Community Art and Cultural Democracy by Emma Batman

I believe that the most important implication of demographic shifts towards increased cultural diversity, coupled with the continued development in social media platforms, create an environment in which it is crucial for the arts community to begin to move beyond the traditional top-down “arts programming” and begin to utilize the cultural and artistic knowledge of these growing communities. This is closely related to debates on how to best incorporate diverse artistic and cultural practices without appropriating or diluting.

Even when folks reference contemporary breakthroughs like Hamilton…tell me, who here can afford a ticket to see Hamilton?? Arts organizations need to continue to find ways to engage multiculturalism, without dilution, and economic accessibility without going bankrupt. Community arts, cultural gatherings, events and exhibits that are accessible and presented in a communicable language must be given the same credence and time as the elite galas for heavy donors. As the income gap grows larger, and our older citizens have less money in retirement and social security, we need to focus on affordable, community driven access.

Rasquache is a beautiful example of artistic social justice and urban art and expression that is rooted in the organic cultural expression of overlooked and devalued sects of our communities. Here is a short article:

Art and Cultural Sustainability: Initial Thoughts Part 1 by Emma Batman

For most of my adult life, I have wanted to move my work and education in a direction into which I can more effectively use my knowledge as a dance artist, to shift gears into a more humanitarian and civic minded field. Especially since last November, I have struggled with concepts of the purpose of art. What kind of change can art affect? How do we make our art matter? Or is all art inherently purposeful?

Read More

The Choreographer's Duty by Mathew Heggem

A statement on movement creation & the responsibility of being a choreographer:

This article was intended to be a statement about my movement philosophy, so that I could help others understand how I create and what I teach through dance.  It took a turn, because I realized that a greater purpose exists for a choreographer.  I wanted to share this with you:

When I create movement, I start from a place of curiosity. I want to know what is happening now in this body and how that can be translated to the outside world. I ask myself questions about what I see in the world, how I feel about it, and how that affects my life. 

This approach, at least initially, makes my work very autobiographical.  It is an expression of a personal story, experience, or emotion that is present in the body of who I fully am at that time in space.  

Read More

Thoughts on self... childbearing & motherhood by Mathew Heggem

The real challenge here, is that I think every new parent struggles with the life, work, parent balance. But I do believe there is something essentially different about this experience as an artist. Regardless of your craft or the level to which art and creation play a role in your life, your art and that creation/expression suddenly have to take a far lower priority, and it is easy to allow it to get so low that it drops off altogether. 

Read More