The Western Mass Moving Arts Project (WMMAP)
I conceived this local outreach project after working at Earthdance for a month and a half as a volunteer. It was my first major undetaking after leaving college. At that point, Earthdance had a national and international reputation within the improvisational dance and performance world, but was a virtual mystery to the local community.
I conceived, publicized, produced, and fundraised for all events under the umbrella of the Western Mass Moving Arts Project. Events included low-cost performances by international, national, and local artists, classes for kids, a monthly performance variety show, a monthly dance jam with live music, gallery shows, an outdoor sculpture show, an outdoor performance festival, an outreach performance/education group, and more. Upon leaving I wrote an in-depth manual outlining all the procedures and protocols for WMMAP. This binder and the corresponding files have since been lost or they would have been included in this portfolio.
My responsibilities included and were not limited to:
- Assessing Earthdance’s resources
- Assessing the needs and desires of the local community
- Working with the executive Director to brainstorm the content of the program.
- Creating a fundraiser event Western Mass Moving Arts Lift-Off! This event included a dinner, cello performance by loop artist Stephen Katz and and aerial dance performance from Irish company Fidget Feet.
- Writing the 2002 Earthdance fundraising letter.
- Researching grants.
- Applying for and receiving Earthdance’s first grants from the local cultural council.
- Curating, running tech, and MCing Eclectic Offerings, a monthly performance variety show. The glory of this event is it would present, in the same evening, breakdancers, bluegrass musicians, improvisational dancers, and poets. It was an inclusive environment for experimentation of established artists and also quite welcoming for emerging and community artists. I often partnered with Fire & Water Café in Northampton to locate talent.
- Performances from international, national, and local artists. These artists would often come to Earthdance to teach workshops. They included Eiko & Koma, The Body Cartography Project, Lumé Brazilian Clown Company, Village Harmony Choir, Andrew Harwood & Chris Aiken, and more. Students from around the world attended these workshops, yet the local community was not able to take advantages of their presence. By building low-cost performances into the workshop, local residents were able to enjoy their talents and, at the same time, build a relationship with Earthdance.
- Local Classes that fell under the umbrella of the project included Kids Movement and Aerial Dance Class, Yoga classes and Authentic Movement class.
- A Dance Jam with Live Improvised Music. This monthly jam continues to this day and helped form relationships between Earthdance and many local musicians. My responsibilities included scheduling the musicians and facilitating the event.
- I also curated a bi-monthly Gallery Show in the hallway between the two dance studios. This provided another venue for local non-dancers to get engaged.
- An Outdoor Sculpture Show provided another opportunity. I sought out the sculptors for this event through collaboration with another long-term annual sculpture show.
- An Outdoor Performance Festival was the closing event for the sculpture show. For this I put out an open call to artists in the hill-towns, Boston, and New York. What resulted was a day-long free event with artists performing various styles of dance in locations all around the land.
- The Earthdance Improvisers was a short-lived group of performers with relation to Earthdance that I pulled together to do educational lecture/demonstrations about improvisational dance. I scheduled performances as well as facilitating this opinionated group of improvisers attempting to navigate in a horizontal power structure. We had two performances.
- The Earthdance Score was Earthdance’s first monthly email newsletter that I initiated and wrote every month.
- Graphic design for all posters and postcards of WMMAP events.
- Distribution of all these flyers.
- Press Release writing and sending for all WMMMAP events.
- Graphic Design for Earthdance’s 2003 workshop calendar
- Partnering with the Shelbourne Falls Art Barn to receive their second-hand lighting system.
- Facilitating the installation of this lighting system in one dance studio.
- Lighting Design for performances, often including creative solutions to outdoor performances and contexts with little technical resource.
- Lighting and Sound Technician for many WMMAP events. Sometimes this included improvisational lighting.