Keynotes & Breakouts
For more information on the presenters/organizers, please click their underlined name.
Full schedule details will be announced in January 2022.
How We Gather: Indigenous Guiding Principles
Thursday, January 27, 2022
During the opening plenary
Organized by Christopher K. Morgan (he/him), Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), arts administrator, curator, and facilitator
Ashley Minner, enrolled member of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, Community-based visual artist, Assistant Curator for History and Culture at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC
Dakota Camacho, Matao/CHamoru, multi-disciplinary artist/researcher
Indigenous artists and activists come together to share principles for being in community together, what “decolonization” means in our field, and how our sector can move together for real systems change.
Are You For Sale?
Monday, January 31, 2022
During the morning plenary
Organized by Miguel Gutierrez (he/him), Performing artist and creator of the “Are You for Sale?” podcast (Brooklyn NY)
Exploring the ethical entanglements between money and artmaking, three artists talk together about dreaming outside of current philanthropic structures and building artists’ power. “Are You for Sale?” asks: Are we too afraid of losing what little we have? What effects has a scarcity mentality bred? Is the entire system changeable?
Space is the Place: BIPOC Ownership and an Uncompromised Future
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
During the closing plenary
Organized by Anne Ishii (she/her),Executive Director, Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA)
Zaire Love (she/her), artist and filmmaker, Remade Ruins (Memphis, TN and Oxford, MS)
Meena Natarajan (she/her), Artistic/Executive Director, Pangea World Theater (Minneapolis, MN)
Gaby Strong (she/her), NDN Foundation Managing Director, NDN Collective (Rapid City, SD)
What does a just and liberated future look and feel like? Speakers will share their visions for making and claiming space as essential for sovereignty, independence, liberation, and an uncompromised future for communities of color. The discussion will explore artist Zaire Love’s work to create an oasis in the magical Black South, Pangea World Theater’s collaboration to develop the Center for Peace and Social Justice in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, and NDN Collective’s work to build Indigenous power through property ownership and the LANDBACK movement.
Moving like water: Leadership, power and vulnerability
Wednesday , January 26, 2022
This open pre conference will share the learnings and practices of the cohort members of LANE. LANE is a 10-year initiative that amplifies the leadership of arts organizations of color and rural organizations and grows their ability to thrive in culturally authentic ways. As LANE sunsets, the cohort members will walk us through their journeys to develop liberatory infrastructure for their organizations that has systemic impact in the field. In line with the LANE tagline “See leaders make change,” this pre conference will provide resources as well as thought partnership on how we can collectively operate as if we are in the field that we imagine.
Interindigeneity: First Peoples and International Exchange
While we seek to center racial justice locally, nationally, and globally, the arts sector has often overlooked Indigenous Peoples in international exchange. Centering Indigenous voices, this session asks: What does it mean to practice anti-supremacy culture, anti-colonialism, and anti-racism justice work as a global community? How do we enter other communities or invite others to enter ours? Whose stories get told when we “exchange” cultures?
Speakers include: Jimena Lara, The Anglo Mexican Foundation (Mexico); Elisa del Carmen Avendaño Curaqueo (Lawentuchefe / Mapudungún), musician (Chile); Jean-Paul Weaver, dancer/choreographer, Motherless Collective (Taiwan, Haiti, US); Petrona de la Cruz, (Maya Tzotzil), playwright, co-founder of Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya, and member of Mexico's Chamber of Deputies (Mexico); and Cuauhtémoc Peranda (Mescalero Apache, Mexika-Chichimeca/Cano & cihuaiolo butch queen), dancer/choreographer (US).
Come Into My House
Organized by Creating New Futures
We want to build a house to think, feel, dream, and embody what it might mean to create a future together. Our question for all of us: What’s our joyful commitment to collective systems change? How do you participate? This is a gathering of housebuilders.
Facing Disruptions with Compassion
Organized by Stephanie Atkins (she/her), Director of Local Programs, National Performance Network
Caitlin Strokosch (she/her), President & CEO, National Performance Network
Carol Foster, Special Programs Associate, The International Association of Blacks in Dance
Angela Two Stars, All My Relations Arts Director, Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI)
Nick Slie, Mondo Bizarro, Creative Response Network
The last two years have redefined “emergency” as we’ve layered crisis upon crisis and reimagined how to adapt in an ongoing state of disruption. Presenters demonstrated determination after months of shuttered doors and darkened stages, programs pivoted from in-person to virtual, and we engaged in the crucial fight against the inequities and injustice in our world. In the face of unwanted disruptions (such as the pandemic, economic downturns, philanthropic shifts, and weather disasters) as well as purposeful and welcome disruptions (like the racial and human rights uprisings), we can learn from each other how to move through disruptive occurrences with grace and integrity.
Navigating Patron Access and Inclusion
Organized by Ben Levine (he/they), Director of Production, Dance Place
When presenting a performance, planning and executing patron accessibility practices such as ASL interpretation, captioning, audio description, and relaxed performances requires collaboration between artists and presenters. When entering a presenting relationship, how do artists and presenters evaluate where one another stands on their access and inclusion journey? How can artists and presenters push each other’s growing edge to ultimately make the field more equitable and inclusive? And who is responsible for the labor and financial investment required to accomplish means of access for audiences?
The Real Meaning of Being Disabled in the Theater World
Organized by Samuel Valdez (he/him/his), Artistic Director, CARPA San Diego
Disability Rights, Disability Justice, Disability Theater, Aesthetic, Accessibility, Segregation, and Inclusion, themes included in a conversation longtime over do. We, as deaf and disabled artists, have worked separately for years dealing with variations of these issues without having any communal support. In this conversation we come together to share our thoughts through talking, planning, creating, and connecting continuing our artistic practice, but this time supporting each other. You are invited to join us so we may learn from each other. It is time to change parameters and invest in learning how to accommodate all artists with special needs.
BIPOC Artists Envision Theater Anew: COVID-19 Pandemic, Global Reckoning, and Emerging Lessons
Organized by Alexandra Meda (she/ella) Director & Cultural Strategist
Dr. Monica Ndounou (she/hers), Founding Executive Director, The CRAFT Institute; Associate Professor, Theater Department, Dartmouth
Armando Huipe (they/them), Arts Management Consultant and Theatre Producer
Leslie Ishii (she/hers)
This session will report on and discuss the BIPOC theater artist-led survey project “Impact of COVID-19 Closures on BIPOC Practitioners and Black, Indigenous, and Theatres of Color (BITOC).” These artist-centered surveys were formulated and distributed as the pandemic shut down theatres and canceled theatre-maker jobs as the country experienced eruptions naming racism, anti-Blackness, and other discriminations against BIPOC (and/or People of the Global Majority, terms that overlap but are not interchangeable). Building on information gathered, we will hold space to discuss where BIPOC/BITOC theater-making is now, as well as open up the conversation about the theater we want to be making.
Ináfa'maolek as an Art Practice: Organizing for Abolition & Indigenous Wellbeing through the Arts
Organized by Dakota Camacho (guiya/yo'ña), Artistic Director, Gi Matan Guma'
Láthalom Gi Matan Guma’! Welcome to the front of the house, a sacred space of gathering, connecting, and growing our collective knowing. Four artists from Låguas, a place rarely, if ever, represented in ‘the field of performance’ on this continent, share ways we activate our ancestral worldview through our art practice in alignment with the movement for ending gender-based violence, and cultivating Indigenous well-being and sovereignty. By sharing the methodology behind our current NPN Creation & Development fund project MALI’E’ • INETNON, we illuminate the ways backing Indigenous leadership is essential for meaningfully addressing the climate crisis and affirming feelings of connection, human belonging, and unity with all of creation.
How You Doing?: A Yes, And Check-in
Organized by Gesel Mason (she/her), Artistic Director, Gesel Mason Performance Projects
Yunina Barbour-Payne (She/Her)
In a society that rewards hyper-productivity and elicits urgency, a demand exacerbated by multiple pandemics, how do we carve out space to consider: How are we doing? What do we need? What are we doing well? In this creative workshop, open to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, we will provide an opportunity to pause, connect to the body, and engage in story sharing. Using methodologies developed through the Yes, And project, we will lead participants through a multi-sensory exploration that honors our intuition and celebrates our collective expertise. Be prepared to move, draw, nibble, reflect and kiki.
Auntie Sewing Squad: What FEMA Would Look Like If Run by Artists
Organized by Kristina Wong (she/her), Overlord, Auntie Sewing Squad
Andrea Assaf (she/they), Art2Action, Inc. (Fiscal Sponsor for the Auntie Sewing Squad)
Leilani Chan (she/her), Artistic Director, TeAda Productions
Gayle Isa (she/her/hers), Community Care Coordinator/Volunteer, Auntie Sewing Squad
What can community based artists provide in crisis that federal agencies cannot? How can the values and resources artists apply to mutual aid?
The Auntie Sewing Squad, a mask sewing effort was born out of the pandemic, was led by artists and fiscally sponsored by NPN partner Art2Action. In the first 17 months, it organically grew into a national collective powered by 800+ volunteer "Aunties" who sewed 350K masks and sent relief aid for vulnerable communities across America. The group also became a source of mutual support for volunteers during the crisis, believing in a system of "Auntie Care."
Artists Mitigating Harm, Uplifting Health
Organized by Frederick “Wood” Delahoussaye (he/him/his), Chief Creative Officer, Ashé Cultural Arts Center
Introduction & Land Acknowledgement: Frederick "Wood" Delahoussaye (he/him/his), Chief Creative Officer, Ashé Cultural Arts Center
Session Leader: Avis Gray (she/her/hers), RN, BSN, Community Health Director, Ashé Cultural Arts Center
Sunni Patterson (she/her/hers), Artist, Healer, Community Health Worker, New Orleans Native and Visionary
Stafford Magee (he/him/his), Artist, Culture Bearer, Community Health Worker
Naydja CoJoe (she/her/hers), Vocalist, Songwriter, Community Health Worker, New Orleans vocalist and entertainer
A panel discussion/workshop exploring the Community Spread collaborative program which has launched a counteroffensive aimed at saving BIPOC lives and livelihoods. Our collaborative developed a strategic campaign to create equity in healthcare by training and employing artists and culture bearers as cohorts of community health workers with expertise in maternal and child health, mental health, violence prevention, reproductive justice, wellness coaching, and economic empowerment. We take a continual rather than episodic approach that respectfully engages community stakeholders and supports compassionate, trauma-informed care, focused on the roles of both patients and providers in reversing negative outcomes.
reSONancia: Resounding Voices in a Pandemic World
Organized by María de la Rosa (she/her), Aristic Director, DíaPaSón
Participants will enjoy a moment to learn an ages old style of improvising poetry, referred to generically as versada in the son jarocho tradition of Veracruz, Mexico. It forms the lyrical base of dozens of musical genres throughout the Americas including son jarocho and contemporary musics. Participants will have opportunities to improvise (compose) and sing in the son jarocho traditional style or may choose to actively observe without audibly participating. The workshop will be led by professional artists who have been hosting and participating in virtual versada poetry workshops throughout the pandemic. The workshop is bilingual English and Spanish.
Leaning into Entering/Exiting Community: Social Justice-Based Art with an Eye Toward Long-Term Impact
Organized by Helanius James Wilkins (he/him/his), Choreographer/Performance Artist/Educator/Curator, Helanius J. Wilkins/SALT
Avery Ryder Turner (he/him/his), Artist/Project Duet-Partner, Helanius J. Wilkins/SALT
Benjamin Cheney (he/him/his), Founder/Artistic Director/Project Organizational Partner, The Croft Residency
Meredith Kennedy (she/her/hers), Founder, Storyteller/Project Community Partner, Native North Tours & Storytelling
This session will be a case study. Learning by example and sharing our story, we will discuss the launch and development of a multi-year, multi-outcome intermedia dance project that imagines choreography as quilt-making to unlearn fear and interrupt the disturbing tragic turns of inhumanity. The project, “The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging,” is an ongoing and always shifting dance-quilt, confronting and celebrating heritage, resiliency, justice, and hope. Featuring key individuals (artists, community collaborator, organizational-partner), we will share what took place during a 2-week creation/community-engagements residency in rural northern Michigan and results of the project.
Virtual Site-Specificity: The Internet as Performance Venue
Organized by Marike Splint (she/her), independent theater artist and Associate Professor, UCLA Department of Theater
The pandemic saw a stark increase in online performances. While many used the online world mostly as a streaming platform, some artists took the opportunity to consider the internet as a place that we spend much of our time in, resulting in performances that could be considered “virtually site-specific”: works set in the world of The Sims, on Instagram feeds or in Google maps, all online places with their own structures, behaviors and social constructs. In this panel, artists who created virtual site-specific performances discuss their findings on the dramaturgy, process and audience relationship when creating virtually embedded work.
Grief Mapping: Land, Body and Sound
Organized by Renee Benson (she/her/they), independent artist
“Grief Mapping: Land, Body, and Sound” is a participatory workshop that supports healing from loss through visual art and somatic practices. Drawn from creative research for the NPN-supported project Requiem for a Stranger and co-facilitated by raconteur Alaina Comeaux, Vagabond Inventions Director Jennifer Sargent, and singer/performer Renee Benson, the workshop offers ways to understand time and grieving through an anti-colonial lens. Participants will create expressive “maps” connecting personal stories of loss through collage and drawing, breath and voice, and in movement stored in the body. The workshop will have suggested reading and offer time for sharing and reflection.
Using Our Voices: Storytelling with Black Queer & Trans Communities
The Knights & Orchids Society (TKO Society) is a Southern-centered grassroots startup based in Selma, Alabama, supporting gender justice and LGBTQ visibility, founded and led by Black, queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming people. TKO Society's co-founder and Executive Director Quentin Bell and Arts & Communications Director and poet TC Caldwell will talk about their experience using poetry and storytelling as a medium to help start conversations, collaborations, and better relationships for Black queer and trans Communities, especially Black queer and trans youth. They will share methods and strategies for engaging these communities through storytelling.
Decolonized Movement Research
Organized by Annielille “Ani” Gavino (she/they/siya), Artistic Director, Ani/MalayaWorks
E Fajardo Canlas (they/them), Artist
This session is about breaking out of the shapes, rhythms, directionality, and levels that the Western canon has imposed upon us. These unnatural movement patterns are paired with colonization + assimilation + adaptation + survival = accumulated and unaddressed traumas. This offering is an invitation to unpack and dig into embodied memory. Filipinx movement artists and cultural researchers Ani Gavino and E Fajardo Canlas will lead participants through a blend of martial arts, dace, reflection through journaling, and exploration through movement and discourse.
Artistic Choice through Times of Fundamentalist Hate
Organized by Ananya Chatterjea (she/hers), Artistic Director, Ananya Dance Theatre
What is at stake in making art during the global rise of religious fundamentalisms interwoven with violent nationalisms? Do artists need to consider how concepts of spirituality in their work can be usurped and co-opted? What might be some ways to contextualize ideas such as “sacred,” “holy,” and “spiritual,” even as we combat forces such as Hindu Nationalism and white supremacy? This session is imagined as an exchange among members of our artistic communities about ways to combat virulent hate and to guard against co-optation of our work by fundamentalist forces as a “soft sell” of ideas they champion.