Category: Hatch

Documentation, Self Care and Community Organizing – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 2

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Katina Parker, documentary filmmaker and Black Lives Matter activist. A staff recap of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • Referring to the slides from the presentations  – What is your position? Why do you want to do the work that you do? What are some of the challenges, privileges and “tools of the colonizer” you must be aware of in order to do your work?
  • What are some of your struggles with “self care”? Are there safety concerns in your work that you must be aware of?
  • How has documentation been a part of your artistic process in the past? Are there forms of documentation you wish to explore in order to more fully realize your vision or in order to best express the communities you are working within?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

in my work, I am fighting for the right of existence and recognition of a people who have been erased from the social landscape of our times, who’s history and images are sometimes rewritten as a falsehood in order to serve the gain of a dominant culture. My work speaks directly against that omission by creating monuments of freedom in the face of this oppression.

One artist at a conference I recently attended asked the question of how do we affect change for an issue that plagues us as well – in her case, poverty. Another artist (a bit older) answered, we are all responding through our work to the social injustices that we all face and are affected by in our own homes and communities. My work addresses the erasure of women (micro) and African-American communities (macro).

Charmaine Minniefield, in a selfie outside the Zora Neal Hurston house.
Charmaine Minniefield, in a selfie outside the Zora Neal Hurston house.

This made me think of how when I recently visit the home of Zora Neal Hurston, I realized this small community of color had survived the encroachment of public use, eminent domain and land speculators just 4 miles outside of Orlando, because of their reverence by the author/anthropologist as a public folkloric study. This community she called home is still poverty stricken as if without the turning over of its land and equity, economic gain wouldn’t be afforded them. But because Zora saw their cultural value and told their story, they remain. Her stories saved them.

This is how I see my work. I can see it saving lives, saving equity, preserving the ethics of a generation. The weight of it can be heavy. My persistence isn’t always welcomed. Self preservation and pacing is important. It can be discouraging to resist a system seemingly insurmountable.

Regarding documentation, the nature of my project is documentation – recapturing lost narratives – past and present. I’d like to explore more medium as forms of documentation (film and digital moving images, religious expression, musical lore, dance traditions, oral histories). All this intrigues and leads my collaborative interests.

by Charmaine Minniefield

Documentation, Self Care and Community Organizing – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 1

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Katina Parker, documentary filmmaker and Black Lives Matter activist. A staff recap of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • Referring to the slides from the presentations  – What is your position? Why do you want to do the work that you do? What are some of the challenges, privileges and “tools of the colonizer” you must be aware of in order to do your work?
  • What are some of your struggles with “self care”? Are there safety concerns in your work that you must be aware of?
  • How has documentation been a part of your artistic process in the past? Are there forms of documentation you wish to explore in order to more fully realize your vision or in order to best express the communities you are working within?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

My exploration of the human experience through art is not so much activism as it is advocacy. I wouldn’t define my art to be radical. I do however, spend time creating art with communities as a way to be supportive and more integrated. I do this because I believe in the powers of community, acts of service and using art to intersect the two.

Mural by Lauren Pallotta for Unifying Youth at Douglass High School, in participation with re:Imagine/ATL. Photo by Lauren Pallotta.
Mural by Lauren Pallotta for Unifying Youth at Douglass High School, in participation with re:Imagine/ATL. Photo by Lauren Pallotta.

With any outreach, there is generally privilege. Parker’s words to “identify it and check it” were a pertinent reminder to be conscious of our place, our true intentions, our assumptions. It brings to mind the notion of “being a wombat” that Emily Hopkins discussed. Sometimes people mean well doing the things they think are right, but in reality it may be more destructive than helpful to the community if it’s not being done sustainably, alongside them, underpinned by their input.

I aim to work with communities that express a need: maybe it’s a mural or a children’s book or art sessions that coax out self-reflection and healing. I’m typically not a face of these communities, but rather an outsider who is welcomed in based on consistent mutual respect. As an outsider, I have to, as Parker put it, “be cool,” otherwise I become the stereotype these communities may have of me.

Then there is public art – sometimes created alongside a community, sometimes not. There is a school of thought that questions whether altruism is truly unselfish. It seems to me public art is entering the same sphere of ambiguity, something I need to be mindful of as an aspiring street artist.

Part of Foward Warrior, mural by Lauren Pallotta located along Wylie Street in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta.
Part of Foward Warrior, mural by Lauren Pallotta located along Wylie Street in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta. Photo courtesy of Lauren Pallotta

When I painted my first mural in Atlanta, the opportunity came from a demand in the community for more street art, but I was basically allowed to do whatever I wanted, as long as the wallkeeper/curator approved it. With total artistic freedom, this was as much of an ego piece as it was a community piece, because I needed to paint something to be considered valid, to be considered at all. Does that make it less relevant? I’ve found myself wrestling with this idea throughout the Hatch process. Am I being too sensitive or not sensitive enough? Am I being too egocentric or not egocentric enough? Am I being too controversial or not controversial enough? Am I being… enough?

For me, I think the biggest takeaway from Parker’s session was the notion that this sensitivity and consciousness are, in some ways, enough. Even if we aren’t a face of a community, that doesn’t mean we can’t be supporters of it. What’s more, we can utilize our places of privilege to combat the forces or voices that may be – knowingly or unknowingly – encouraging systemic oppression. That is to say, by being advocates as outsiders, we can be activists as insiders.

By Lauren Pallotta

Hatch Session #6 – Documentation, Self Care and Community Organizing

Our last Hatch session on February 10 was really something incredible. We were fortunate to welcome documentary filmmaker and Black Lives Matter activist Katina Parker to work with our Hatch artists. Katina’s unique experience working in a protest environment was an important perspective to present to our students. Working as a documentarian in community presents specific challenges, especially in a highly charged, protest environment.

Katina began the day with a explanation of the need for documenting community based work.

 

Specifically, pictures and video have the ability to capture a specific moment in time, as well as tell a distinct story. They can voice an unheard narrative that isn’t being depicted elsewhere. With the advent and proliferation of social media as a tool for documentation, our world is shrinking rapidly. Therefore, documentation can be seen and heard faster than ever before. Katina Parker

Because our world is shrinking, it is easy to delve into community work and ignore the importance of inherent biases, privileges or “tools of the colonizer” that we may inadvertently and unintentionally bring with us. In order to take the temperature of their own personal situations, Katina provided several sets of questions for the artists to use to dig deeper. Asking ourselves questions such as “Am I a part of the demographic I am documenting?” “How do I feel about police?” and “What assumptions are you making about the issues you see playing out?” aren’t just good due diligence; they are a critical part of the process of working in community.

Katina’s distinct experience is probably one of the most volatile and potentially dangerous examples of creating artwork in community that we have studied so far.

Katina Parker presenting to the Hatch, artist cohort
Hatch artists listen intently as Katina Parker presents

She has been in situations where she has been shot at and targeted, and it was important to understand that even work with the best of intentions can have very serious consequences. Self care is an important tool to not only maintain good mental health and clarity, but also your safety and humanity. Steps such as eating, taking showers, being around people who love you, and even seeking therapy when needed are necessary for being able to work adequately.

The stories we have to tell travel more quickly now than ever before. While this can be an incredible resource for spreading ideas, awareness of issues, and causes, it can also present very real and dangerous challenges for the artist documenting their work or a movement. Because cameras bring increased visibility, those wanting to detract from the visibility of what they are doing may perceive them as a threat. In protecting both your artistic assets as well as your personal safety, it is vital to be prepared for many different scenarios when documenting your work. Some of the strategies mentioned included: staying in groups, not lingering when it’s time to go, keeping your phone on you and in a secure place, and understanding that you may need to take precautions to prevent danger if you are being watched.

While Katina’s experiences were not always the comfortable, warm fuzzy feelings that one normally associates with working in community, they were a necessary reminder of the precautions, planning and self searching that must be accounted for as part of the process in order to adequately prepare ourselves. Her reminders that we must remember to “turn down so you can turn up” underscores the importance of taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

Budgets, Contracts and Negotiation – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 3

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Jim Grace, Executive Director of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston. Staff recaps of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • How has your previous experience in negotiation been similar to cultivating dating or cultivating romantic relationships? What personal style of negotiation do you lean towards based on your personality and past experience?
  • What are some of the barriers, perceived or real, that relate to your work in public art? Consider things like permitting, zoning, etc. What are some possible solutions?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

In the past, I used to find myself in a much more protected state when it came to negotiation. It was an activity that I feared. I did not ever want to ask for more. I was more grateful just for the opportunity of the work. I thought negotiation brought conflict and needed wiser, expert like persons to contribute to good outcomes.

However, with maturity, personal and familial needs, as well as much observation of the development of short films and other artists’ works in progress, I feel I have a breadth of knowledge to stand more aware and less timid in negotiation spaces for contracts.

Artist Danielle Deadwyler.
Artist Danielle Deadwyler.

Just absorbing the notes from the session, the biggest striking statement is ‘we are always in negotiation’.  Also, rather than negotiating to defend, negotiating to build trust and relationships feels like a central key to growth as a creative business/entrepreneur. Negotiations are a series of questions…the diagnostics queries are pivotal. This makes me want to question everything more. I’m keen on getting clarity always. Even if it is something I think I know or have known in the past, understanding an individual’s or organizations desires behind their information may not be the same as when I first gained the information. Desires/wants change and shift according to individuals and entities. Always ask the questions!

My negotiations with people are definitely indicative in my physical reactions to them. I often recoil from authority or play super kind cards. These, too, are not characteristic of my choices in the last 3-5 years. I am aware it is not productive or leading me towards the kind of personal professional artistic growth I am desirous of.

I’m intent on practicing negotiations daily now. Practicing trust building and relationship foundation making are essential things I am more aware of day to day. I still want to know more specifically for contract building and relationships specifically for performance artists in institutional relationships. I’ve found in my research that institutions have less of a standard when dealing with artists of this kind. There are many challenges that occur for performance artists in these relationships.

I don’t doubt that this session’s notes will put me in a better position to protect as well as build trust in the contracts and agreements I come to in the future.

by Danielle Deadwyler

 

Budgets, Negotiations, and Contracts – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 2

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Jim Grace, Executive Director of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston. Staff recaps of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • How has your previous experience in negotiation been similar to cultivating dating or cultivating romantic relationships? What personal style of negotiation do you lean towards based on your personality and past experience?
  • What are some of the barriers, perceived or real, that relate to your work in public art? Consider things like permitting, zoning, etc. What are some possible solutions?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

Negotiation is similar to how I have experienced relationships, in that you often assume you know what the other person wants or needs and tend to have one way of dealing with conflict. Finding out what the other party really NEEDS and wants becomes more important than assessing what you think their interests are. Also figuring out what you actually need and what your interests are is important. Without breaking it down for yourself you may have assumed you knew what you needed too. If you are a person who finds solace/drive in styles like Winning, Compromise, Competing in your personal relationships, it may be worth investigating and challenging what it would look like to experience other styles in your negotiations. We discussed for example the benefits of a Collaborative style of negotiation included longer term solutions and more uncovered needs, but carried the tradeoff of requiring more time and commitment from both sides. Sounds like life, right?

Part of an exhibition by Hez Stalcup.
Part of an exhibition by Hez Stalcup.

Some important thoughts in assessing things legally were: What are your Values? What is the culture you are trying to create? If you want unity and mutuality then there is a way to incorporate that in how you are protecting your own rights and the rights of collaborators. In general it’s better to work it out early in the process and spell out details up front, which is not a dis-service at all — in fact the opposite, explicit expectations set a tone of respect, clarity and reciprocity.

Who owns this? became a very useful question, and clarified when something is under your copyright or not. Finding the right simple questions to ask as you go into a project with another artist, the City or Galleries for example, can provide a framework for what a legal document can look like.

My own hesitancy about what could legally be covered in an unconventional public event were alleviated when Jim referenced the reality that there are huge outdoor events (New Years Eve was his example) that constitute a million drunk people being covered by liability insurance. I realized that working with a broker is more about knowing what is important to you and less so about memorizing the exact kind of insurance or contracts you might need. Anything can be put into a contract, to come full circle — it’s knowing what your interests, and the interests of who will be affected by your work (hosts, participants, artists, audience, public) actually are. Which as it turns out, is not so different from the process that goes into making a well thought out art piece.

by Hez Stalcup

Budgets, Negotiations and Contracts – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 1

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Jim Grace, Executive Director of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston. Staff recaps of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • How has your previous experience in negotiation been similar to cultivating dating or cultivating romantic relationships? What personal style of negotiation do you lean towards based on your personality and past experience?
  • What are some of the barriers, perceived or real, that relate to your work in public art? Consider things like permitting, zoning, etc. What are some possible solutions?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

The session with Jim was quite the opposite of what I expected (completely arduous). In fact, Jim made the legal strategy of arts & business quite accessible, understandable and intriguing. Jim broke down legal matters pertaining to the rights of creative work, negotiation and contracts which gave me a clear perception of where I (and my art) fit within the world of suits and paperwork.

An adorable community participant to one of WIlliam Massey's recent public art projects.
An adorable community participant to one of WIlliam Massey’s recent public art projects.

When it came to negotiation, I gained tremendous insight in how to understand the pros and cons of certain negotiation styles. I was certainly more drawn to the mutual respect of collaborative negotiation verses an overpowering or submissive tactic. Relationship is everything to me, and as Jim emphasized, when you understand the ‘why’ of who you are speaking to, you will best reach a respectful and relational agreement.

Within the topic of contracts, the work-shopping and processing-through examples offered huge insight in what wandering eyes might overlook in the fine-print. Such as how to identify language which either indicates or eradicates artists’ rights to the final product, reproductions, marketing, etc.. With my personal background of large-scale public artwork, it was thought-provoking to hear insight on insurance/liability, publicity, repairs and more. Basically I gained knowledge of how to vie for equal responsibility between myself and the other party. Also regarding budgets, Jim instilled a necessary and firm reminder to set parameters in place that many young artists may forget: taxes, insurance, contingency, documentation, legal fees, etc. I absolutely needed a kick in the butt that “artist fee” is way too broad and leaves the artists scraping personal funds to cover the inevitable additional costs.

Basically, this was an excellent workshop which addressed most things that artists tend to neglect. But even better, the topics were presented in a graspable way that made me feel capable in a realm that was once completely daunting.

By William Massey III

Hatch Session #5 Recap – Budgets, Negotiations and Contracts

One thing I always tell my students when they take Ignite is that cultivating a good relationship with your lawyer is invaluable. Luckily for us, and our Hatch artists, Jim Grace is the kind of lawyer at the forefront of the legal issues faced by artists. Jim is the Executive Director of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, and we were incredibly fortunate to have his expertise to guide our latest Hatch session. Here are some highlights from the day:

IMG_9796 edited
Jim Grace, Executive Director of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, schools us on how to best legally protect our artistic interests.

Intellectual Property: Jim began with an in-depth primer on intellectual property and some of the ways it can be protected. Of the three most widely used protections against infringement (copyright, trademark and patent), copyright and trademark were of the most interest to the artists, with several questions voiced about both. Jim helped not only to clearly define the differences between the two, but also to define the legal implications and responsibilities of the artist for each. As it relates to art created with community, Jim stressed that if the overall vision of the work is the providence of the artist, and not the individuals, then each individual can only hold claim to the their small piece. The work as a whole and vision is the intellectual property of the artist. Jim also discussed additional ways for artists to protect themselves, including filing for copyright and defining terms such as “work for hire” in which case the artist might not actually own the rights to work created for another entity. Alternatives to litigation if infringement was unintended were mentioned, including when to let the violation “go”, such as cases where the overall exposure or popularity of the piece was of greater benefit to the artist’s career.

Michael Jones (left) discusses his experiences with negotiation while Orion Cook (right) looks on.
Michael Jones (left) discusses his experiences with negotiation while Orion Cook (right) looks on.

Negotiation:

A lot of our conversation for the day revolved around negotiation, particularly because as artists, we are negotiating constantly. Highly stressed in this segment was the need to not only identify your personal negotiation “default”, but also to recognize the “default” of your negotiation partner. Typical negotiation prejudices and myths were debunked, resulting in greater understanding of the implications past experience might have in hindering a current collaboration process. Jim asked everyone to participate in a short exercise with a partner to recognize our own negotiation practices. Standing across from each other in two rows, each pair was told that in order to receive $1000, they must convince their partner, in one minute, to come to their side. Each person’s natural negotiation style became readily apparent as we dissected the effectiveness of each group’s communication and outcome. Jim also identified 5 different strategies for negotiation, the implications on the overall relationship between the partners involved and the best uses of each strategy depending upon the intended outcome. A strategy such as avoidance might seem merely negative, however could be useful in certain situations, such as responding to certain types of negative correspondance. Conversely, the strategy of collaboration gave much greater importance to overall relationship building and resulted in a better overall outcome for both parties with less opportunity to “leave money on the table”.

How could we decipher which strategy to use? And how could we reach the best outcome through collaboration, if that was our intent? To answer those questions, it was important for the artists to understand the differences between Interests and Positions, and to ask the “right” diagnostic questions. An interest is a want brought to the table by a negotiating party, but it may not always represent the need from which it comes. As an example, we were given a prompt regarding asking to rent an apartment. One side of the room was charged with asking for an apartment on the 14th floor and the other was charged with answering their needs. Jim challenged the artists to think beyond just the questions being asked by each side, but to probe each interest fully to understand the underlying need behind it. In this instance, the interest of the 14th floor apartment may be based on the need to be farther away from the street and noise, which could easily be satisfied by another higher floor apartment if none were available on the 14th floor. Having the insight and tenacity to go beyond just the stated interests of the other party meant that each side brings more to the table with which to negotiate. Both parties are more likely not only to satisfy each other needs, but to build a stronger, more trusting relationship as well. And ultimately, the most successful negotiations tend to yield this relational outcome as well as solving the problems of each side.

Orion Crook (standing - left) and William Massey (standing - right) consider possible scenarios regarding artistic participation during a proposed project scenario.
Orion Crook (standing-left) and William Massey III (standing-right) consider possible models for artist participation while workshopping project scenarios.

Contracts, Proposals and Budgets:

In order to best understand the kinds of projects and work agreements our artists had dealt with in the past, Jim asked that they submit any contracts and budgets that they felt comfortable sharing to be discussed and potentially workshopped prior to attending his workshop. Our artists vulnerably shared several different work agreements, proposals and projects, even volunteering information regarding some “in the works” collaborations. Jim stressed that not only were concerns regarding protection of artwork and assets important, but that the artists consider their needs for insurance, liability, tax and overhead expenses when creating budgets and negotiating contracts. The artists considered a wide variety of scenarios: from needs for maintenance and upkeep of artwork to considering the repercussions and difficulties of utilizing unorthodox performance spaces. Also noted was need to consider whether the contract created reflects any perceptions about one party or the other being “screwed”. While it is important to protect our assets and insure that clear expectations are maintained, if an artist preparing a work meant to connect and engage community then asks those same stakeholders to sign lengthy, overcomplicated releases, this action might not engender the intended result of the project.

 

Planning + Art(ists) – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 3

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Heather Alhadeff and Allison Bustin from Center Forward. Staff recaps of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • Where is the work that you do most applicable in the planning process? Could it be incorporated in multiple steps?
  • Could you see yourself doing this kind of work? Why or why not? What kinds of projects WOULD you like to work on, regardless of whether they are “planning” related?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

Angela 2
Angela Davis Johnson in a recent performance of “Between the Created and the Is: Procession with Ancestors” at Downtown Players Club

Artists are connectors. Typically through my work I strive to find ways to bridge seemingly disparate people and places in order to create unity and I think this mind-set can be a valuable tool in planning. For a few years I worked as a librarian, where much of my focus was on public service and programming and that experience greatly influenced my art practice. Armed with these skills, I see my art approach as a way to bring fresh and innovating ideas to connect communities in the decision making process. I believe my talents would be best suited in the planning process during the initial stages such as visioning, data collection, and assessment of conditions but in particular, community engagement. There are so many approaches in creating a way to make community meetings more accessible to the neighborhood residents; pop up shows to potlucks. During the session a wonderful idea of having neighborhood curator design creative spaces to gather would be an exciting way in engaging the community.

by Angela Davis Johnson

This summer I was in Boston seeing family. For the first time in three years, I felt nostalgic for my home in Atlanta, because I realized as I walked around Cambridge and Boston, there was hardly any street art. I found myself saying to friends, “In Atlanta, there would be a mural on this building,” several times as we were walking in Central Square, the hip and diverse neighborhood that connects Harvard and MIT.

I’ve gotten used to living in a city where the burgeoning arts scene has made such an impact that I feel its absence when traveling to cities without one. While Boston is a great progressive city with amazing culture, it made me happy to claim Atlanta as having something Boston didn’t: a colorful public realm.

Lauren Pallotta signs her mural "New Heights", located along the Wylie Street Corridor in Cabbagetown.
Lauren Pallotta signs her mural “New Heights”, located along the Wylie Street Corridor in Cabbagetown.

As Atlanta continues to bolster its placemaking prowess, we can be motivated by Heather’s slide that was headlined “People are DESPERATE for fun.” With the momentum we’ve gained through our city mural projects and programs like Elevate, it is the right time to be an artist in Atlanta who can get involved with sustained projects that boost revitalization in a mindful, engaging, colorful way.

Personally I think it’s important for an artist to be present and involved in all six stages of planning –Visioning, Data Collection, Assessment of Conditions, Recommendations, Public and Client Approval, and Implementation–so that the end product is a proper summation of its parts.

As a Creative Consultant, an artist can be an effective bridge between the planning group and the beneficiaries of said planning. An artist can offer fresh perspective and ideas to get more people engaged in their neighborhood meetings, the participatory process of planning. As we’ve learned in other sessions, an artist is a conduit through which a neighborhood’s ideas and voices is channeled, deconstructed and reconstructed into a vibrant and FUN public space.

I would love to be involved in urban planning. I feel as though it is a place where my creative and professional assets– cultural competence, painting, illustration, graphic design, education, non-profit management, strategic planning, outreach– intersect.

by Lauren Pallotta

 

Planning + Art(ists) – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 2

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Heather Alhadeff and Allison Bustin from Center Forward. Staff recaps of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • Where is the work that you do most applicable in the planning process? Could it be incorporated in multiple steps?
  • Could you see yourself doing this kind of work? Why or why not? What kinds of projects WOULD you like to work on, regardless of whether they are “planning” related?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

In hearing about the history and implementation of City Planning from Center Forward, I enjoyed the breakdown of what constitutes all the steps in the planning process because I could see that in some facet or another I had experienced almost all steps in some form. I think since most of my work has been made through Galleries or other organizations, the vast majority of my experience falls into the Visioning and Implementation categories. In short, I have an idea, describe it, then create it.

Hez Stalcup, far right, with other dancer colleagues at Elevate Atlanta.
Hez Stalcup, far right, with other dancer colleagues at Elevate Atlanta.

While the process of submitting proposals for projects has included some of the other planning stages, I think working within a team seems to be the most efficient and sustainable way to implement all the steps. I would be excited about creating stages of a project that could involve the elements I am less familiar with. I love the idea of a public Museum – cataloging and curating that amazing stories and everyday moments, places, favorite trees, reading spots, etc. on the same level that we would curate precious artifacts. I think the idea of creating mobile town halls, potlucks, art based advertising to spread the word – then using the information to re-visit the original stages of visioning and build RFPs in accordance, would be entirely within a realm that could be adapted to the skills of many artists.

I believe that there are creative ways to make each phase of the step a public art work in and of itself and am very interested in creative solutions to practical problems as another expression in the arts. I think the public forum can often be dismissed as being of less critical value than artworks held within the gallery world. It would be lovely to re-envision the impact that large scale works and public interventions can have, in the valuing of the everyday and elevating it. Whether that be the humans themselves, their history or the nuance of the small places and rituals connecting a neighborhood, community or city.

Some of my favorite examples were public spaces that were simply given attention. The daily activities that were celebrated because staircases, crosswalks, lunch spots and benches were treated as worthy. Can we as artists bring ideas that can be malleable enough to be directed by a group, by other lives and create something that excites and fulfills the people interacting with it? I think it is important and revolutionary work, even when it is very simple.

by Hez Stalcup

Orion
Artist Orion Crook.

As a therapist a big focus of mine is on the process. Even in building a recent therapeutic residency for artists, there is heavily focus on trusting the process and building a safer container for that process to happen within. When we go into community, it is great to have a list of ideas on how to think outside of the box, activate spaces, and engage with people in meaningful ways; but we also need to listen and make room for the unknown. Part of my work as a therapist is to listen for what is not being said, to wonder how I can provide an experience for this individual that is unlike their history, and to check in with myself in order to use my body to collect data about what the other person is experiencing.
For me the scope of these projects are a little large, I tend to be an artist that is fairly comfortable with art being a space for expression in my life. For me this means, I am not focused on making a lot of money or making it my career (although I do identify Therapy as an art form..) and there are some other notions here that are at odds with some of the RFD range that I am still trying to put words to. I have a few art idols in the city and they are less in the public eye (or fight less rigorously to be there) and more personal with their work. It is at times almost like they are happy with where they already are in the art word and make their art because they enjoy it and less so to build a resume. I respect their pacing. Sometimes I do dream big, and would love to install my living sculptures with lots of planning. However, the work is would take to sustain living art is whelming at times. In some ways I don’t see these processes as safer space for artist, but again maybe I just work on a process orientated level and they work on an outcome focused system.

By Orion Crook

Planning + Art(ists) – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 1

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Heather Alhadeff and Allison Bustin from Center Forward. Staff recaps of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • Where is the work that you do most applicable in the planning process? Could it be incorporated in multiple steps?
  • Could you see yourself doing this kind of work? Why or why not? What kinds of projects WOULD you like to work on, regardless of whether they are “planning” related?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

Artist Michael Jones (right) with his artwork from a recent exhibition at Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery.
Artist Michael Jones, left, with his artwork from a recent exhibition at Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery.

Last session was information overload for me. Applying my skill set to planning development could be best suited in the planning process or in the execution stages. I tend to have ideas on how to make things flow smoothly and admire the steps it take to achieve a finished product. I also have a diverse range in art disciplines which would bode well in the actual execution of some art applications. What intimidates me about the planning process is the paperwork and logistics of working with city planners that do not know the artists’ way of working. I guess that’s why it’s a good idea to bridge those gaps. The benefits, of what each side brings to the table is ideal in creating a well rounded project since both sides can take advantage of the assets they bring to the project. I’m not sure if it’s something I will pursue, but if the opportunity was to arise I would consider it, knowing what I’ve learn in these last few sessions.

by Michael Jones

“What would you like?” is a question that has resonated with me since our last Hatch session on planning. Some of my process can be reactionary at times and not idyllic or seeking to create an utopic experience/process/product. Morphing a “now” experience into something more ideal has been influential in my creative process. “how do I impact what is already present?” is more my query. “How do I work with what I have?”

Fight Still
Danielle Deadwyler (left), in performance.

“What would you like?” calls for creating or recreating from a clearer palette (though this is not the case when discussing redevelopment). I’m not wholly sure if planning is an avenue for my work. Performance art, my realm largely, is not leaving a tangible footprint behind on a community or on the aesthetic of a community/city (oftentimes). My imprint is more of a memory.

If I were to be a part of planning I’d be interested in upholding memory and history. The Mel Chin example of art in planning structure was impactful as well- how do we hold history on a pedestal, or as a valued relic in community? Therefore, connecting to the community engagement aspect of the process appeals to me. Community members are gatekeepers of what should be remembered (what has stuck) and what has influenced the journey of their specific place. Encouraging and supporting the question “What would you like?” could be explored via my medium. Here is a way to incorporate art in the process and not in the product making. Through performance art, an artist(s) and community members could begin to dig into imagine futures, assess the past, connect the present, via movement, video, any myriad ways performance art is expressed. It can get planners and community members and artist(s) out of their own minds and into the process of others. And performance art is not a product always, the process is key in building for a singular, or many singular moments. This could be ideal for really engaging community thought processes, “languages” in the community, emotional impact, historical/social ramifications/goals. Planning, in this manner, becomes process art making rather than obligatory processes for dodging history’s challenges.

by Danielle Deadwyler