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!
 

Friday, April 5, 2019

April 2019 Meet Our Artists: Jane Jerardi

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: Jane Jerardi

What do you do?

Dance, Performance, Video, and Installation Artist

What inspires you?
The creative process. And seeing other artists’ work. Seeing artists begin and continue and persevere through the questions of their own work never ceases to amaze me.

What are you proud of?

That we re-started The Field in Chicago. We have 18 people in our current Fieldwork group here! Pretty exciting.

What are your goals?
To keep creating interesting art and to support fellow artists in the process.

Jane Jerardi and Dao Nguyen's Six Acts of Witness (2015) participatory event. Photo by Slaveya Minkova

Any advice for fellow artists?
I find making is a lot about getting out of the way. Convincing the parts of you that want to procrastinate and the part that thinks your ideas aren’t very good – to tell them to just slowly step back. And, you keep going despite them, while they’re there waiting in the background.

Then once you have something – that’s usually kind of terrible – you at least have something which is certainly better than nothing. And then you start to negotiate with it and then get weirdly into it and wonder about it and expand it, change it, or manipulate it and multiply it, or teach it to a friend, and get them to change it into something better. And then, you start having strong opinions about it – that it needs to be a certain way and you’re not really sure why but you’re fairly convinced of it.

And then, the project has somehow become bigger than you and you’re just following its lead. And you’re still not sure if you’re worthy – or your ideas are any good, but you do it anyway for some reason.

And despite it all – you realize that what’s beautiful about this is that you can make something without really much of anything at all. There are dances waiting to be made, photos waiting to be taken with your phone, your dollar-store notebook waiting to be written in, music waiting to inspire. Your art is as worthy as anyone else’s and we certainly need it.

(Excerpted from Jane’s recent essay about studio practice, “on beginnings,” published by The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. Go read the full piece! We love it!)

Jane Jerardi and Dao Nguyen's Six Acts of Witness (2015) interview photo by Slaveya Minkova

How does The Field help you?
The concrete nature of the (Fieldwork) process really aids so many different kinds of artists, no matter what stage their project or work might be at. It never fails to surprise me how often different artists connect to it.

Additional Viewing:
excerpts from Nocturne

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, March 8, 2019

March 2019 Meet Our Artists: Michele Carlo

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!

MICHELE CARLO Writer (Fish out of Agua), Storyteller, Solo Performer, Podcast Host, Filmmaker, Fielday 2018 Artist

Name: Michele Carlo

What do you do? 
Writer, Storyteller, Solo Performer, Podcast Host, Filmmaker

What inspires you?
The hope that through my writing and experiences, someone's life may be made a little easier. And the hope that I will beat the odds and be a fully realized, self-supporting artist—even though most people would think I'm way too old to think it can still happen—so a fellow "shadow artist" who has been living on the periphery their entire life will say, "Pfft, if she could do it, I could do it." And do it better!

What are you proud of?
I'm proud that I achieved my dream of getting into the School of Visual Arts at the age of 20...the age most students choose their final major. That I chose to give my life to art at the age of 35...the age most (arguably sane) people give up. That I had my first book published at the age of 50. That in the years since then, my stories have taken me across the country and have brought much friendship and collaboration in my life.

I'm proud that I never, ever stopped doing some sort of art, even when I was working 50-60 hours a week at a day job. I'm also proud that I'm not taking my recent job layoff with fear, but with the certainty that an opportunity will come my way that I could not accept had I still been working full time.

Michele on the air photo by Ben Taylor

What are your goals?
Overall goals: To be a champion and archivist of my working class Latinx experience from the mid-20th to mid-21st Centuries (should I be as fortunate to live to the mid-21st). To make sure the world has the stories of those of us who have been devalued, dismissed and discarded. To let them know who we are and why we matter. And maybe, in my own small way, help to change the default perception of what it is to be Latinx—and an artist.

Personal goals: Having a run of a solo show at the Public Theater—or any legit off-Broadway house, really, but appearing the Public has always been a special dream of mine. To have my book, "Fish Out Of Agua," be optioned for film and/or television—and made! To be a fully realized self-supporting artist doing interesting, honorable (and well-paid) projects with interesting, honorable people!

One more: I hope that someday this girl from a top-floor tenement walkup in The Bronx will own a bit of comfortable living/studio space where I can hold performer salons, and with a backyard big enough for a small garden and a table for 12. Whoever's there at 7pm, will eat.

Michele as teddy bear photo by David Dyte
Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Don't give up! Never give up! We all have a unique voice to offer and if you don't get your art, whatever it is, out into the world, the world will not have it and that would be a great loss for all.


Additional Viewing:

Friday, February 1, 2019

February 2019 Meet Our Artists: Theresa Ruth Howard

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: Theresa Ruth Howard

What do you do? 
I work as a Diversity Strategist and consultant assisting arts organizations better understand, design and implement DEI programs and initiatives. Pacific Northwest Ballet invited me to curate and facilitate a Townhall gathering entitled Beyond Ballet, a conversation investigating aesthetics, diversity, equity, and the efforts to redesign arts institutions. Presently I serve as a member of the Design and Facilitation Team on The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet, a three-year partnership program to support the advancement of racial equity in professional ballet companies. The Equity Project brings together a cohort of artistic and executive leaders from 21 large budget, professional ballet organizations for in-person meetings and coaching, with the purpose of increasing the presence of Blacks in ballet in all areas of the industry.

I am also the Founder & Curator of MoBBallet. MoBBallet preserves and presents the contributions of Blacks in ballet globally. MoBBallet’s inaugural project was a partnership with the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) organizing of the first annual audition for Black female ballet dancers at their 2015 conference in Denver. I helped facilitate the dialogue on diversity in ballet with the 15 major ballet organizations in participation.

In addition to MoBB’s online initiative to curate the stories of Black Ballet artists internationally, it presents panels, workshops and gatherings dedicated to building bridges of understanding and education between communities and cultures in dance and beyond. MoBBallet’s "DO YOU KNOW..." social media campaign introduces followers to Black ballet dancers and accomplishments that are not widely known in an effort broaden the awareness of the contribution of Blacks in ballet.

Follow @mobballet on Instagram

What inspires you?
We are inspired by the artists we advocate for. Bringing the legacy of Blacks in ballet out of the shadows and shining light on their virtuosity in the form is thrilling!

What are you proud of?

MoBBallet is proud that in the short time we have been in existence we have made an impact. We have forged relationships with large ballet organizations and have a seat at the table in discussions of diversity and inclusion – and we hope to encourage EQUITY.

What are your goals?
MoBBallet is working to bring forth more stories from the artist's mouths. We are working to have artist's pages for EVERY one of the 327 (so far) dancers on our Roll Call from which we aspire to build a mentoring program. There is work to be done!

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
We encourage all brown ballet artists to keep making stories for MoBBallet to tell. We are here to support and document your successes and will advocate for you every step of the way.

How does The Field help you?

The Field has been essential to our growth, and has provided guidance and support in our foundational moments. Thank you for your support.

All content © Theresa Ruth Howard / MoBBallet

Additional Viewing:
IABD's First Annual Audition for Women of Color HD

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A Fond Farewell and a Warm Welcome

This winter marks a time of big changes in The Field's esteemed Board of Directors. First:

Jane Comfort (center) performs with Sponsored Artist Geoff Sobelle (left) for a November 2018 special event honoring James McLaren (foreground, right). Photo by Ian Douglas.

20 Years! THANK YOU JANE COMFORT! 

For 20 years choreographer Jane Comfort transformed The Field and our Board of Directors with her wit, smarts and generosity. As a stalwart Board Member Jane connected us with many other artists, thinkers, and new Board members.

From hosting huge dinner parties at her stunning loft to always pushing us to stay true to our radical roots, Jane's heart and soul kept our Board of Directors moving forward. As Jane told us, "I am deeply proud to have served them."

Jane, we are deeply proud that you graced us for 20 years.

Say hello to Rachel!

Stepping up to the plate in Jane's absence is Rachel Erickson Hee. A mother of two children, Rachel is yet another mover-and-shaker: enjoying nights out at the ballet, as well as taking ballroom dance and ballet classes herself.

Rachel comes to us by way of Board Co-Chair Alice de Callata├┐, replacing Asit (Sunny) Mehra and Devon Mosley as the newest face on our Board of Directors.

Please join us in welcoming Rachel to The Field!

Friday, January 11, 2019

January 2019 Meet Our Artists: Melanie Greene

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: Melanie Greene

What do you do?
Choreographer & Performer (Methods of Perception), Writer, Podcast Host

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by strength, power, love, and vulnerability. I create dance works to tell non-fiction fantasies and superwoman truths.

Photo by Larry Rosalez
What are you proud of?
I'm proud of my perseverance. I receive a lot of no(s), but the yes(es) continue to shift my perspectives and career exponentially. Receiving one yes in a sea of no gives me strength.

Recently, I've moved forward on two major projects that feel very risky. I'm in a very vulnerable space. Nonetheless, being overcome with fear and not pushing these projects forward never felt like an option. So, we will see!

I have 6 grant/residency applications, a book proposal, and a desire for funding for an upcoming project out in the world. A couple of no(s) have trickled in, yet I remain hopeful that a yes is on the way.

What are your goals?
My primary goal is to build a sustainable platform for my art-making through commissions, residencies, performances, panels, and writing. It's also my goal to advocate for artists to recognize their power and push against racist and inequitable practices that continue to prop up non-profit arts institutions.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Drink plenty of water, there is work to do.

How does The Field help you?

The Field offers a centralized platform to support visibility, community, and fiscal sponsorship.


Photo by Ian Douglas
Photo by Bogliasco Foundation

Photo by Bogliasco Foundation

Photo by Scott Shaw
All content © Melanie Greene / Methods of Perception

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, December 17, 2018

December 2018 Meet Our Artists: Pamela Kerpius

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: Pamela Kerpius

What do you do? I am the founder of the humanitarian storytelling organization, Migrants of the Mediterranean. It is a historical storybank of migrant journey stories aimed at bringing humanity back to what has mostly been called a political crisis in the Central Mediterranean. I write their stories so they don’t get lost. I write their stories so there is a historical record. I write for each migrant I meet so they can be seen as a person, not as a faceless figure on an inflatable boat or as a statistic in a newspaper.

 
What are you proud of? Reuniting with someone I have interviewed. There’s something unsure in an encounter with a stranger, and in my case, with migrants I meet just briefly on the island of Lampedusa. I never know if I’ll see them again. I share my contact information with each person I interview for their journey story, but it is up to them to stay in touch.

The truth is, I hear from many people almost immediately after they gain access to a mobile phone. But it is never short of a surprise when I finally find them in-person again in those new transfer towns and cities during their asylum proceedings. It seems like a thing of magic that you would find such a special person again after they have endured so much; so much in our individual lives diverge. And yet, there we are together. To find someone months or a year after that very fragile first meeting on the island––where maybe it has just been hours or days since they were rescued at sea––is a moment of magic. I am proud to have shared so many warm moments like these with the people who deserve it most.


What inspires you? People. I am fascinated by where people are from in a general sense. "Where are you from?" is a fundamental question I ask of anyone new I meet.

For the work and writing of Migrants of the Mediterranean, this question becomes crucial. It reveals the first layers of a migrant’s identity in a space where they are otherwise given one as an “invader,” a stereotype migrants suffer by many people right now in Italy, Europe, and also here in the US. When I ask that question to migrants as I meet them, their eyes light up. They feel a sense of dignity and pride, and they are reconnected to the humanity that each of them has had stripped away during the course of their journeys, and especially while they were trapped in Libya, tortured and enslaved.

Finding out where people are from opens us to the world. I am from New York City, and suddenly I have a sense of West African, East African, and Middle-Eastern identity. People have brought that to me so that I can bring it to you.


 

What are your goals? The goal in the end is to diminish fear of the other and to really learn to see people. In a lofty sense, the goal is to spread an eagerness to understand humanity, to seek it out. It seems to me all the answers to our problems are there. You can learn a lot by looking into a stranger’s eyes, and it is almost always divergent of what motivates us in the course of the average daily grind.

But to be more precise, the goal is to document the fragile journey stories of the people who have made the crossing through the Sahara desert, Libya, and then the treacherous Mediterranean Sea––to create a historical document. The people who have done this have a perspective on the world that practically all of us will never know. They cannot unsee the things that have been inflicted upon them. They will never wake up to a day that does not reintroduce moments of terror from that journey in their mind’s eye. This is quite something. Each person who did this continues living with that normalcy, and it is not normal; none of what they suffered is okay.

I would like to bring these stories to light, because in doing that people are able to see their pain and be relieved of it through the act of sharing it, not just with me––but with us, the listeners, who are their neighbors in fact. That pain is something we can share together. It creates empathy and understanding, of course, but just as important, it brings to light the textural history of their lives that we need to know so that we can live together better. We are here together. We have to learn to do that with softness and understanding. With these stories, I can inform people in the media, the arts, in public policy and in academia. These are the influencers who will create the foundation of how we live going forward, and who will help us articulate what we value. To be able to share the concrete details of a migrant's journey and their current quality of life after arrival is an incredibly rich source from which to work in order to create that. The truth is in there.

Of course, I also plan to write a memoir––so there are many goals in the works!



Do you have any advice for your fellow artists? You must trust your gut. Migrants of the Mediterranean is still a new and fledging organization, so it is with a bit of hesitancy that I answer this. But one thing is quite clear to me as I continue the work and writing of these journey stories, reunion stories, and the personal essay writing that accompanies it all, which is that to be successful, you have to believe in the thing you are doing. You have to trust your gut and go.

I have a background in academic film history, and then professionally in advertising. If you look at that alone there would be no reason to think I should be meeting and then writing about migrants from the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and then doing it as a document of one of the most fraught moments in world history. But the moment I saw what was in front of me, I acted. There was no plan, no structure, not even a website at first; but I knew what I witnessed was bigger than my singular life, and without any pause I gave voice to it. I trusted my gut. It remains the first thing I have to go on, and it is right.



How does The Field help you? I am eternally thankful for an organization like The Field, because it gives me an opportunity to function as business at a time when it is administratively and fiscally impossible for Migrants of the Mediterranean to do so on its own. One of the biggest incentives for donors is to be able to receive a tax deduction for their contribution––and the process of providing that is not a simple one! That The Field does this on my behalf while at the same time supporting my vision helps me immensely.

It helps me stay financially afloat, it encourages donations to help me reach my next goal, and it ensures my incredibly generous donors will get the tax breaks they deserve. I thank The Field so much for their representation.



Click to enlarge images.
All content © Pamela Kerpius / Migrants of the Mediterranean

Additional Viewing:
 Migrants of the Mediterranean

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!