Tag: Danielle Deadwyler

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


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

Working with (Not for, or to) Community – 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’ classes by Emily Hopkins from Side Street Projects in Pasadena, CA and McKenzie Wren from Clarkston Community Center in Clarkston, GA. Staff recaps of both sessions are available on our blog in the links above.

For these two classes, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

Session #2 – Themes to consider:

  • depositing information vs. sharing information through dialogue
  • artists coming from a place of privilege
  • managing expectations through all aspects of working with community and with all of the stakeholders involved.

Session #3 – Themes and questions to consider:

  • What are the assets offer by the arts community of Atlanta?
  • What assets are available to you?
  • What are your personal assets?
  • What are the reflections that you had after the discussion about doing with the community (vs. for, or to) based on your own personal experiences?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

Photo Nov 22, 10 16 05 AM
Danielle Deadwyler (left) with William Massey III (bottom right) participating in an activity called “What can I teach? What can I learn?”

I have always run to where the people are to connect/present/manifest my work. If not for or with the people, then what conversation or connection or relevance of the art. However, the Hatch: Expanding Definition of Community/Managing Expectations workshop query turns things on their head for my sometimes guerilla efforts in the community. My peers’ work (Angela Davis Johnson and Jessica Caldas) also forced me to reconsider my impact on the community. These peers in the programs, in a previous outside artist talk, once spoke about their wish to connect to the community in conversation. They were eager to have the casual/informal talks about their work, their intent, the feelings the work solicited for the viewer, et.al. I’m always down for dialogue. I’m down for silence too. I’m down for fleeting moments of connection, surprise engagements, raw reaction…but the origin of my inquiry, I now recognize, as wholly privileged. I’ve known long before I can remember that as a person of color and as a woman in my nation/global society I am in a place/space of being without privilege. However, my privilege as an artist lies in my ability to ponder, to make abstract, to create…I tussle with the value of that privilege alongside my lack of privilege as a black woman. What does it mean to work within the community, to create socially engaged work because you are who you are in the community, but not with the community? Isn’t the work I do always of the community? Especially when my work is a reflection of me, of where I live and reside and exist day in and day out. How can your work be reflective of colonial practices when you live there? Is it not of the community and with the community if you are an insider/observer and insider/participant all at the same time?

I know this much…my community deserves dialogue. My community deserves dialogue, if they choose.

My big question concerns the content I’m interested in ‘vibing’ with the needs of the community. My themes of sexuality and motherhood can be challenging to viewers. I’m forced to consider how to satisfy what intuitively comes up for me and how the community chooses to deal with controversial work (especially work that leans towards censorship in commercial/public spheres/media). Pedagogy of the oppressed was integral in my collegiate studies. No one is a trash receptor just taking in what a ‘master’ gives them. Rebellion happens, macro and micro. Emulating that in anyway is the antithesis of where I seek to grow. Calculating, individually and with the community, how to assuage the conversation of controversial themes in my community at large is one I haven’t discovered quite yet. My conversation spheres have been small. Expanding the dialogue is my aim. I do think with my work the outcome can come in more than one way, though. It can manifest in two or more ways that may/may not agree. It can be just my view, me and the community, just the community, and others. Inclusion is the ultimate factor moving forward though. LISTENING!

By Danielle Deadwyler

My outlook concerning the impact of my work has changed somewhat recently.South Broad Street, my current place of work and residence, is seen by most Atlanta residents as a wretched hive of crime and villainy, a forgotten wasteland that is best used for post apocalyptic movie sets, or a hurried pass through for lost tourists. This is rightfully so. At any given moment one may witness a frenzied blur of criminal activity, blatant and unafraid drug transactions, drug use,and violence. I hardly even bat an eye at a crack pipe any longer. Here, on our block, they are as ubiquitous as vaporizors on the Eastside of town. My friends and I are intruders here. We are conducting a grand experiment in creative placemaking that has been referred to by some as simply the first wave of the now typical gentrification process. As creatives and optimists, we wholeheartedly disagree. We are here to build a community we say, one that can’t be touched by the greedy hands of overzealous developers. What we can’t ignore, however, is the community that already exists and has established its own customs, friendships, routines, and hierarchies. A population of human beings, living within their own mutually defined parameters, whose hopes and Dreams are as connected and universal as our own, regardless of the legality of their actions or their stature in society. These human beings, in fact, are a valuable asset in our quest to create a new type of community.

“ It takes people. That’s what community is, people who look out for each other throughout their ups and downs. It takes a whole collective, cause you gotta realize that no one is better than anyone else.” says Patrick, a fixture in the neighborhood, he’s 46. Patrick is known to keep an eye out for things. He also has his ear to the street and enjoys sharing information. He’s friendly and outgoing. He’s willing to lend a hand, whether it’s taking the trash out, or sweeping the sidewalk. He’s the definition of a good neighbor. He also doesn’t have a home.

According to TC, another neighborhood denizen, “Everybody is out here working on something. It might not be the same things, but everyone has a little good in their hearts. What you gotta do is listen when people talk, it gives them hope, and we’re all out here looking out for each other.” There’s Victor, a regular on the street, who has become extremely involved in our burgeoning renaissance. When a recent Creative Loafing article concerning our actions in the neighborhood came to print, Victor spent hours on the street spreading the gospel to passersby. He carefully taped the article to the wall the way a proud parent posts a stellar report card on the fridge. He is now part time employed with two spaces on the block. Victor says he likes to earn his keep. The rapid progress on our space would not have been possible without him. That makes him an extremely powerful asset. Not only has his physical labor helped to propel the community forward faster, he has unknowingly acted as a sort of bridge between our group of hopeful artists and some of the more skeptical and “criminal” people on the block. Such as Rashad. Rashad deals drugs. I’m not quite sure what kind, and I’m not interested in knowing. He is a giant of a man, easily 6’5” and 300 pounds. He’s soft spoken at times, thunderous at others. When a building a few blocks down was left open and unsecured for a time, his crew sent a delegation to let me know that we should have it closed up for our own safety. He also helped me clear the building of unknown residents, while providing his own ski mask and gloves. He makes it a point to say hello, letting it be known that we are with him.

Kris Pilcher (center) with Charmaine Minniefield (left) and Shannon Willow (right) participating in an activity called "Yes, and..."
Kris Pilcher (center) with Charmaine Minniefield (left) and Shannon Willow (right) participating in an activity called “Yes, and…” Kris gets the Hatch award for best sweater ever.

While the lonesome tourist or hurried government worker’s heart may skip a beat when taking a wrong turn down our misunderstood street, my heart warms a bit knowing that I am finally back home, a part of a community, whether our morals and values are the same or not. This unexpected sort of community interaction has made me realize that the impact of my work can be much more than some sort of physical artifact of creativity. I am privileged to be in a position where I can use the idea of creating as a sort of catalyst for real quantifiable change in not only a community, but in an individual’s life. This sort of interaction has a reciprocal impact on the direction and thoughtfulness of my work. By simply inhabiting a space together, we are creating something much bigger than ourselves.

Our latest Hatch session, led by community organizer Mckenzie Wren, helped me to be able to understand in more direct terms what exactly it is that we are building in our community. We are individuals coming from a place of privilege and inserting ourselves into the fabric of a pre-established communal entity.It is our responsibility not only as artists, but as human beings to make sure that our actions embrace the assets that this community already has available, while offering our skills and ideas in return.