Adaptive Platforms for Artist Resilience
This conversation will explore ways in which artist-centered organizations are pivoting to accommodate artists’ needs during COVID and evolving in the process. Panelists will share what tactics they’ve used to maintain community and share resources through repurposing, expanding, and innovating their programs. Kyle Dacuyan will moderate the panel featuring Ali Rosa-Salas, Wes Taylor, and Tara Aisha Willis.
Kyle Dacuyan is a poet, performance-maker, and Executive Director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s. Prior to joining The Poetry Project, he served as Co-Director of National Outreach and Membership at PEN America, where he led the launch of a nationwide community engagement fund for writers. Before that, he served as Associate Director at the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. Recent writing has been in Ambit, The Brooklyn Rail, The Offing, and Social Text, and he has shared work at Ars Nova, FringeArts, Haus für Poesie, and The Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue.
Wesley is a print maker, graphic designer, musician, animator, educator, mentor, and curator. He roots his practice in performance and social justice. His work combines, oscillates between, and blurs these different disciplines. His work is multi-disciplinary as well as anti-disciplinary. Wesley’s individual practice is inextricably linked to his collective practice, yet his collective practice is not just one collective: it is a constellation of collectives he has helped form for over 20 years. Those collectives include: Complex Movements, Talking Dolls Detroit, Design Justice Network, Athletic Mic League, and Big Models. His work is inspired by elder knowledge, complex science, 90s underground hip hop, punk aesthetics, and science fiction. He creates work in partnership with social justice movements. He is currently an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Graphic Design and the Art Foundation Program.
As Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement, Ali Rosa-Salas develops the Center’s live performance programming, exhibitions, and artist residencies. As an independent curator, she has produced exhibitions, performances, and public programs with AFROPUNK, Danspace Project, Discwoman, Knockdown Center, MoCADA, Weeksville Heritage Center, and more. She has also organized discursive events as an Alumnae Fellow at the Barnard Center for Research on Women and as the Associate Curator of the 2017 American Realness Festival. Ali graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and has an M.A. from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.
Tara Aisha Willis
Tara Aisha Willis is a dancer and PhD candidate in Performance Studies at New York University, where she writes about contemporary black experimentation in dance. She is Associate Curator in Performance & Public Practice at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and formerly worked at Movement Research advising on programming and diversity initiatives. Willis held a Jerome Robbins Dance Division Research Fellowship in the Dance Theater Workshop archives; she is an editorial collective member and former performance reviews editor for Women & Performance, former co-managing editor for TDR/The Drama Review, and co-editor with Thomas F. DeFrantz a special issue of The Black Scholar. Other writings appear in Movement Research Performance Journal; the Brooklyn Rail; Magazin im August; Voices from the Bush; Dancing Platform Praying Grounds: Blackness, Churches, and Downtown Dance, Performance Research; and Performa Magazine. Willis recently performed in a touring collaboration between choreographer Will Rawls and poet Claudia Rankine, in works by Kim Brandt, Megan Byrne, Anna Sperber, and Yanira Castro, and in the 2016 “Bessie” award-winning performance by The Skeleton Architecture. She is a member of the working group for the COVID-19 response document, “Creating New Futures: Working Guidelines for Ethics & Equity in Presenting Dance & Performance,” and co-curator/editor of an ongoing performance and publishing project with Jaime Shearn Coan, in partnership with Wendy’s Subway and Mount Tremper Arts.