could've encouraged each other. Instead I operated in darkness choosing fast money over pursuing my art.

I wish someone told me to work on my confidence and self-esteem. I wish someone told me that substances and alcohol would ultimately do more harm than good.

How did you find The Field? I joined Wow Cafe Theater. The community there is very encouraging. We exchange a lot of information. A fellow member told me about The Field.

Note: Since joining The Field, Nicky Sunshine was invited to perform an excerpt of "Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam" for our Fielday 2019 Work-in-Progress Showcase on June 15. Learn more about this special event.
 
©Nicky Sunshine

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!
 


Thursday, May 23, 2019

May 2019 Meet Our Artists: Autumn Kioti

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: Autumn Kioti
Interdisciplinary Performance Artist + Fielday 2018 Performer

What inspires you?
My artistic practice is a quest for community. Plugging into my surroundings, to others, across disciplines, across gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, and species. I seek to repurpose mundane items, or use items sustainably harvested from nature to foster a more immediate connection to the earth and tap into the universal spark that binds us all.

I scavenge bits of everything – from history and lore, science and mathematics, to David Attenborough animal documentaries – in the creation of writing, performance, works on homemade paper and Mylar, and installation. I use everything I can get my hands on in an effort to address societal and environmental issues in general, and trafficking in identity and connectivity in particular.

Playing with the notion of craft, conventionally considered "women's work," my work often incorporates weaving, knitting, embroidery, and food preparation, taking it in unexpected directions. In choosing to create moments that are site specific, re-purposing mundane scavenged objects, using urgent movement, mask, and costume; I seek to create a dialogue about our place, about what immobilizes us, tangles us up, throws us forward, and breaks us down. I like the surprises and the accidents, the failures and successes, the story, the connection.


What are you proud of?
Still being alive today to create work despite battling mental illness, and being able to hopefully offer myself and my work a conduit for others to release their pain and trauma, and maybe together we can lead each other out of isolation.


What are your goals?
My goal is to journey, to seek, to experience, to tell stories, to collect stories, to create a web of connection and release for myself and others through my work wherever I go.

Any advice for fellow artists?
You're not doing it wrong if nobody knows what you're doing.

How does The Field help you?
I was brought here by my incredible experience with the 2018 revival of Fielday. I've never been involved with a more supportive collection of artists.



Workshop photos from artist’s Santa Fe Art Institute themed residency, FOOD JUSTICE.
© Autumn Kioti

Additional Viewing:
See Autumn and our other Fielday 2018 artists in this trailer.

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!